Photo courtesy of Virtue Cider

Virtue Cider The Mitten

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. Co-founder Greg Hall and team have expanded their course of study to include ciders like Obion (a collaboration with Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky) and a kriek-style co-fermented cherry cider in the Orchard Series, all in addition to well-known staples like The Mitten.

One of the latest forays into 12-ounce four-packs for retail, The Mitten is a tale of two harvests. The cider is a blend of Michigan apples pressed, fermented and aged in bourbon barrels for up to one year, then back-sweetened with the most recent harvest’s sweet juice. Though typically described as a “winter blend,” this toasty, warming, vanilla-hued cider can be just as pleasing on a spring back porch too. Overripe apples, dashes of baking spices and apple skin develop into abundant acid and structural grip on the dry and broad palate.