Tiled Shed Ciderworks is preparing to debut its twist on the 2012 harvest with Barred Rock, a bourbon barrel-aged cider that they describe as “a plush, savory sipper, with notes of amaretto, vanilla, and toasted marshmallow.”

The cider will debut at the Slow Food Russian River Local Cider & Cheese Pairing on Oct. 27 at Devoto Gardens in Sebsatopol. The event runs 3-6 p.m.; tickets are $35 for Slow Food members and $46 for non-members.

Co-owner Ellen Cavalli says the barrel-aged cider is just part of an ongoing set of experiments with their products, this one using some super-ripe late season apples harvested and pressed last October.

“We thought it’d be cool to try our hand at a winter warmer/strong cider, so we fermented and aged about half the blend in neutral oak, and the remainder in tanks up until this past June, then transferred the entire blend into Kentucky bourbon barrels that we sourced from a local distillery,” she said.

“It’s a gorgeous, velvety cider,” she said. “We fermented it to dryness, no backsweetening, and it has just a touch effervescence, so it has a slightly austere quality and long finish, which we think really accentuates the oak, vanilla, amaretto, and toasted marshmallow notes from the aging process.  But it’s not some gimmick that tastes like a bourbon bomb; in other words, you can pick up the cider notes as well. Unlike our other ciders, this one pairs really well with sweeter dishes, even dessert. I made an apple crisp and served it warm with vanilla ice cream, and Barred Rock was dynamite with it. It’s also great as a sipper.”

On top of that, it’s a lucky brew too. Turns out that as the federal shutdown was looming in late September, Tilted Shed had been waiting nervously for the Treasure Department to approve the label for the new cider (no federal label approval, no sales, you see). The feds gave their approval late on Sept. 30, just hours before the shutdown, making Barred Rock one of the last ciders (or wines or beers) approved before the shutdown forced the office that issues the approvals to turn out the lights and go home. Talk about perfect timing.

The cider will hit the market in both 375 ml and 750 ml bottles sometime in November, she tells me. To find Tilted Shed products, look at their list here.

– Sean Scully

Label image courtesy Tilted Shed.