The best place in Columbia to taste a huge variety of new types of beers is, without a doubt, World of Beer in the Vista. At least once a month if not more frequently, they have brewery nights where representatives, and sometimes even owners of the breweries come in to showcase their finest suds. The best part is that on brewery night, beers from the featured brewery are on sale, which is extra great since WOB beers are a tad on the higher priced side since this is a bar that specializes in craft beers. Most recently there was a Midsummer Night’s Cider Dream (or something like that) which had 15 different ciders on tap and featured four special cider kegs from Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill from York, South Carolina.
As a huge fan of Windy Hill (we have at least three bottles of their Rusty Gold in our wine cabinet- fancy, indeed!) I tried to get people to go with me but ended up going alone with the ole laptop to get some writing done (like this, actually). It was one of those late afternoons where it was muggy outside but just a tad too cold inside so I eventually settled down under a fan on the covered porch.
My first brew of the night ended up being my favorite- a Windy Hill strawberry pippen- which was listed as a rare keg. It was a perfect balance in tastes, not too sweet yet not too dry. Even though I took an unusually long time to drink such a great libation it didn’t get overly sour as it warmed up like some beers tend to do by the time you get to the last sip.
The next drink choice wasn’t as simple. I asked for samples of Windy Hill gala peach and Windy Hill ginger gold ciders. Ginger gold wasn’t striking my fancy as much as the peach was. The peach is an unusual cider flavor. I could taste the cinnamon-nutmeg like spices in it but the sweet peachiness gives is a strange dimension that is unexpected but not at all unpleasant. It’s a solid choice but it is sweet though not in an overly syrupy sweet way.
If you haven’t seen and tasted them at the All Local Farmer’s Market, Windy Hill makes amazing cider donuts. Make it your mission to go there this Saturday and get one, get a half dozen, get a whole dozen and tell them The April Blake sentcha. Be prepared to abandon Krispy Kremes forever. My lovely waitress that night liberated a half dozen for me and luckily by that point in the night a friend came to drink and eat those donuts with me! Since she was there I ordered an Angry Orchard cider at her suggestion. It was good, but not as good as the WH ciders, plus I was full from the donuts, the ciders, and the brief dinner I’d consumed in an effort to keep the hangovers away.
Even though I was drinking cider in August I am not ready for cold weather. It was a bit strange that they had a cider night in the summer but maybe that was just a smart move to get everyonein the mindset for drinking cider, wearing sweaters, and eating and drinking pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING (seriously, you #pumpkinspice people, stop it til the end of September).
So, you missed out on this cider night but keep up with the upcoming WOBevents on their website or through Facebook (my method of choice) and try some beers with them for as little as $3 for a great featured craft. And if you see me drinking there with my laptop for company, come say hi! Or if you are more interested in Windy Hill, they do farm tours in the fall which sound like a lot of fun! Hey Columbia Food Bloggers, road trip?