Summer is not just wine time for me, it is also cider time. I only developed a soft spot for ciders in my 20s which is kind of curious because I grew up just 40 minutes West of Frankfurt, which is Germany’s cider capital (cider is called “Ebbelwoi” in the dialect of the region). I guess it is the fact that Frankfurt is on the “wrong” side of the Rhine (everything that is on the right bank of the river is considered the wrong side by people who live or grew up on the left bank of the river) that made me never dive into its apple wine culture. I also always loved “Apfelschorle”, which is mixture of apple juice and sparkling water, very refreshing when it is hot. Trier, where I lived for a long time, boasts its own culture of apple wine called “Viez”. Usually drier than the Frankfurt stuff, this mixes well with sparkling water or lemonade…
A friend of ours brought some of this Michigan cider to our place the other night. J.K.’s Scrumpy Hard Cider is a USDA certified organic cider. The bottle claims that the cider is fermented naturally in small artisanal batches from apples harvested at Koan Family Orchards in Flushing, MI. The company boasts its history (since 1860), and states that the recipe is unchanged since the great depression.
The cider was of a honeyish, brown color; quite darker than I know ciders. That was definitely a surprise. The first taste I got was pretty sweet. It gave you a good mouthful of cider, the texture being rather thick. It tasted strongly of yellow apples, with honey notes towards the end.
For my taste, Scrumpy was too sweet and too heavy to be truly refreshing in summer heat. I am just looking for lighter refreshment these days. But I can imagine this one going down much better as the later fall days arrive…and be a really nice drink when the cold Michigan winters reach us.