I’ve never been much of a drinker. And I can’t stand the taste of beer. But on hot summer days, I will reach for a cold hard cider.
Real old fashioned hard cider. Not a malt beverage. Fermented apple juice.
From the colonial era through the Prohibition, apple cider was an integral part of the American diet. In the early 1800s, some have estimated that Americans consumed as much as 35 gallons a year per capita. Temperance movements reduced some of that, but up to the Prohibition it remained a staple, particularly in rural America. The Prohibition killed the industry. Since orchards could no not make alcoholic cider, they switched from cider apples to “eating” apples and the industry never recovered—even after Prohibition was repealed.
For a long time, the only hard cider I could find was either an English or Irish import or the ubiquitous Woodchuck. Recently, however, I see more varieties appearing on store shelves.
One of those is J.K.‘s Scrumpy Hard Cider. It’s hand crafted at Almar Orchard in Flushing, Michigan, but has national (and international) distributors.
The taste is crisp, sightly sweet and very refreshing. The taste of apple really comes through and there’s just a bit of tartness. The carbonation is just right—not too bubbly but still fun. It’s probably my favorite cider at this point. I’m going to get a few more bottles and stash them in a cool corner of the basement.
J.K.‘s Scrumpy is one of the few hard ciders I’ve found that’s produced in Michigan. I find that surprising, because a major autumn tradition here consists of trips to mills (some more than 100 years old) for cider and donuts. People line up by the hundreds at places like the Dexter Cider Mill.
When I get my thirty in teaching, one of my post retirement fantasies is to run a hard cider brewery.