Time and time again, in this world of immediate excellence and innovation, we see creators of other ferments come to cider. Such is the case with Starcut Ciders in Northern Michigan, the fresh juiced progeny of Short’s Brewing in Bellaire. The two-year-old cidery sources apples from its own property as well as across the state, including other tree fruit goods like peaches. Phuzz, a peach-infused cider labeled as semi-sweet, does its name justice.
When bored with wine, one often turns to cider for something old, something new, something borrowed and something equally fermentable. Our words, not theirs, but when two praised Oregon winemakers, Anne Hubatch of Helioterra Wines/Whoa Nelly Wines/Guild Winemakers and Nate Wall of McMenamins Edgefield Winery, teamed up with business manager (and the latter’s wife) Kris Wall, cider was shaping up to be the traditional beverage marriage they all were looking for.
One of the first cideries in the Peach State, Treehorn Cider opened in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Georgia, last year to a thirsty Southern crowd. Comprised of a couple home-makers of cider and avid cocktail enthusiasts, the cidery has experimented with local mixologists on cider concoctions as well as with northern Georgia-grown fruit, committed to sourcing apples no more than 150 miles away from the production facility.
This is a story of two Joe’s. Based out of Castleton, New York, Joe Ciccolella and Joe Molesky teamed up under the guidance of Brookview Station Winery to produce Joe Daddy’s Hard Cider, a brand titled for Ciccolella’s nickname. For more than 35 years, Ciccolella has made sweet and hard cider for the winery, and after many test batches, the Joe’s have taken their cider out on the road.
Local legend has it that in the depths of the Cascade Mountain Range of Washington State, there once thrived an enchanted orchard. Rooted into the hillside of a hidden peak, this was hallowed ground for apple growing and cidermaking, heralded by the residents of the region. Although this “lore” might only be part of Spire Mountain Cider‘s origin story, it laid the foundation for cidery’s mantra: to make premium cider, worthy of local praise.
When it comes to being the first, Eden Specialty Ciders has no problem accepting the challenge. First to make ice cider in the United States, inspired by the intricately detailed process and remarkably delicate, flavorsome dessert ciders of nearby Québec, Eden also has released an inaugural commercial release of aperitif ciders, “farm-to-bar alternatives” to the mainstream, Euro-sippers wine-based sippers more often seen in cocktails (see Lillet or vermouth).
Vander Mill’s Too Gold is a bit of a rare bird. Using a blend of Grimes Golden, Golden Russet and GoldRush apples, the varieties are fermented and aged separately in American white oak, then melded together in the final blend. As a result, the Michigan-based cidery has created a cider that is not shy to fly the coop when it comes to conventional American standards of the drink.
In the sea of ciders flooding in from Washington State, Schilling Hard Cider stands out among the waves. The first cidery to put its cans in boxed packaging as well as first to release a nitro coffee cider, Schilling also has a ciderhouse in Seattle that is exclusive to cider — a claim not many can make in North America.
Located in the heart of British Columbia wine country, Merridale Estate Cidery defines itself as “apples expressed.” Using time-tested cider varieties from England, France and Germany, like Tremlett’s Bitter, Michelin, Dabinett, Frequin Rouge and more, the cidery-distillery produces on-site in Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, chosen for its apple-growing terroir.