Wilmington Brew Works and Hagley Museum and Library are releasing a new cider Friday, and some of the proceeds will go towards a recovery fund to help the former du Pont estate cope with $2 million in flood losses.
The peach cider, the second release in a series of offerings dubbed The Fruits of Eleutherian Mills, is made with Oldmixon and Jones peaches picked at the Hagley Orchard.
The cider-curious can buy the cider at the Hagley Craft Fair Saturday with a five-ounce pour costing $3. It will also have draught craft beer for sale there.
The 22-ounce bottles will sell for $17.50, with 20% of sales going directly to the Hagley Flood Recovery Fund, will only be available starting Friday at the Wilmington Brew Works taproom on Miller Road in Wilmington.
The first issue in The Fruits of Eleutherian Mills cider, which is named for the family home at Hagley that in itself incorporated the name of founder Éleuthère Irénée du Pont, was made with freshly picked Montmorency and Black Tartarian cherries from the orchard just southwest of the du Pont Residence.
The Oldmixon and Jones peaches, both considered historic varieties, were picked over the summer by Brew Works and Hagley staff, under the direction of Paul Orpello, Hagley’s director of Gardens and Horticulture.
Ryan Rice, Wilmington Brew Works cider maker, experimented with different ways of using the fruit.
“In addition to co-fermenting with peaches, we added puréed peaches after fermentation,” Rice said in a press release. “The ending result is a semi-sweet cider that is much more fruit forward. It has a wonderful fresh peach nose and tastes like eating a peach right from the orchard at Hagley.”
The series will continue with fruit picked during the October apple harvest be used for another cider this year.
In addition, archivists at Hagley have unearthed some beer recipes that will be used this winter in the brewhouse.
Hagley’s huge flood damage occurred after Hurricane Ida swept over the Brandywine Valley rivershed and dropped torrential amounts of rain. The next day, the Brandywine River which rose more than 23 feet at Hagley and flooded the property along the river.
While no precious artifacts were destroyed, many buildings flooded, the worst it the basement of the visitors center, where a lot of expensive machinery controlling power and other utilities was stationed.
Hagley did not have flood insurance, which is extremely costly, but now has plans to rebuild in the coming months to better withstand future floods. That might include moving the control systems to other locations to prevent a repeat of the destruction.
While the work is going on, Hagley is open to the public for tours of the historic estate, gardens and barn via its 298 Buck Road entrance.
That’s also where visitors should enter for the craft fair, which is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience.
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