When it comes to apples, Minnesota knows its stuff. Home of the Honeycrisp, Minnesota proudly boasted its apple knowledge at the Minnesota Cider Guild's 6th annual Minnesota Cider Fest on Saturday, June 8. With more than 30 local, national and international cideries, the Minnesota Cider Fest offered samples of endless flavors of cider, and for the cider connoisseur, education sessions to test your apple knowledge.
Guests were encouraged to take a big sniff of each cider sample, smelling for botanicals and spices, ranging from cinnamon to lavender; citrus, including lemon and grapefruit; earthy, with grassy and oaky notes; fruity, with berry and melon; sweet, like caramel and honey; tannins, for a bitter and dry flavor; and tart, for fans of acidity. For designated drivers and guests who weren't consuming hard cider, nonalcoholic options were available, including ginger beer and root beer from Superior Switchel, Spruce Soda Co. and Glewwe's Castle Brewery.Spruce Soda Co. offered a range of flavored sodas and ginger beers. Glewwe's Castle Brewery welcomed sober guests with a root beer booth.
Cideries from around the world set up booths of classic ciders, sparkling ciders, pear ciders, gin ciders and more. International vendors included Apsall and Dunkertons Ciders from England, Isastegi, Mayador Ciders and Trabanco from Spain, and Eric Bordelet, Le Brun Ciders, Cider Rhuys and Panache from France. Representing the Pacific Northwest were 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Alter Ego Cider and Schilling Hard Cider from Oregon, as well as Seattle Cider Company. East Coast favorites included Angry Orchard from New York and Shacksbury Cider from Vermont. Michigan's Uncle John's Cider Mill and Virtue Cider also were in attendance. Closer to home, Wild Terra Cider and Brewing joined the festival from North Dakota.Uncle John's Cider Mill incorporated more than just apples into its cider.
Though guests enjoyed sampling ciders from other parts of the country and world, Minnesota ciders were a clear crowd favorite. These included: Duluth Cider, Duluth; Falconer Vineyards Winery and Cidery, Red Wing; Hoch Orchard Hard Cider, La Crescent; Keepsake Cidery, Dundas; Loon Juice, Spring Valley; Milk & Honey Ciders, Saint Joseph; Minneapolis Cider Company, Minneapolis; Number 12 Cider, Minneapolis; Painter Creek Winery & Cidery, Minnetrista; Sapsucker Farms Yellow Belly Cidery, Mora; Sponsel's Minnesota Harvest, Jordan; Sweetland Orchard, Webster; Thor's Hard Cider, Stillwater; Urban Forage Winery and Cider House, Minneapolis; and Wild State Cider, Duluth.Lavender lemon lift and honey cinnamon kick ciders from Superior Switchel. Loon Juice's "Grow a Pear" cider.