Curious About Curious Apple Cider – Chapel Down Winery

Curious Apple Cider Chapel Down

Curious about Curious Apple Cider? This fall season is the perfect time to try a cider brew, and Chapel Down Winery’s fine cider is an excellent place to start. This is a premium cider that uses apples that are sourced from the Garden of England. It’s crafted from mildly carbonated pure Kent apple juice, using traditional wine-making inspiration in the process.

Chapel Down itself is one of England’s top winemakers, offering sparkling wine as well as non-sparkling – or ‘still’ wine as they say in the U.K., cider, and beer. Curious Apple may be Chapel Down’s most well-known drink. It came about when Josh Donaghay-Spire, winemaker first and cidermaker second, tasted ciders and didn’t like them. He felt there were two main types of cider, neither of which was appealing: commercial ciders that include concentrates, water, and sweeteners with their apple juice, and artisan ciders from single apple varietals, whose provenance maybe impeccable, but whose taste struck him as flat. His goal was to combine the best in cider crafting technology with quality apples and hand-crafted cider.

Apparently, he succeeded, as Curious Apple’s popularity and stellar blend of individually picked Ruben and Bramley apples attest. The 5.2% ABV cider features a clean, crisp taste, 100% Kent-regional apples, and fermentation using wine yeast in stainless steel winery fermentation tanks. There’s no water or concentrate involved.

This cider is produced along with a variety of beers at the winery, and Chapel Down’s craftsmen don’t see any anomaly in a renowned winery making these beverages, too. In fact, the company’s background in wine-making is what led Chapel Down to establish its “Curious” line of beers and cider. The idea was and continues to be that wine, beer, and cider should each have real flavor and use the best processes, fruits, and fermentation.

The house lager, Curious Brew, is made by using champagne yeast. The result is a light, refreshing beer with a mild 4.7% ABV, flavored with Anglican malt, and using Saaz and Cascade hops. After the champagne fermentation, there’s added Nelson Sauvin hops for an extra infusion of flavor.

The Curious IPA is a balanced blend of three different, yet complementary hops: English Golding; the fresh, sweet Bramling Cross, and Chinook, whose spicy edge pushes this 5.6% ABV IPA into a whole new category of rich taste. Its makers compare the hops mix with the balance achieved when winemakers blend three different grapes.

Porter lovers can be curious too, with a Curious Porter that softens and sweetens conventional English Porter taste. This dark, nutty beer is made adding French vanilla oak chips to the blend, along with rich chocolate malt. And the hops? Classic English Challenger and Bramling Cross. Hoppy and bright in flavor, this porter doesn’t disappoint as a sterling example of a beer type crafted during the days of the Industrial Revolution.

The reason for the success of the Curious brews – and Curious Apple in particular – is a combination of top-flight ingredients with wine-making excellence, rich flavors, and no added water or concentrates. There’s nothing at all curious about that.

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