Sietsema Traditional Dry Hard Cider

Review of Sietsema’s Traditional Dry Hard Cider, from Michigan.  Its the first time I’ve tried their cider.

Cider:  Traditional Dry Hard Cider
Cidery:  Sietsema
Cidery Location:  Ada Michigan
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles (and cans)
Style:  American farmhouse-style craft cider made from heirloom apples, fermented with champagne yeast

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Availability:  Only in Michigan

Cider Description:  Our take on the traditional American cider. We use champagne yeast to give our Yellow Label a carbonated kick, resulting in a full-bodied beverage that is dry, tart and just a little sweet.

Cidery Description:  Before founding Sietsema Orchard & Cider Mill on the ourskirts of Grand Rapids Michigan, Jerry Sietsema Sr. was in real estate. The year was 1934, and the Country and the state of Michigan was in the middle of the Great Depression. Jerry Sietsema Sr., decided to go out on a limb and start his own family farm and orchard where once was the countryside of Grand Rapids Michigan. He purchased some land at Knapp and the East Beltline. The land and homestead once owned by a minister and his wife, which where part of the Underground Rail Road. He knew the land would be great for planting an orchard on. It was located far enough out of town, and high enough elevation to help prevent the apple blossoms from freezing in the late spring.

Jerry Sietsema Sr. operated his orchard and family farm from the Grand Rapids location from 1934 to 1995. After that time Sietsema Orchards moved to 8540 2 Mile Road in Ada Michigan, where it resides today. Although the farm was fully operational and proving to be a success, the goods produced were sold on mainly a wholesale level to a Grand Rapids area packing house. Beginning in, 2010, we decided to expand our business and our dream. This is where the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation of Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill hope to thrive and grow. We are committed to providing quality produce, and by opening our doors to the public, providing a family farm experience that we hope you enjoy here in West Michigan.

Price:  n/a (tetails for &12.99; a friend brought this to a cider tasting dinner)
Where Bought:  n/a (she got it from a trade from Michigan)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Hazy light straw yellow.  Low carbonation with foam.  Smells sour, of citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied with a frothy texture.  Low tartness.  High acidity.  Moderate sourness.  Mild funk.  No bitterness or tannins.  Notes of lemon, grapefruit, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I didn’t really care for this, as I don’t like sourness and funk.  My friends who enjoy this style of cider better than I do thought it was average, a bit too mild.

Most Similar to:  Farmhouse-style cider, or lighter version of Spanish Sidra.  This had a similar profile to Angry Orchard Walden Hollow and Millstone Cellars Farmgate Dry.

Closing Notes:   It was nice to try this cider, but I’m glad it wasn’t something I bought. It would pair very well with food as its so mild.

Have you tried Sietsema Traditional Dry Hard Cider?  What did you think?

Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, Traditional Dry, Elderflower, Summer Honey, Iceman, & The Muse

This is a mini review of the Angry Orchard ciders I’ve tried.  To be honest, I’m not a big of a fan of Angry Orchard…I much prefer Woodchuck in general.  Unfortunately, Angry Orchard is all there is to be had at many restaurants & bars, and is what you see at just about every grocery & liquor store.  As of last year, Angry Orchard had a 56.8% market share in the hard cider category (compared to 10.5% for Woodchuck, the second most popular brand), despite only being released nationwide in 2012.  Before Angry Orchard, Woodchuck was the market leader.

Crisp Apple: This is their most popular variety, and found everywhere.  It is quite sweet…I think moreso than Woodchuck Amber.  The flavor to me is a bit syrupy and fake tasting.  I won’t drink it unless its free!

Traditional Dry: I like this variety much better then Crisp Apple, and still wouldn’t call it dry, or even semi-sweet.  Without so much sweetness a bit more true apple flavor comes through.  Unfortunately this one isn’t found in restaurants & bars like Crisp Apple is.

Elderflower: This was their summer release in 2014 (this year it is Summer Honey).  It was actually quite good & unique.  I would almost call this dry, but not quite.  It has an herbal/floral flavor.  Woodchuck Oopsy Daisy is the most similar, which I think I slightly prefer.

Summer Honey: This is their summer release this year.  I wasn’t a fan.  Again, the syrupy flavor, except this time, honey. I didn’t pick up any floral notes as were described. Its not quite as sweet as their Crisp Apple though.  Thankfully I only bought a single bottle.

Iceman: This is part of their Cider House Collection, and runs around $15 for a large 750ml bottle, 10% ABV.  It is a barrel aged ice cider (made from fermenting frozen apple juice concentrate).  I think even for ice cider it is a bit too sweet, a small glass after dinner is pretty tasty.  The flavor is quite good, with a mellow oakiness and some vanilla.  The bottle is also quite pretty (hey, that is what people notice!).  However, I think consumers can do better for the price, as there are a number of good craft ciders available for less money.  For folks who don’t have much craft cider availability in their area, and want to try something different, this could be a good choice though.

The Muse: This is part of their Cider House Collection, and runs around $15 for a large 750ml bottle, 7.7% ABV.  It is reminiscent of sweet sparking wine (highly carbonated).  Again, very sweet, but not quite as much as Iceman.  It is also barrel aged, but I don’t really taste it.  Apparently it has spices in it, but I also don’t pick that up.  I like it though, even if I can’t really identify the flavors.  As my cider palate has matured to like slightly less sweet ciders, I prefer this slightly more than Iceman for some reason (maybe the bubbles?).  Again though, I think better can be had for the money…plus I prefer to support local cideries instead of Angry Orchard wherever possible, which is owned by the Boston Beer Company.

Angry Orchard’s other varieties (which I haven’t tried):