When Bud and Mary Shelton retired and built a home on a small farm in Virginia’s Albemarle County, it was unlikely they knew the North Garden property would turn into one of the more respected vintage apple farms in Appalachia. With 20 fruit trees as the original orchard, two of their children, Charlotte and Chuck, took the site next level after attending several heirloom apple tastings conducted by apple legend Tom Burford.
The Bramley apple variety is a rarity in North America. Almost exclusive to the United Kingdom with a storied history of its own (the original tree hails from accidental planting by a young girl), the apple is grown in minuscule counts here — something 1859 Cider Co. in Salem, Oregon, saw as a peerless opportunity to ferment.
Community is big in Portland, Oregon. The local food and drink movement here fuels much of the craft beverage machine, with the majority of beer drinkers consuming Oregon-made beers and Portland regularly listing in the top three cider-drinking cities in the United States. Bringing together local and beverage, the team at Cider Riot! is adding another collaboration to its catalog, the Lullaby of London.
Most young adults have no idea what they want to do with their lives until they hit their 30s and, even then, decisions are questioned. For Autumn Stoscheck, she was 21-years-old when she founded Eve’s Cidery. Tired of waiting tables and following her unlikely desire to prune apple trees for a living, she connected with sixth generation farmer James Cummins on his New York U-pick orchard and the cidery was born.
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.
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.
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.
Boy brews beer. Girl drinks cider. Boy meets girl, makes her cider and eventually wins her over. Now boy and girl make cider as Chicago’s first licensed cidery, Right Bee Cider. Tenured brewer Charlie Davis and cider enthusiast Katie Morgan launched their urban cidery in late 2014, providing the cider-happy city with its own apple tipple.
First things first: ^5 is pronounced “high five.” The nano cidery — based in Portland, Oregon — keeps it weird like its city is known for, with each limited production cider it makes donning an equally exclusive name. Such is the case with Your Princess is in Another Castle, a barrel-aged sour peach cider. In a proud feminist nod to the male dominant beverage industry (and also a Super Mario Bros.