— Sociable Cider Werks (@SociableCider) August 12, 2016
When Lift Bridge first brewed their Mini Donut Beer for the Minnesota State Fair a few years back, they set off a chain reaction among Minnesota breweries that has since spawned beers like Flat Earth’s S’mores Porter and Excelsior’s Maple Bacon Brown Ale. This year, Sociable Cider Werks is debuting their Sociable Caramel Apple at Giggles’ Campfire Grill.
When developing the concoction, Sociable co-owner Jim Watkins turned to an old friend in Nils Rowland, owner of Crème de la Cocoa in Jacksonville. “He’s one of the best confectioners in the southeast,” says Watkins.
Since he prides himself on making dry ciders at Sociable, Watkins’ challenge to Rowland was to help him find a way to incorporate caramel into the cider without making it too sweet.
The method they settled on was cooking sugar down into caramel and then making it into a simple syrup using apple juice. Watkins chose this route because he didn’t want to add a potential allergen to the mix in heavy cream, which is traditionally an ingredient in caramel. “I had to figure out how to get this [caramel] into a cider. And caramel turns rock hard if you let it sit,” says Watkins.
After the cider ferments, they add the simple syrup on the back end for some subtle sweetness. The 6% ABV Sociable Caramel Apple will be served exclusively at Giggles’ Campfire Grill, garnished with an apple slice drizzled with caramel.
Sociable’s creation is not to be confused with Freehouse’s Caramel Apple π, which is a beer brewed with caramel and apple cider available at The Blue Barn.