While winter may not spring to mind as optimal cider drinking weather, the team at The Hills Cider Co has unveiled a schedule of “complex and adventurous” limited release ciders, created just for the cooler months that are looming.

The dedicatedly traditional brand uses 100% fresh, locally grown, Adelaide Hills fruit, which means they are free to explore the parameters of traditional cider making.

Speaking with James Adams – Beer & Brewer cider correspondent and owner of the All About Cider blog – cider maker Steve Dorman spoke of his passion for experimenting with techniques and blends.

“What I love about making traditional cider is that I get to do a vintage every month, and I have a large range of fruit to experiment with,” he says. “I have been playing around with different blends and oak finishes, and looking to connect with the history of artisan cider and the different styles throughout the world.”

The winter line-up will include the 100% Oak Aged Nashi Pear cider that was tasted by the Beer & Brewer team on their trip to the Hills. The cider has spent the last three years aging in old Chardonnay oak barrels, and regular tastings have “given a glimpse into a cider with delicious integrated oak, delicate but complex pear flavour profiles and an intense acid backbone to combine these elements”.

There is only a handful of kegs of the Oak Aged Nashi Pear to be released, with distribution to be limited to the “most passionate” cider lovers.

More mainstream releases this season will include the release of a Cloudy Oaked Apple Cider – with full-bodied apple complexity and subtle oak influences – as well as the second addition to The Hybrid Series – begun by the rather popular Apple and Ginger cider – Honey Mead Cider. Created with the idea of mulled cider, the drink is a co-fermentation of Adelaide Hills apples and local McLaren Vale bush honey. The Mallee bush honey flavours reportedly add “a slightly sweeter yet rich and spicy depth to the blend”.

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