If there were only two statements to be made about CiderCon 2018, it would “heritage cider” and “marketing.” The former is all about the apples and the latter is all about the telling of those apples. Fortunately for Minnesota’s Milk & Honey Ciders, which was able to score a table at the coveted Cider Share tasting, they were already on top of both of these assertions. The fruit comes from tenured orchards in Minnesota and Michigan, as well as the Pacific Northwest and New England — a cornucopia of heirloom apples from Newtown Pippin and Winesap to bittersweets like Dabinett and some crab apples. And the marketing is in shades of creative branding, with four-packs of 12-ounce bottles swathed in apple art.
The Heirloom features the aforementioned heritage apples and then some, pressed with a traditional rack-and-cloth press, fermented to dryness then cellared for four-nine months before bottling. Ripe and robust with golden raisin, bruised apple and pineapple, the cider finishes full and dry, with cleansing acidity and lingering fruit. If the fetching branding and Nielsen-approved four-pack bundle doesn’t convince drinkers to come back for more, the apples surely will.
This article was corrected from an earlier version.