Our cider starts with long-forgotten and uncommon apples such as Newtown Pippen, Northern Spy, Winesap, and a variety of Russets and Crabs. The apples are cold-stored until pressing time, then double washed and ground into pomace. The pomace is immediately pressed with a traditional rack and cloth press. Although this method is more labor intensive, it produces a ‘cleaner’ filtered juice while retaining a high yield.
Before fermentation, we measure sugar levels and acid concentration, among other parameters, to ensure the proper conditions for a clean fermentation.
We strive for a cooler, gently-rolling fermentation. This helps protect the aromatics and other delicate esters of our particular apple varieties. Within a few weeks, the fermentation is complete and the cider is dry. We rapidly cool the cider to allow the yeast to drop out and rack off the good stuff for cellaring.
We cellar our cider for 4-9 months, patiently waiting, allowing it to mature and clear naturally without filtration. Throughout this process the cider changes, sometimes noticeably within a few days time, and tasting is very important. When we're happy with the results, we'll blend to find a balance of acidity, body, and 'interesting'. We serve our cider lightly carbonated and dry to semi-dry.
Our cider is best served at a cellar temp of 50° F. We encourage our cider to be served in a bulbed glass to promote aromatics.
Currently in Trade:
2015 was a ‘garden year’ for our apple orchards. The 2015 Heirloom best exemplifies the growing season with tropical fruit aromas and a big mouthfeel. The usual Heirloom suspects, including Newtown Pippin, Winesap, and Chestnut, were blended with some new characters including Dabinett, Northern Spy and Wickson.
Single-varietal ice cider made from Minnesota’s own Chestnut Crab. Sweet and strong, this elixir is mellowed in bourbon barrels and best served after a nice dinner or on a cool spring night.
2015 Kingston Cuvée
The famous prima donna bittersharp, Kingston Black, coupled with Dabinett and Wickson, produces a highly interesting, off dry, tannic cider. Expect deep straw colors, lasting bitterness and notes of anise and wormwood.
2015 Grand Cru
English cider standbys Yarlington Mill and Dabinett, are blended with the sharp Wickson crab, to produce a quaffable cider with deep herbal notes and a satisfying mouth feel. Served lightly effervescent.
The Good Old Days (not in trade):
2014 Cider of the Woods
Cellared nearly 18 months, Ashton Bitter, Major and Crimson Gold form the backbone of this blend. A ripe apple nose compliment by hints of apricot, black tea and cream. Served bone dry.
A semi-dry cider made from American Heirloom and Cider Apples. Our cider from the 2014 harvest is a menagerie of long-forgotten and uncommon apples such as Calville Blanc d’ Hiver, Arkansas Black, Winesap, Russet Beauty, Crimson Gold and Ashton Bitter to name a few. It’s a highly aromatic cider. Expect floral, herbal, fruity esters, honey, and spices. It balances sharpness with subtle tannin and a mellow sweetness for a pleasant finish.
Our cider from the 2013 harvest was a blend of nearly 80 different cultivars with an emphasis Arkansas Black, Winesap, Newtown Pippin, Crimson Gold, and Chestnut Crab. The strong floral aromatics and sharpness made it an unforgettable inaugural release for Milk and Honey.