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Two Rivers Cider Company rolls out sour cider

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The local Two Rivers Cider Company recently delved into offering sour ciders, and the newest Two Rivers Sour Apple Cider was released Friday.

Hot City Pizza in East Sacramento will stock the cider this weekend, and Samuel Horne’s Tavern in Folsom will carry it next weekend. Plans for Pangaea Two Brews to possibly stock a different sour batch this weekend were being worked out Friday, according to Nick Vellanoweth, production manager.

The businesses are hosting events with sour brews as part of Sacramento Beer Week.

“Sours are always hit and miss, so my biggest challenge was if it would work,” Vellanoweth said, adding that he was very happy with the sour ciders.

After two weeks of fermentation, the sours were aged since last May.

The apples used are a blend, including Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples. They were selected to ensure the proper balance of sweet and sour, as well as acidity and other factors.

The process for making the sours involves using bacteria to eat the sugars, much in the way champagne and sparkling wine are produced.

Vincent Sterne, founder of the cider company, which began almost 16 years ago, said he likes to think of cider as the backwoods cousin of wine and the unwanted stepchild of beer.

“I mention that because there’s a big trend in the American (beer) brewing industry to start doing sours. Sours originated, I think the style came out of Belgium and France,” he said. “As far as I know, none of the other ciders, none of the other big guys, are doing sours.”

He said that he likes to be creative and come out with something that no one else has done.

Cascade Barrel Brewing House in Portland, Ore., was the first place the sours were sent, and they did well, so Sterne said he and his crew decided to release them locally.

The first locally released sour cider was released last year and called Lehe, in homage to a friend of Vellanoweth’s who died suddenly. Sold in 6.32-ounce bottles, it is based off Gravenstein apples and is available at The Shack in East Sacramento, and it has also been sold at Pangaea.

The current batch is only available on draft, and it was done in small batches of about 120 gallons.

“It’s something I’d like to continue doing, because I think it’s working really well,” Vellanoweth said.

He added that his hope is to see more people expand their palates to cider, sampling the different varieties. Like beer and wine, he said, cider varieties have distinctly different flavors, and those who try different types will notice that.

In addition to sour ciders, which were made in small batches, the Two Rivers Cider Company typically produces about six types of cider at a time. For a list of where to buy the ciders locally and in the Bay Area, click here.

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.

Editorial Note: A spelling correction was made to this article after it was published.

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