Just outside the charming burg of Burkittsville, MD lies Distillery Lane Ciderworks, Maryland’s first licensed cidery, on a historic farm, pressing sweet and still, dry and sparkling cider from its own heirloom apples.
Owner Rob Miller gave CHoW members a history of the orchard, a tour of the trees, tastes of apples, and crab apples, and insight into the hard work and art of running an orchard and distilling cider. He makes sweet cider, but this is about hard cider–that oldest American drink. What do you think Johnny Appleseed was all about? It wasn’t pies! You can read all about it in Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire.
This year’s hot weather has led to early harvest of his 3,000 trees on 8 acres and pressing is well underway. In fact, he has pressed Roxbury Rusetts, Newton Pippins, and Hughes Crabapples for the Mount Vernon Ladies Association who will be using them to make apple brandy in Washington’s restored distillery.
More fun facts–crabapples help with pollination and add a bitter tang to cider, windfall apples and the pomace left after pressing go to nearby South Mountain Creamery’s happy cows, apples are sorted by bittersweet, bittersharp, sharp, and sweet–just like people!