Hard Cider Newsletter


Featured Cidery: Possmann

The World Cup provided its viewers with excitement and entertainment all to be capped off with the Germans as the champions. Since then, the buzz has died down, so what a better way to pick it back up then to feature Germany’s premier hard cider: Possmann!

It started circa 1881 with Phillip Possmann, an experienced vintner from Laubenheim, Germany who moved to Frankfurt and began producing his own apple wine. Possman would make the apple wine at his Inn in Rödelheim and then supply the surrounding inns with his tasty concoction, which lead to a boom in business. By the 1930’s and business growing rapidly, Possman began to produce his own style of apple juice. The story continues to grow today as Possmann’s is the leader in the production of apple wine, apple juice, and hard cider in all of Germany. Their apple wine, known as Possmann’s Äpfelwein, is the number one apple wine in Germany. In its fifth generation, Possmann now has over 80 employees and produces 20 million litres a year.

While Äpfelwein remains at the heart of apple wine country and was dubbed the “fuel of Frankfurt” by World Traveler Magazine, Possmann saw a great opportunity with the growth of the hard cider industry in the United States and knew he had to capitalize - thus giving us Possmann Pure Cider. While apple wine has a stronger, mustier feel and taste to it; Possmann’s Pure Cider has a lighter body with fruit forward sweetness and a nice, dry finish. More impressively, Possmann’s holds very similar morals in its production today as it did in the 1800s. For example, Possmann’s apples are never corporately grown. Every apple comes from one of the small, family farms located in the Hessen region around Frankfurt. At 5% ABV, Possmann’s Pure offers equal or less calories than most other brands and has a lighter body with only 10g of sugar. It pairs great with just about all white meat, such as chicken, fish, and pork.

In June 2014, Possmann’s signed a deal with New Jersey based distributors Niche Import Company , making Possmann’s Pure Cider the only imported German hard cider in the U.S. “We are very excited to be working with Possmann,” said Matthew Nelson, Northeast Director of Sales for Niche, “German hard cider is pretty much non-existent, there is no other German hard cider like this. It’s incredible.”

Possmann plans to continue to grow its hard cider portfolio by introducing some new flavors, such as Rosé, Black Current, and a Mulled Apple, which could be served either hot or cold. Niche Import Co. will carry Possmann’s other products such as their apple juice and their famous apple wine, as well. Possmann Pure Cider is a must-try if you have not already. Pick up a bottle at your local liquor store or ask for it at your local bar.  To learn more about Possmann Pure Cider or for availability, please visit Possmann.com or OurNiche.com. Prost!

Contributed by: Patrick Esposito


2 Towns Ciderhouse Releases a New Seasonal and a Limited Release Cider

For your summer enjoyment, 2 Towns Ciderhouse has released the Rhubarbarian, a summer seasonal, and ‘Cot In The Act, a limited release, both available now. Like all 2 Towns Ciderhouse ciders, they are both made with 100% Northwest apples with no added sugar or essence flavoring, and are naturally gluten-free.

The Rhubarbarian is 2 Towns Ciderhouse’s most “savage” summer seasonal. Tangy, wild and not for the faint of heart, the Rhubarbarian is a fearsome hard cider made with 100% fresh-pressed Northwest rhubarb and apples. With 6% ABV and a sour bite that pairs perfectly with everything from a fresh garden salad to a t-bone steak, this is the perfect cider for backyard barbeques, river floats and simply sitting on the front porch.

‘Cot In The Act, a cider for the dog days of summer, is an apricot-apple cider that is the latest installment in the 2 Towns Ciderhouse line of limited release ciders – a series of small batch ciders that are unlikely to be repeated, all for the sake of discovery and experimentation. The previous limited release ciders include Hop & Stalk and Cidre Moscato.

‘Cot In The Act boasts a deep golden hue and a ripe stone fruit nose. It has a 6% ABV and is packed with 50 pounds of apricot per barrel. Although sweet on the nose, the dry taste profile pairs perfectly with Mexican cuisine, specifically fish tacos, and other spicy fare.

Both ciders are available at the 2 Towns Ciderhouse Tap Room and through select distributors in 500 mL bottles and 1/6 and ½ bbl kegs.  Rhubarbarian will also be available in 12oz cans, and can be found specifically in Oregon, Washington and California. ‘Cot In The Act will have approximately 1,300 cases limitedly distributed to Oregon, Washington, California and Minnesota.

For more information on these ciders and all things 2 Towns Ciderhouse, visit 2TownsCiderhouse.com.


Original Sin Cider Launches National Poster Contest

Original Sin, the unique and independent craft producer of award-winning hard ciders, is seeking iconic, sexy and empowered women from across the country to participate in the Original Sin Pin-up Poster Model Contest starting this summer.

The pin-up contest will take place in popular bars in five cities across the United States. The search gets underway at the 16-Bit Bar in Columbus, OH on August 21. Other stops include Sheffield’s in Chicago, IL (August 26), Rock & Roll Hotel in Washington, DC (September 2), Beauty Bar in New York, NY (September 9), and Whip-in in Austin, TX (September 16).

“We are looking for memorable, artistic and independent women who reflect our commitment to creativity and boldness,” said Gidon Coll, Founder and President of Original Sin Cider.

The tour celebrates the company’s own grassroots origins with the theme of welcoming all. There is no entry fee. Interested contestants should simply sign-up online at OrigSin.com.

Each city’s contest winner will be immortalized in the distinctive pin-up style of celebrated underground artist R. Black in a one-of-a-kind Original Sin Cider poster. R. Black will participate as a judge at all five venues, along with local nightlife personalities.

To see past Original Sin/R. Black posters and obtain further information, visit OrigSin.com.


Hazlitt Enters Hard Cider Market

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards broke into the US hard apple cider market this past June with Hazlitt’s Cider Tree. At 6.6% ABV, Cider Tree will be available in four packs of 12-ounce bottles and single 750mL bottles at liquor, grocery and convenient stores. There is high anticipation that Cider Tree will be available nationally as demand for the product increases.

“Distributors in states across the country have expressed interest in Cider Tree. Deliveries have already been made to Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina. It’s an exciting time for Hazlitt,” said Dave Fitch, Sales Manager for Cider Tree.

Cider Tree is expected to ship out to Texas shortly and, hopefully, Pennsylvania thereafter. Of course the cider is also available at Hazlitt’s tasting room and in the winery’s home state of New York. Plus, Cider Tree can be purchased online and shipped to select states.

Helping with distribution throughout New York state, John Potter of Seneca Beverage, says, “Cider Tree is truly a local product. The bottle is made in Elmira, the packaging in Elmira and Victor, the apples are grown in Geneva, and the labels are from Norwich. It’s thrilling to be able to provide the local market with a product that is actually handcrafted in their own backyard.”

Brad Phillips, Hazlitt’s Director of Marketing, continued to say, “Cider Tree is ‘honest of the core’ in that it is real, authentically New York, and sustainable.” These qualities are important to Hazlitt since the decision to produce Cider Tree was done to make a beverage representative of New York. Hazlitt already works with the highly acclaimed grapes that are grown in New York for wine; why not make hard cider from the well known ‘big apple’ trees.

Hazlitt’s wine maker uses the same methodology used to make wine to make cider. Hazlitt’s General Manager, Dan DeBell, explained, “The cider is made in really three steps – picking, pressing, and fermentation. Cider Tree is a blend of McIntosh, Northern Spy, Spigold, Jonagold, Crispin, Empire and Golden Delicious apples all from local Red Jacket Orchards. Once those apples are picked and pressed, we ferment the juice with champagne yeast never adding sugar, essence, or anything else. The result is a naturally gluten-free hard cider that is clean and refreshing.”

Phillips noted, “When you take a sip of Cider Tree, it tastes like biting into a McIntosh apple where after you have chewed and swallowed the apple you are left with a mouthwatering juice flavor throughout your mouth.” Cider Tree is a semi-dry premium sparkling cider.

“Everyone I share Cider Tree with instantly enjoys it. I’m pleased to offer a product that appeals to such a large variety of consumers,” said Co-CEO Doug Hazlitt. Doug was responsible for noticing a need in the marketplace for a cider different from others on the shelves and making the decision to diversify Hazlitt’s products.

For additional information on Hazlitt’s Cider Tree, availability or to purchase a bottle, please visit Hazlitt1852.com.


Thinking Outside the Orchard: Millstone Cellars

As the hard cider industry continues to flourish, many cidermakers are constantly looking for new ways to make their craft stand out from the rest. The father-son tandem of Curt Sherrer and Kyle Sherrer from Millstone Cellars located in Monkton, Maryland are aiming to set them apart by implementing Old World methods to their creative juices. Curt went to UC Davis for Viticulture and Winemaking and is the head fermentologist, while Kyle studied finance and takes care of all the business and marketing for Millstone.  

“I was inspired by the creativity ciders and meads offer. We experiment with a wide variety of ingredients crafting unique flavors and tastes to explore,” said Curt on the process that goes into cider and mead making. The Sherrers’ both saw cider as a growing industry, and being only one of three cideries in Maryland, they knew they could make a great local beverage stand out.

The cidery is based out of the refurbished Monkton Mill, and is considered a ‘farmhouse cidery’ as they bring in all of their juice unpasteurized. They ferment and age in oak barrels, and do not sulfite until bottling. This allows the native yeast and bacteria to influence the cider.

“We like to think we are pushing the craft forward by looking to the past for a process but then adding our own signature taking cues from the craft beer industry, international cidermaking, and winemaking,” said Kyle.

All of Millstone’s ingredients are sourced within 150 miles so the majority of their products are seasonal based on what the local farms can produce.

Millstone’s staple ciders include:

  • Farmgate (8.0% ABV) – An American Traditional Cider with a blend of six American heirloom apple varietals aged in oak for eight months and bottle-conditioned using freeze-distilled apple juice from our ice house. The Farmgate pairs well with lobster bisque, funky cheeses, and braised pork shoulder.

  • Hopvine (8.0% ABV) – Dry hopped for two months using cascade hops from a local hop farm before bottle conditioning with wildflower honey. This tastes excellent with an artichoke and pepper pizza.

  • Gingeroot (8.0% ABV) – Organic baby ginger is aged for three months in a barrel over the winter months with the cider before bottle conditioning with blueberry honey. Feel free to enjoy this with Thai curry, sushi, or vindaloo chicken.

Through trial and error with a varietal of apples and other ingredients, Millstone offers a number of delicious and envelope-pushing flavors to the growing industry as well, including:

  • Peach Cyser – Has 100% pressed peaches blended with 50% cider, and buckwheat and cranberry honey. It has nice, acidic qualities and is more of the Spanish variety, as opposed to British, which is more common. It pairs well with grilled or roasted chicken.

  • Blossom – A champagne style cider blended with honey carrying hints of floral that make it perfect for a nice, spring day and goes well with a fresh garden salad.

  • Springhouse – An aged cider in ginger and lavender springs which adds a nice touch of spice that can be enjoyed with a sushi roll.

Millstone is continuously growing as they are located in over 200 stores around the Maryland and D.C. area; and they hope to hit the New York market shortly. This year alone, they have produced over 250 oak barrels. While they may be one of the youngest cideries in the area, they are proving that with hard work, creativity, and risk-taking, anything is possible.

Try a Millstone cider out at the Millstone Cellars tasting room located at 2029 Monktown Rd. in Monktown, MD. Their tasting room hours are 12pm-6pm on Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit their website at MillstoneCellars.com or call 443-470-9818. Photos courtesy of Millstone Cellars and Starfish Junction Productions.

Contributed by: Patrick Esposito


Argus Cidery Launches Tepache Especial, a Wild Fermented Pineapple Wine

Argus Cidery has launched its first batch of Tepache Especial, a wild fermented, sparkling pineapple wine, in 750 ml bottles weighing in at 7.2% ABV, available in Texas, Arkansas and South Carolina (with other states to follow). After owner and winemaker Wes Mickel came across Tepache, a popular pineapple fermentable indigenous to Central America and Mexican tradition, he found an audience in Jesus Olivares, Mickel’s Austin-based insurance agent, hailing from Mexico City. Olivares’ encouragement, “to definitely make Tepache” inspired Mickel to put the beverage into R&D around 18 months ago and recently into production.

A variation on traditional Tepache technique, which is made using the flesh and rind of pineapple sweetened by sugar and spices, Argus Cidery’s version is made utilizing a controlled fermentation process – allowing wild yeasts and bacteria time to contribute their flavor profiles (the traditional way) and then coming in with lab strains to clean up the nose on the end. Instead of adding spices, Mickel attributes the light spice found on the nose to a house blend of French oak. The result is a new take on traditional Tepache, featuring a flavor profile of straightforward pineapple and citrus notes, with a mineral, and some would even say, salty finish.

“Our apple program is based on the best possible fruit we can find, and currently, we are reliant on small growers in Texas for our fruit. But over the last few years, the Texas apple yields have been very low due to poor growing conditions and other unforeseen circumstances. So instead of expanding our apple program by other practices and techniques that go against our principles and standards, we chose to look into another fermentable. Tepache provides a way for us to deliver a product year-round without compromising cloying sweetness in a production style more similar to making commercial ciders,” says Mickel on his Tepache.

The pineapple used for the Especial is a fair trade, 100 percent organic Cayenne varietal. This refined sparkling pineapple wine is recommended served chilled in a glass, or over ice. Tepache Especial retails at around $10 a bottle and can be found in major grocery and liquor stores, along with select bars and restaurants in Texas, Arkansas and South Carolina, or online at SpecsOnline.com.

As far as apple ciders go, Argus Cidery will launch two new sparkling varietals later this fall/holiday season. For further information, please visit ArgusCidery.com.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Cornish Game Hens in Blueberry BBQ Sauce
From Bakeaholic Mama

Smoky Apple Cider Cocktail
From Tasteseekers Kitchen

Photo Credit: Carrie Burrill of Bakeaholic Mam

Photo Credit: Jen Kalinowski of Tasteseekers Kitchen