311: Saving Bears by Making Cider

Ian McGregor who cofounded Farmstead Cider with Orion Bellorado holds the title of being both the first commercial cidery in the state of Wyoming and as of this episode published in 2022 remain the sole cidery in the state. These enterprising makers source their apples from residential in the area which have an abundance of crab apples that were planted for homeowners. They are currently planting an orchard, but most of the apples today are sourced from homeowners.

Saving Bears by Making Cider

Ian McGregor enjoying a cider post harvest

311: Saving Bears by Making Cider

Saving Nuisance Bears by Making Cider

A grant helped to fund their task of removing apples from as many local properties, as possible. The homeowners were happily to have the apples harvested which helped to reduce the number of bear/human conflicts in the area. Farmstead Cider ferments these high-altitude crab apples in a lovely assortment of cider, which by the way are fermented with the wild/ambient yeast.

Farmstead Apples

The apples are tart, tannic, sweet, and delicious, and they help our ciders stand out. We can credit the bears for their individuality. We now pick apples all over Jackson Hole, assisting in the conservation of animals and apple trees while producing small-batch hard ciders that represent our unique surroundings!

Bear 399

Local Bear 399 is a favored grizzly who most recently had 4 cubs and is one of the key bears who specifically encouraged the community to work with Farmstead Cider. What bear loving person wouldn’t want to save Bear 399!

Saving Bears by Making Cider

Grizzly “Bear 399” & her cubs pulling off the choice crab apples

Wild Ferments with no Sulfites

Farmstead ferments all the ciders with only the wild yeast. They found that even with the temps go way down the cider continues to bubble along.

  • Expect low acidity and high brix
  • Made with primarily bittersweet crab
  • The tannins are pronounced and well balanced

Saving Bears by Making Cider

Unique Apples Names and Terroir

Because most of the apple trees are unidentified the trees and their fruit are given unique names such as Highschool Purple, Rafter Jay or Red Canyon Nan. Since the trees are named after a specific tree in a specific area everyone knows where the harvest will be that day and it designs a specific terroir for that site.

311: Saving Bears by Making Cider

Contact for Farmstead Cider


Order online:

Address: 4125 Pub Place Suite #4 Jackson, WY 83001

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Along Came a Cider: Cider Review: Virtue Cider’s Baldwin

For once, I’m trying to be prepared and ahead of the game. When this goes live, I’ll hopefully be traveling with The Tall One. We need a bit of respite. But between this moment and that anticipated one there are snow storms and cross-country flights. I write in hope because I prefer it to other available options. Fingers crossed, cider friends!

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on Virtue Cider’s Baldwin. For those who aren’t familiar with Virtue Cider. The company was founded in Michigan in 2011 by Greg Hall. The cidery offers many different cider styles, many of which are inspired by different cider making traditions from cider regions of the world or local Michigan ingredients.

This cider came to me as a sample of Virtue’s first Cider Society box. That’s their regular subscription or cider club. You can read more about Cider Society here:

Virtue Ciders have appeared many times on this blog in the past. Here’s the full list. You can also find additional background information on Virtue in these earlier posts.



Michigan Apple:



The Mitten Reserve:



The Mitten:

Red Streak:

You can find out more about any of these ciders and much more at Virtue’s website:

Here’s the official description for the Baldwin, “Part of our Apple Fest Series which features a single apple varietal. The Baldwin apple is a large crimson red and coppery green apple that is crisp, juicy, and aromatic with a spicy sweet-tart flavor.” This cider’s ABV is 7.7%.

Appearance: bubbly, brilliant, medium straw

Virtue Cider’s Baldwin reminds me of many modern American ciders in its appearance. The cider is brilliant with visible bubbles and a medium color intensity. The hue reminds me of ripe straw.

Aromas: Cooked apples, apple skin, Pixi Stix

The Baldwin reminds me most of cooked apples when I let its aroma notes waft to me. I can get other inklings as well: green apple skins, Pixy Stix, and grapefruit.

Dryness/sweetness: Semi-dry

This cider is neither dominated by sweetness nor completely reliant on it. There is enough sweetness to keep things easy-going and approachable and not a bit too much. What sweetness I do detect is very appley and natural.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, minerals, high acid, well-balanced

I appreciate how this tart and minerally cider feels so fresh on the palate. It really does feel so green apple tart to me; it’s somehow high acid without being overly austere or pointed. The Baldwin is a well-balanced crowd pleaser of a cider. I enjoy the strong bubbles and medium full mouthfeel.

I had this at a lovely quiet dinner of pescatarian okonomiyaki, dumpling soup, and cucumber salad. What a set of pairings! Each dish brought out a different element of the cider, and all were delicious. I would enthusiastically recommend exactly this to anyone who wants to explore such a well-balanced cider in all its visissitudes. And my eternal gratitude to my dear friends who cook so well and share their gifts.


Q&A With Cider Belly’s Matthew Vendeville

From public health to the public house: How a young couple created Philadelphia’s newest cidery

If you haven’t yet heard of Philadelphia-based Cider Belly, you’re not alone. But given that the husband and wife–operated cidery has only been in existence for a mere six months, you’d be forgiven. Still, this relatively nascent cidery is moving quickly in the greater Philadelphia area and is poised to do big things.

Matthew Vendeville, along with his wife Kimberly, are the co-founders of Cider Belly. The two met at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health and still hold down full-time jobs outside the cidery. They’ve since moved to eastern Pennsylvania, in large part to build the Cidery Belly brand. We sat down with Matthew to better understand the couple’s journey as cider lovers who would ultimately become cidermakers.

Editor’s note: As part of a collaboration with Seattle-based Cidercraft, this interview is organized in two parts. One half is published below. The other half is posted at Cidercraft – simply click the link at the bottom of this page. And once you’ve finished this Q&A with the founders of Cider Belly, make sure to explore Cidercraft for more great information about cider and cidermakers.

Cidercraft/CiderScene: You and your wife were both cider drinkers and cider lovers. But that’s a far cry from actually making cider. What first brought you to the drink — and how did you start making it?

Matthew Vendeville: While we both were consumers of cider for a number of years, Kim and I gained a greater appreciation of craft cider while living in Pittsburgh and frequenting an awesome spot, Arsenal Cider House. I immersed myself in the cider culture by reading any material I could find, speaking with leaders in the cider community, and attending CiderCon. Research and passion led to producing the first batches of cider in our garage using carboys. After receiving positive feedback from friends and family, we realized we could turn this into something more.

While exploring the cider industry, I found that the cider community was different from others in that people were willing to share experience and knowledge. The more conversations I had, the more I felt that the cider world was filled with great people working together to produce an awesome product that brings people together. It simply felt right to pursue being part of the cider community.

To bring the business to life, we knew we’d have to be creative and willing to take chances in a new area that we were both unfamiliar with. After reaching out to multiple businesses around Philadelphia, Cardinal Hollow Winery owner, Chris Boyd, responded to our inquiry to lease a small footprint of space to begin production. Along with finding a space for production, we were lucky enough to find a great person willing to coach and mentor us in the early stages. We will forever be grateful for our relationship.

Cidercraft/CiderScene: As someone who has taken the leap from enjoying cider to making it on a professional level, can you tell us a cider-related story, or perhaps one related to your first cider experience?

MV: It’s interesting when you look back on your life and begin connecting the dots. In 2018, before we had begun ideating on a cider business, Kam and I traveled to Angry Orchard Headquarters in Walden, NY, before jumping on a flight to Ireland to scout potential wedding venues. We spent our days exploring castles in the countryside and our nights at pubs with Bulmers Irish Cider. Needless to say, we ended up getting married in Pittsburgh, down the road from Arsenal Cider, where we toasted to the future with local wine and cider in our glasses.

Cidercraft/CiderScene: OK, let’s get down to the good stuff. Where can people purchase and drink Cider Belly?

MV: Our current model is to partner with select Pennsylvania businesses to offer our products on draft or in cans to go. We are excited to continue our established partnerships and look forward to expanding our reach. For 2022, you will be able to periodically find us around the greater Philadelphia area serving drafts, flights and 4-packs to go at Maple Acres Farm in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., and on tap at Chestnut Hill Brewing Company in Chestnut Hill, Pa. .

We have partnered with Maple Acres Farm and Chestnut Hill Brewing because they deliver top notch products along with a great experience. If you’re looking for delicious, locally grown produce and fresh cut flowers, Maple Acres is the spot. If you want a pint of beer and pizza with a side of live music, Chestnut Hill Brewing is the perfect choice.

It makes us so happy to think about the collaboration we have with Maple Acres Farm and Chestnut Hill Brewing. We are forever indebted to them as providing us the opportunity to deliver our first batches of cider into the hands of those in our communities.

Cidercraft/CiderScene: Cider Belly is an unusual name. Where did you come up with it?

MV: We always wanted a name that would stand out and that people would remember. Cider Belly fit the build. After our wedding, we were lucky to travel to Italy where we indulged in all of the delicious Italian foods while enjoying great conversation and taking in the beautiful sights. We’d often joke that our bellies are full with whatever we had consumed earlier that day. When we came back home and began producing cider, it was a natural transition to say “Cider Belly.” For us, Cider Belly is an ode to an important memory as well as a celebration of all of our journeys with food and drink at the core.

Click here to continue the interview with Matthew Vendeville of Cider Belly on the pages of Cidercraft.

Find out where you can find Cider Belly by following them on Facebook and Instagram @ciderbellyhardcider.


Along Came a Cider: Cider Review: Bent Ladder Cider’s Original

Yesterday I saw my first outdoor blooms of the season. What season, one might reasonably ask? It’s still Winter here, but I saw snowdrops. Yesterday the sun was powerful enough to melt feet of ice and tempt many people outdoors. I’m grateful for that little preview of Spring. Today, it’s a gray world of rain and mist, but I remember the look of a blue sky. Today’s cider is one that reminds me of Summer. A friend of mine sought out a selection of Bent Ladder Cider for me, and that makes me value it all the more. Bent Laddery Ciders and Wines come to us from Doylestown, Ohio. The company was founded in 2015. Here’s how the website describes the process,

Each cider is made from a selection of our estate-grown apples which we crush, ferment, age and keg in-house. Even if you have never tried a hard cider before, our wide selection ensures that you will be able to find something that you love.

I recommend learning about Bent Ladder Ciders and Wines on the company’s homepage here: As this is the cidery’s first appearance on the blog, I wanted to start with The Original. Here’s how the Original is described.

A blend of apples including Northern Spy, Jonathan and Winesap. Aromas of green apple and ripe pear. Fruit forward flavors of ripe apple, blossoms and nectar. Well balanced and easy drinking with a clean mellow finish.

Medium Sweet

6.5% ABV

Appearance: brilliant, lots of bubbles, medium intensity warm straw

This cider has a classic look with medium intensity warm straw color. I see many bubbles in the glass. As the image reveals, Bent Ladder’s Original is brilliant in terms of clarity. Aromas: baked apple muffins, spices, bready, ripe apple The Original reminds me of a brunchy weekend breakfast in the best of all possible ways. It smells like a fresh apple danish with notes of baking spice, clean yeastiness, powdered sugar, and ripe apples. There’s also just a hint sweet orange in the mix. I am so very reminded of baked goods! The aroma is clean and enticing. Sweetness/Dryness: Semi-sweet This cider strikes me exactly as the cidery it describes, semi-sweet. The sweetness in The Original is beautifully integrated in the whole experience, and it’s a super approachable level of sweetness in a cider. Flavors and drinking experience: bubbly, medium acid, honey, ripe apple So much of what I noticed in the aroma comes through in this cider’s flavors as well. It does remind me of a sweet apple-y dessert. The Original brings lots of bubbles to my glass, and I’m grateful. It has medium acidity, a beautifully honeyed flavor, and a generous share of fresh apple. The whole experience tastes jammy to me. Its a sunny, summertime cider in my book. I enjoyed this with a hearty veggie soup and homemade bread, but I’d love to see this with a quiche and muffins.


Stormalong Cider Launches New Unfiltered Cider

Stormalong Cider, a Massachusetts-based cidery, today announced the introduction of Stormalong Unfilteredthe newest addition to Stormalong’s core line up of hard ciders that are available year-round.

Featuring a blend of 100% high-quality, fresh pressed, locally sourced apples from orchards across New England, this unfiltered hard cider is reminiscent of farmstand cider pressed and sold at harvest. It’s crisp, refreshing, with a savory balance of tart and sweet.

“The ritual of apple picking and drinking freshly pressed apple cider in the fall is a rite of passage for New Englanders.” It’s one of the best things about living here,” said Shannon Edgar, founder of Stormalong Cider. “Our Unfiltered hard cider is made with a unique blend of whole apples sourced locally from these amazing orchards. Additionally, this cider is finished without filtration, which provides a juicier, fresh apple mouthfeel, reminiscent of farmstand ciders, but with a kick. We’ve spent several years perfecting the process of making our Unfiltered cider which is actually quite complex. It’s all made with 100% fresh local juice, so it’s super simple ingredient wise, but you have to get the process right. Some of our competitors use apple concentrate and other adjuncts like malic acid, sugar, and flavorings to make the process easier and cheaper. We don’t ever add anything except apples.”

Like all of Stormalong’s offerings, Unfiltered It is naturally gluten-free and made with carefully sourced local apples which are freshly pressed and fermented with care. No added sugars, concentrates, water, artificial ingredients, natural flavors or essences. 100% goodness.

Stormalong Unfiltered will be available on draft and in 16 oz. 4-packs at select bars, restaurants and retail locations throughout Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Los Angeles County starting this month. Consumers can also order online for direct-to-consumer delivery or visit Stormalong’s Store Locator to find where Unfiltered is available.

About Stormalong Cider

Stormalong Cider, founded in 2014, is a Massachusetts-based craft cider company producing a wide range of ciders focused on apple quality and character. Using a blend of culinary and rare heirloom varieties, Stormalong ferments and ages its ciders with traditional and modern techniques showing the unique characteristics of these diverse apples. Fascinated and inspired by America’s robust hard cider lineage, Stormalong aims to showcase the diversity, flavor and quality of cider made with the right apples. For more information visit or follow Stormalong on Instagram @stormalongcider.


2Towns Cider Launches Craftwell RTD Cocktails

The Oregon-based team behind 2 Towns Ciderhouse today announced Craftwell Cocktails, a line of premium cocktails made with real fruit for exceptional taste and an authentic cocktail experience for any occasion. Prioritizing taste above all else, the ready-to-drink Craftwell cocktails rely on the expertise developed over a dozen years using real fruit to make delicious cider. They are crafted in the Pacific Northwest with carefully selected ingredients that lead to a refreshing and delicious taste.

With four distinct, foundational flavors blended from premium ingredients – Pineapple Margarita, Grapefruit Paloma, Blueberry Cosmo, and Strawberry Margarita – Craftwell Cocktails looks to deliver a modernized cocktail experience. Packaged in ready-to-drink cans that are easily portable, Craftwell will allow consumers to create a unique cocktail moment just about anywhere. From the bonfire social to a day of outdoor adventure to date night, Craftwell allows consumers to live life with flavor while on the go. Each is 10.5 percent ABV and will be available in 12oz ounce cans at retail stores, bars, and restaurants beginning March 1 in Oregon and Washington.

“When we started 2 Towns Ciderhouse a dozen years ago, we used the ingenuity that’s unique to the Pacific Northwest, and people loved it,” said Nels Jewell-Larsen, Co-owner. “We’re bringing the same spirit to Craftwell, inspired by our consumers’ spirit of adventure, to craft great-tasting cocktails that are ready to drink.”

The Pineapple Margarita uses Costa Rica Gold pineapple, Key lime juice, and agave nectar, giving it a ripe pineapple forward taste that is balanced with a kick of lime, and sweetened by the agave. Our Grapefruit Paloma blends Rio Grande Ruby Red grapefruit, California Meyer lemon, and agave nectar to produce a fresh-squeezed, citrus flavor with a quenching and mild bitterness, balanced by agave sweetness. Crafted with Pacific Northwest blueberries and California lemons, the Blueberry Cosmo tastes rich, ripe, and fruity, with a pronounced blueberry forward taste and a lemon-tang finish. The Strawberry Margarita relies on strawberry juice, Mexican Key lime juice, and agave nectar to reveal a distinctly West Coast margarita experience, with big, ripe strawberry notes and blends sweet with tangy.

“We take our cocktails seriously,” said Nels. “Ourselves? Not so much. Craftwell knows that cocktails are supposed to be about fun, and we bring an irreverence to our craft that helps our consumers enjoy their time with friends while feeling good about what they’re drinking.”

About Craftwell

Embodying the spirit of the Pacific Northwest, Craftwell ready-to-drink cocktails are crafted with the same care and expertise that made the 2 Towns Ciderhouse team leaders in using real fruit to create award-winning ciders. Craftwell encourages consumers to live life with flavor and to create their own cocktail moments with easily portable canned deliciousness. Real, fresh fruit produces real, fresh flavors: Pineapple Margarita, Grapefruit Paloma, Blueberry Cosmo, and Strawberry Margarita. For more information please visit


Hard Cider Gift Basket | CiderScene

For cider lovers, there is no better present for any occasion that a hard cider gift basket. Often, these baskets have hard cider, meat snacks, cheeses, and other apple-based products. The most difficult part of actually getting some this type of gift is finding the right option. We have compiled the top ten best hard cider gift baskets for cider fans on the market today.

hard cider gift basket

New York State is on the map for growing more apple varieties and now producing world-class hard ciders. Packed into this picnic hamper is a curated selection of NYS ciders and complimentary snacks.

This gift highlights a generous selection of the best ciders from our state, from Cooperstown (Ommegang), Orange County (Doc’s), the Hudson Valley (Graft) and the Hamptons (Wolffer.) with other fruits, to variants on rosé, the ultimate in summer sips.

We’ve also included salty snacks from small producers including Bazzini pistachios, Martin’s pretzels and Brooklyn Brittle savory shortbread and packed it all in a vintage-inspired wood picnic basket. Cheers to your cold, bubbly armchair tour of New York.

Price: $99
Notes: This box offers a nice variety of cider options for fans of dry and sweet ciders.

The Cider Gold Gift Box contains a bottle of Lake Chelan Winery’s famous Hard Apple Cider. You can choose sparkling cider, which has a little fizz, or regular cider, which does not. Pair either cider with Dan the Sausageman Summer Sausage and our popular Walla Walla Sweet Mustard and you’ve got the makings of a picnic to remember!

Make your gift even more special by adding The Growler cutting board! Just select it as an option on the right, and we’ll include it in the Cider Gold Gift Box.

Price: $60
Notes: Not readily available all the time, but they have a phone number to call to order!

Equipped with a four-pack of Citizen’s hard cider and the ideal snacks to pair, you are sure to please all of your cider-loving friends and family. Bring this crate along for a picnic in the park, or open up as an après ski treat, it is perfect for an afternoon spent sipping and snacking!

Price: $94
Notes: They offer vegetarian and gluten-free options for those in need!

Country goodness meets orchard freshness in this bountiful basket filled with seasonal sweets, refreshing sips and savory treats! This wonderful wooden apple cider crate makes a great decorative addition to their fall and holiday decor. This gift is stunning!

Truly a gift they will remember for a long time to come, this adorable apple themed gift basket is loaded with apple themed gourmet goodies and paired with nuts and cheeses that compliment each other surprisingly well. Flavor like this carefully arranged into a country style wooden box makes a beautiful presentation for any occasion.

Price: varies, but around $100
Notes: Not sure there will always be a ton of inventory, but it is a good option for apple lovers of all sorts.

Time to taste! A little local hard apple cider along with cider themed treats. Includes a tasting journal so they can keep track of their favorite Oregon made ciders. Includes:

  • 3-2 Towns Ciderhouse Cider Cans in a combo of available varieties like Pineapple, Marionberry or other seasonal.
  • Cranberry Sweets Hard Apple Cider Fruit de’ Pate’ candies. (Coos Bay)
  • 33 Mugs of Cider Tasting Journal (Portland)
  • Sister’s Fruit NW Fruit Mix of dried cherries, blueberries, apples, strawberries and cranberries (Cornelius)
  • Oregon Berries Fruit de’ Pate’ Blackberry and Raspberry Candies (Coos Bay)

Price: $56
Notes: A great way to taste the region and get a taste of the PNW if you can’t make it out often. They offer a premium version, too!

Organic USDA certified juicy ripe pears, fresh and crisp red apples and sweet oranges arrive in this handmade basket. Organic sparkling apple cider, chocolate caramel truffles, roasted salted cashews, roasted salted almonds, creamy jack cheese spread and multigrain crackers are packed into this basket.

Price: $136
Notes: Contains Sonoma sparkling cider, so, again, good for the pregnant women and those not looking for a hard beverage.

24″ tall and impressive! Our Bouquet of Beer comes with 6 Angry Orchard Rose Ciders and plenty of snacks to enjoy. We’ll finish this gift with a gorgeous bow along with your message on a greeting card. Printed ribbon is available for an additional fee.

Price: $119
Notes: This is one of the cutest presentations of all the gift baskets we found online!

Refreshing and delicious Sheffield Sparkling Cherry Apple Cider, produced in Washington’s Columbia Basin from the third generation Sheffield family’s apple orchards pairs perfectly with Pacific Northwest Smoked Salmon, Brie Cheese Spread, Elki Crackers, Gourmet Almonds, Chocolate Truffles, White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels and Brown & Haley’s Almond Roca, arranged in an elegant red metal tin. Festive and delicious!

Price: $74.95
Notes: This is a non-alcoholic cider, so it is perfect for those that do not drink and pregnant women! We did include this cider is our sparkling cider article.

This box has an assortment of North Country Hard Cider, cheese, crackers, parmesan crisps, and apples. If you know a hard cider lover you know there’s only one way to get to their heart: through their stomach. So we’ve collected some of their favorite snacks and brought them together with three different North Country Hard cider flavors in this Hard Cider Care Package!

Price: $89.99
Notes: Irresistible New England themed treats tastefully paired with the flavors of the three hard ciders.

Good4You presents the Green Apple Cider Garden Gift Basket, a gift that is all about the green! We love the color green and we want you to as well, which is why we packed some of our favorite green items into this basket, such as juicy green apples with sweet cinnamon sticks, and delicious Somersby Apple Ciders.

Price: $49.99
Notes: Upgradeable to include other elements in the basket

Have other hard cider gift baskets we didn’t add to our list? Send us an email at [email protected] Cheers!


Right Bee Cider Clementine Barrel Aged Series

I hear from my mom that daffodils are striving several inches from the ground in her yard in Kentucky. I witness some upstate daffodils just barely poking their heads above the soil; that was on the one day we had bare ground between different blankets of snow. Surely this means that Spring will arrive, perhaps even before too terribly long. But for right now, I’m grateful for the warmth of friends and loved ones.

This past week, the cider community launched #OpenThatCiderBottle across a few social media platforms, directing all of us to take the time to look at the cider we have and choose something special. We then opened our ciders and shared the stories of what makes the bottles meaningful or exciting. I’m all about using and enjoying the good things we have. I shared Right Bee Cider’s Clementine from the Barrel-Aged Series, because it was a surprise gift from my cider friend Matt.

Matt not only shared a lovely cider with me, but he helped me out with some supplies I needed for an art project that is still in process. As soon as I put out the call for help, he answered and got me not only what I needed but this cider too. I feel touched by his perceptive generosity! And what an intriguing cider; I’ve never gotten to review anything by Right Bee Cider before.

Right Bee Cider is based in Chicago by Katie Morgan and Charlie Davis in 2014. Here’s how they describe themselves as cider producers, “We are passionate about the art of cider-making, made by hand with natural ingredients and sustainable practices. Our cider brought us together, and we hope it continues to bring others together as well.”

I’m so excited to share my thoughts on the limited-release Clementine (Barrel Aged Series).

You can visit the cidery website here:

I don’t have a lot of info about the cider, but it is “Aged in Thornton Distilling Dead Drop Bourbon Barrels.” The ABV is 6%.

Appearance: intense warm copper, brilliant, fine bubbles

Oh, this color is amazing. I’ve never seen a cider with such a deep warm copper hue. It’s brilliant with fine visible bubbles.

Aromas: cherries, apricots, butterscotch, old paper

The Clementine has aroma notes of old paper, cherries, and apricots. I also smell minerals, water, and intense butterscotch. There’s a rich apple concentration that reminds me of fruit on the equipment after it has been pressed; juices that have dried and intensified. I get notes of barrel and dust as well.

Dryness/sweetness: Off-dry

I find it a little challenging to determine sweetness level in barrel aged ciders. I’m perceiving a more complex set of qualities that all affect one another. This cider has a lot going on in multiple dimensions, but it’s not notably sweet. At the same time, it’s also not bone-dry, so I’ll call it off-dry and acknowledge the imprecision!

Flavors and drinking experience: fruity acid, buzzy, gently bitter

The first impression I get is that this cider is in some ways like an oaked Chardonnay. The Clementine tastes refreshing, acidic and not too tannic. The cider rises with a little wave of gentle bitterness a second or two after the initial taste. I find the texture petillant, with a silky body. I appreciate the wonderful interactions between bright fruity acid and the dark barrel notes. The whole experience is full and complex with a long dark pleasant finish.

I had my co-tasters investigate for diacetyl acid, because I’m not particularly sensitive to it, but they assure me that the buttery-ness is barrel-y not popcorny or oily.

Though the barrel characteristics are emphatic, they do not unbalance the drinking experience. Another wine reminder arrived in the buzzy sense of alcohol, but this remains absolutely clearly a cider, just one with a few wine-like characteristics.

I enjoyed the Clementine with wonderful companionship and a funky tasty cheese. Yet again, I must say that I am thankful for friends, family, loved ones. A special bottle shared with special people made for a very warm and cozy night.


Hard Cider Myths Debunked | CiderScene

Hard Cider Myths

As popular as hard cider has become, establishing itself as a mainstream alternative to beer on menus and in stores, a lot of people still have misconceptions about it. These can be about everything from the state of the market to the effects of the drink. In this piece, we’ll look at some of the most common hard cider myths –– and debunk them so that everyone can enjoy cider that much more!

Cider Myth #1: Hard Cider is New

We’re sorry to tell you this, but it’s been around for longer than you might think. In fact, beloved brand Woodchuck–which has been at the heart of hard cider’s explosion in popularity in the US–has been around for 30 years! It’s just that it’s newly trendy in the last 10 or 12, leading many to feel that they’ve discovered something new. It’s okay everyone –– you’re just hopping abroad a great bandwagon! If you want to delve into the full history of hard cider, we have a piece on that, too.

Cider Myth #2: Hard Cider is Sweet

It isnt, for the most part. First of all, it’s nothing like the classic apple cider you get from the supermarket or your favorite pumpkin patch farm during the fall. While it’s true that ciders are fruit-based, they’re about as sweet as wine — which means there are sweet options along with bitter, sour options, and none of them are going to naturally reach dessert-level sweetness. That pretty much only happens when you seek out the flavored kinds. It also depends on the person. Two people can drink the very same cider and perceive it in two different ways, and those who decide it’s sweet will probably enjoy it more.

Cider Myth #3: Hard Cider Gives You Reflux

There are some who under the impression that drinking a are heavily carbonated alcoholic beverage causes acid reflux. The truth of the matter though is that causes of this are typically not so simple. Some of the actual identified causes include things like being overweight, smoking tobacco products, and drinking too much caffeine and/or alcohol, according to a guide to acid reflux by SymptomFind. Now, there is a possibility that if you’re already susceptible due to one of these underlying causes — or you’re drinking a lot — cider can be a trigger due to its acidity. But in these cases, cider is irritating your reflux more than causing it.

Cider Myth #4: Hard Cider Is A “Girly” Drink

We’ve written on article on if hard cider is a girly drink before. While it’s true that alcohol companies have started to market more products towards women, according to “Girly Drinks” by Mallory O’Meara, hard cider hasn’t been particularly over-marketed to any gender. Hard cider labeling tends to be completely neutral and doesn’t aim to persuade a certain group of people. Instead, it’s enjoyed by everyone who has tried and enjoyed cider. As with most alcoholic drinks, everyone has their own preference and tastes. Plus, the idea of ​​a “girly” drink is silly to begin with!

Cider Myth #5: All Hard Ciders Taste the Same

Hard ciders are traditionally made with apples, but even the type of apple can vary from brand to brand. Most hard cider companies have more than one variety of cider, and some of them aren’t even made from apples; look to Paste Magazine’s extensive ranking of some of the best ciders out there and you’ll see flavors like pear, honey, peach, raspberry, and more. The truth of the matter is that many fruits can be used to make cider as long as they’re fermented properly. This just means that you’ll have to try different brands and types of cider in order to find your favorite! We created a list of odd and unusual hard cider flavors for you to find some wacky ciders!

As hard cider becomes more popular, more brands and varieties continue to hit the market. Keep these debunked hard cider myths in mind as you go hunting for your favorite cider, and enjoy! Find hard cider near you and start drinking cider!


Single Varietal Series: KeepSake Cider

As we became more engrained in the world of cider, we have been able to explore ciders that are less commercialized and truer to the apple. We have tasted ciders that are naturally fermented, aged, foraged, locally sourced, and everything in between, but one of our favorite explorations in the world of cider is single varietal hard ciders.

Single varietal ciders are created by using a single delicious, nuanced, and regional apple in a large or small batch. Without blending several apples together, you get to experience the specific character of a particular apple, may it be its acidity, taste, or aroma.

To get a better understanding of different regions of the United States, and discover what single varietal ciders are being cooked up across the country, we started by asking Keepsake Cidery for their insights on single varietal ciders and the apples they are using for their products.

Tell Us More About Your Cidery

Keepsake Cidery is an orchard based, family farm cidery in the Cannon River Valley of Minnesota. We are heavily influenced by the ciders of Hereford and Somerset England, Normandy and Brittany France and the Basque region. We only use particular apples grown in our orchard and fellow orchards in our region and we press 100% of our juice before spontaneously fermenting then aging our ciders in a mix of stainless steel, HDPE, and barrels.

Our ciders are unfiltered, unfined, no tannin, acid, sulfite or sugar additions. Just cider. Sometimes we age on local farmed and foraged ingredients. Average aging time is about 18 months. Our ciders are Pet Nat, Charmat Method, or Still.

What Single Varietals Ciders Do You Make?

Single varietal ciders we have made in small and large batches:

  • Chestnut Crab
  • Jonathan
  • Keepsake
  • Dabinette
  • Kingston Black
  • Golden Russet
  • Dolgo Crab

Why Make Single Varietals Over Blends?

We make single varietal ciders for three main reasons:

  • They are delicious and fun for the drinker.
  • They are also a great way for the cider maker to truly get to know the fruit and its fermentation habits and flavors.
  • They help educate the consumer.

Great cider is made with great apples. When a cider maker showcases one apple, it takes away the advantages that blending can give you. It requires truly attention to detail in the process. Especially if the apple is approached like we do at Keepsake with no additions- no sugars, no acids, no sulfites, no tannins added- nothing but the apple.
The process should be the same whether you are making a blend or SV.

We select particular locally grown apples for their unique flavors. Will this apple contribute to a great finished cider? What will it bring? Tannin, phenolics, acidity, minerality,,,, sometimes we come across an apple that we think makes a great cider by itself, so we approach making a SV (single varietal) like all our ciders, just don’t blend it with other apples .

Having said all that, I think that the best ciders are usually blends. As you know, many “Single Varietals” in the cider world and wine world are also blends, usually 75%-80% has to be one varietal in order to label it a SV. I’m not sure if the cider world has made an official decision. Do you know?

We try to make all our SVs at 100% or very close. Whether or not the cider is a single varietal, the cider industry would benefit from more producers highlighting the apples they use in their ciders.

Describe Some Of Your Favorites Cider Apples & Their Unique Characteristics

The incredible differences between SV ciders from producer to producer add another layer of enjoyment. It’s good fun comparing a Dabinett SV made in Herefordshire with one made in Minnesota. The differences are due to the terroir and the processes used by the makers, and they can be VERY different despite using the same apple. As I am sure you have found.

Keepsake – This upstart apple from University of MN is one of our obvious favorites. The flavors are full of stone fruit and a chalky texture, acidity is present but lower than most American Dessert apples. For us this apple ferments very slowly and has repeatedly keeved for an arrested fermentation, leaving a perfect natural medium cider. We have found this cider to marry well with barrel aging too. It lacks tannin, but can offer a touch of bitterness some years.

Dabinette One of the classics SV from the Somerset, Herefordshire, and Wales. We love the smoke, leather and black tea elements of this cider. It also has that unique bittersweet fruit- reminds us of a cross between papaya and pear or some other make believe fruit. This apple tends to be a great candidate for keeping in our limited experience. Its fault is that it isn’t grown more in our region. We need more!

Chestnut Another great Minnesota apple. It’s small but full of flavor. We have had this clock in at 17 brix. Tasting notes include smoke, leather, black pepper, pear. Lots of phenolics and medicinal flavors, low on tannin. Some years brings a tangy acidity, some years it’s muted. Great as both medium and dry, but tends to finish dry.

Quick notes:
From a grower’s perspective, both Keepsake and Chestnut make a wonderful cider and are great to eat! Also, in a small competition during our Eat an Apple Drink an Apple Event- Keepsake beat out Dabinett, Golden Russet, Kingston Black and Chestnut!