Customers often ask me what I’m drinking. They want to know “what’s best” because what the maker is drinking must be “best.” Of course, the problem with “best” is that it’s really subjective. Many ciders I enjoy are things most of our customers would pour down the drain. Sometimes I want to pour stuff down the drain – something our customers really love (I’m looking at you, Storm Jib Peach!). And sometimes, I almost pour something down the drain that both I and our customers end up loving. That’s today’s story. The story of Foux du Pomme, a cider that I only realized was good while I was dumping half a pallet of it down the drain.
Foux du Pomme started out simply as our Basilisk. A basilisk is a cider fermented with saison yeast and sweetened with honey. Basilisks are some of my favorite ciders and the one we make is a pretty good example. I knew that it’d be better bottle-conditioned, so we bottled a half pallet earlier this year. Unfortunately, after a few weeks in the bottle, it was… well, let’s just say I could describe some of the flavor characteristics, but want to save your lunch. I knew I had to dump it, but I didn’t have time right then. I moved the pallet out of the way so I could get to it later. Later never came. I kept meaning to dump it, but there was always something else more pressing. Periodically, I’d pull a bottle with hope, taste it, and think “Ugh, that’s just disgusting.”
Finally, after moving this half pallet of bottles, I got fed up. I came in on a weekend with no other plans than to dump that cider. I started to dump the first bottle and even though I knew it tasted horrible, decided to try it anyway. It was…good. Really good. But that could be a fluke, so I grabbed another bottle from deep in the pallet and it was…good too! Really good. Wine makers often talk about wine going through a “dumb” period, a stage during aging where it’s not very good, but that it has to go through to get to good. This cider went through a “disgusting” period, and somehow came out wonderful.
If you ask what I’m drinking now, the answer is always the same: Foux du Pomme. That is all I want to drink, and without a doubt “what’s best” right now. And it’s not even a subjective best. Everyone who drinks it loves it. Sweet cider drinkers, dry cider drinkers, sour cider drinkers, Foux du Pomme reaches out and grabs anyone who tastes it. It’s simply a lovely cider, and the best thing that I almost dumped down the drain. I’m glad I never got around to doing that. I guess sometimes the best decision you can make is not cleaning up your mistakes.
[by John Metta, Slopeswell Cidermaker]