Our favorite beer bars are getting wise to the national trend. There, on the drink lists, among a litany of IPAs and Belgians, you’ll increasingly find dedicated selections of hard cider, giving us a chance to expand our craft palates.
These places include both Republic locations, which comprise two of the four Metro locations currently offering taps from Sweetland Orchard of Webster, MN. We tasted their Sweet Scrumpy at Calhoun Square (above). The deep golden colored cider isn’t as “sweet” as the name suggests. Rather, it’s a lush, full-tasting sip, a tad off-dry, with a touch of tannin on the finish. It also has a complimentary tartness keeping the sip balanced throughout.
Mike and Gretchen Perbix are going on their fourth season of hard cider production at Sweetland, and the numbers look encouraging. Gretchen tells us the volume they’re looking at for the 2014 harvest is around 10,000 gallons, nearly seven times the volume of the 2013 crop which is currently what you’ll find in bottles and kegs.
Their Scrumpy Original and Scrumpy Sweet are made mostly from dessert apples – lots of haralsons, honeycrisps and SweeTangos. They’re sourcing a fair amount of juice from Pepin Heights, as well as orchards in Michigan, and now use their own orchard stock for unpasteurized cider and hard cider R&D.
Find 750ml bottles of Sweetland’s Northern Spy and Scrumpy Gold ciders at Stinson WBS, France 44, The Wine Thief/Ale Jail, and most likely Zipp’s by week’s end.