It’s the end of April and domestic blueberries are officially in action. Most of the southern states will begin harvesting next month and, before we know it, the superfood will be in its peak season of June through July. As we begin dreaming of sandals, barbecues and long warm evenings, here are some blushing blueberry-infused ciders to get you in that summertime state-of-mind.
When it comes to ribs, slow and steady wins the race. For Jake Neilson — associate brand manager at Oregon’s Square Mile Cider and amateur chef — slow, steady and cider champions the success of this apple-forward and approachable rib brine and sauce recipe.
“Low and slow, the longer and lower temp ribs cook, the better they are,” Neilson says. “Take your time, relax, the brine will keep them tender.
If you haven’t heard, it’s Cider Week in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The six-day citywide revelry of cider, particularly those from Michigan, kicked off Monday and coincides with the 12th annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, the world’s largest cider judging this weekend. About 10 miles east of Grand Rapids is the township of Ada, home to the trees of Sietsema Orchards and Cider Mill.
April showers bring May cider celebrations. That’s how the saying goes, right? With summer just around the corner, the month of May is preparing us for cider’s drinking biggest season. From the East Coast to the West, and the Rocky Mountains in between, cities everywhere are celebrating cider.
Central Coast Cider Festival | May 13 | $55-65
After last year’s sold out event, the Central Coast Cider Festival is back with more flavor, food and fun.
At Austin Eastciders, traditional dry cider rules above all. Founder Ed Gibson — a former cider bar owner from the U.K. — arrived in Texas and noticed the dominance of sweet, cloying flavors in the U.S. hard cider market. As the cider world knows well, culinary apples are much more commonplace than the cider apple in the United States — partly because of the loss of cider apple orchards post-Prohibition and also due to the commercial success of the eating apple.
Any given harvest at Eastman’s Forgotten Ciders in Wheeler, Michigan, is a rare one. The small, family-operated cidery exclusively produces its ciders from the apples on its estate orchard, Eastman’s Antique Apples, which plays host to more than 1,200 varieties of rare, elusive and heritage apples. Hailing from Russia, Turkey, Germany, France and England, many of the apples have found a new home in this orchard, and hardly anywhere else.
Not all of the Southwest is desert lands. Depending on who you talk to, Colorado is also considered to be within this region and is full of some of the most spectacular mountains and valleys in the United States. A family-run farm and cidery, Big B’s Juices, Hard Ciders and Delicious Orchards is nestled in one of these small valleys, high in elevation of the Rocky Mountains. Their cold nights and warm days make for great organic apple growing and resulting ciders.
In Canada, no one pours more cider than Her Father’s Cider Bar + Kitchen. The Toronto-based cider-centric bar and eatery opened last May with 60 seats for the cider-loving public. Upon entry, the restaurant reveals a massive cider cooler for retail purchases, but the magic happens behind the counter where Her Father’s serves up cider three ways: in the glass, from the shaker and on the plate.
Inspired by “proper farmhouse ciders” of Spain, England and France, Virtue Cider launched in 2011 with Michigan apples at the center of the fruit-driven philosophy. A secondary, yet still major, component to Virtue’s cider school of thought is the use of barrels — each cider produced by the Fennville cidery is aged in some sort of oak vessel, from bourbon to French oak barrels.