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Hard Cider Festival raises money for Beer for Brains Foundation

Christie Brown, of Brooklyn, sips a cup of

Christie Brown, of Brooklyn, sips a cup of Curious Traveler Shandy at the Hard Cider Festival at the Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue. (Oct. 20, 2012) Credit: Ursula Moore

Kara Matejov spent four months studying abroad last year in London.

While she was there, she visited her first hard cider festival and loved every minute of it.

So the 22-year-old Seaford woman jumped at the chance to attend the inaugural Pour the Core: A Hard Cider Festival on Saturday hosted by and held at the Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue.

“I knew I had to come today because I knew the ciders would be delicious,” said Matejov. “I am having a good time.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Beer for Brains Foundation, a nonprofit committed to raising awareness about brain cancer.

Peconic Bay Winery general manager James Silver was excited to see the hundreds of hard cider enthusiasts sampling 30 varieties of locally and internationally produced ciders.

“I am very excited to have the hard cider festival in this beautiful space,” said Silver, of Mastic. “It’s unbelievable to see this kind of interest all of the people here have about cider.”

He said the idea for the festival originated because of the growing interest in ciders.

“No one knows exactly why but cider has become the new thing,” said Silver. “It is a working man’s drink.”

With sales in ciders increasing, the Peconic Bay Winery decided two years ago to create True Believer, a sparkling hard apple cider.

“When we aren’t making wines, it keeps us busy making cider,” he said. “We even get calls from Canada for our cider.”

Silver said it’s simple to define hard cider which is typically used with apples.

“The apple cider is mildly alcoholic juice,” said Silver. “It’s apple juice that’s been fermented.”

While a brewer traditionally uses apples, a variety of fruits can be mixed into the ciders including pears and peaches.

Silver explained that with the Peconic Bay’s True Believer sparkling hard cider, they use many types of apples such as macintosh, fuji, red delicious and granny smith.

“There is a variety of styles and strengths with the ciders and around 4 percent to 7 percent alcohol used in ciders,” he said.

Festival volunteer Ken Snyder, of Massapequa, was impressed with the ciders available to taste.

“I tasted a cider made with pumpkins and it was good,” Snyder said. “It is autumn so it is fitting that I drank some of it.”

Along with tasting ciders, individuals listened to live music and watched a cooking with cider demonstration with Jennilee Morris, owner of Bonnie Jean’s Casual American Eatery.

Smoking on a chocolate cigar, Steve Carpou admitted that he would definitely attend another hard cider festival.

“I love this. I am enjoying my cigar and the pear cider was very good,” Carpou said. “I would do this again.”

Joe Kehl, of East Islip, attended the hard cider festival with friends.

“This is our field trip day,” Kehl said. “We get together every week and we decided this would be a fun time.”


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