Leelanau News and Events

Hot Off The Apple Press: New Leelanau Releases For Cider Season

By Jillian Manning | Sept. 25, 2022

Right now, Leelanau County cideries are hard at work harvesting apples and getting all that magical fermentation going, plus announcing carefully aged concoctions and on-tap-only batches that are packed with flavor. Grab your growler and your favorite drinking buddy—many of these fall flavors could be gone by the time the leaves drop.

A small taste of what’s new:

What makes this cider special?
 In late summer and early fall, we all notice the large red berry clusters on the sumac that grows along the roadways. This panicle of berries is actually edible! Native staghorn sumac tastes wonderful when infused into the cider. The taste reminds us of passion fruit, and it has a passionately red/orange color like pomegranate. We experimented last fall with a small batch, and it was so well received we are putting it on the menu in full force.

What are some of the key ingredients? Staghorn sumac berries

How is it made? We specialize in using locally grown apples and locally harvested herbs and spices to enhance the unique flavors in our hard apple cider. The fresh sumac is placed into an infusion sock and steeped for several weeks to impart the most flavor.

When can people enjoy it? It will be available on tap throughout the fall. And because it’s one of our favorites, we are going to create some concentrated sumac to use throughout the winter and spring.

What makes this cider special?
 Strawberry Jam is super special because we used local strawberries and made a relatively small batch. We also rarely make ciders that include fruit other than apples.

What are some of the key ingredients? 500 pounds of local strawberries from Bardenhagen Berries and a McIntosh-heavy blend of apples, with some Rhode Island Greening and Northern Spy

How is it made? We co-fermented 500 pounds of strawberries with apple juice until it reached 4.5 percent residual sugar. The filtering process removed much of the pink color, but the strawberry flavor and aroma is very pronounced.

When can people enjoy it? It has been five-plus years since our last batch of Strawberry Jam. Strawberry Jam is currently on tap at Tandem’s tasting room. We did a limited bottle run for our Cider Club Summer release, and bottles will also be available at the tasting room soon. Hansen Foods of Suttons Bay is also carrying bottles in a very limited supply.

Also just in: Two K Farms cider-mavens say their Russet cider (pictured, left) is going to be your go to beverage this fall. It is made from heritage russeted apples grown on the farm and is bursting with pear and banana notes, with bright acidity. Pick up a six-pack in the tasting room, or if you can’t make it to the farm, order online.


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