Blue Toad Hard Cider is a small cider mill located in Rochester, NY not far from the R.I.T campus. Despite its small size it creates some big and bold ciders that everyone from the cider lover to the uninitiated can find one they enjoy. Sarah, the tasting room manager, was kind enough to take a couple hours on a Thursday afternoon to talk about the cider mill, the history of Blue Toad and the distinction of each of their current ciders.
The original Blue Toad Cider is location in Virginia. There are three owners, two located in New York and one in Virginia. Both locations use locally sourced ingredients as much as possible. Their apples are local only; no apple comes from outside NY, and in most cases not outside of the Rochester area. Blue Toad currently sources their apples from Schuttes Apple Mill in Webster, NY and Victor Apple Farms in Victor, NY. There is a small tasting room located at the Victor Apple Farm as well. The apples are processed into the base, non fermented cider which is then taken to the cider mill where the magic happens.
Just as in beer making, there are several steps to creating a cider. (input how cider brewed-not have due to no internet lol). Blue Toad uses (type of yeast) in their ciders which result in a (style) type taste and results in a dry, crisp cider verses the usual sweet cider. So without further ado, here are Blue Toads current ciders.
This is the highest ABV of the ciders offered in the tasting room. It presents with a tart and dry profile with the cranberry coming through in the middle with a burst of green apple notes in the finish. Aftertaste is pleasing and the carbonation is at a perfect level.
ROC Hard Amber
This is session cider with a very clean and crisp pallet. The balance of sweet and dry is done perfectly. Out of all the ciders present, this is the one most likely to appeal to craft beer drinkers, and not due to the taste. It’s all in the mouth feel; the fuller body that one expects in a beer but is often rarely found in a cider. Highly recommended and excellent for hot summer days.
One should be a cinnamon lover to drink this cider. It’s not that the cinnamon is so overwhelming, but it is prominent enough that if you are a fan, it’s going to be too much. Cinna-Toad is well balanced, crisp, clean cider with minimal aftertaste. If you like a hint of cinnamon, check out the next option.
Flower City Blonde
Effervescent like a sparkling wine is where Flower City Blonde shines. With a lighter, sweeter yet very clean pallet, this is another summer winner. Though sweeter than the others available, it is not a sugary sweetness that may limit your consumption to one glass or just a taste. Clean finish on the end.
Cherry lovers, here is a cider for you! Black Cherry puree is added to the boil during brewing process resulting in this full flavored, multiple layered cider. Starting out as a seasonal only release last July, it became so popular that they had no choice but to make it year round. One of the strongest flavor profiles, it is not only amazingly drinkable, it would be an excellent additive to BBQ sauces, sautés and even desserts. Can we say Red Velvet cake made with Black Cherry with a cream cheese frosting?
Apple Pie- Cocktail of ROC Hard Amber and Cinna-Toad
ABV: estimated 5.3% (due to combining two different ciders)
The nose on this cider cocktail is truly amazing. The cinnamon is minimized to create a subtle undertone that highlights the bright apple notes present in both ciders. This combination is worth getting a growler of each and combining them for you and your guests (or just you).
Blue Toad Cider does distribute to bars around the Rochester area. Their tasting room hours are (insert hours) and on Friday they have Pizza and Pints where when you buy a pint of cider, you get a slice a pizza too! They also sell locally made mustard and all the proceeds go to charity. So the next time you head to Rochester, NY, be sure to stop out to Blue Toad Cider!