Lost Valley Cider Co.
Photography by Stephanie Bartz
Hard cider makes up
the fastest growing category in booze, but considering it makes up
only a little more than 1 percent of liquor sales, you’re forgiven
if you don’t know much about it. Here are five things you might not
know about hard cider, plus five places to enjoy it locally.
1. What’s old is new. While it may seem trendy, hard
cider is actually an old beverage, and it was the drink of choice
for the first settlers of our country (especially since regular old
H2O could be hazardous to your health!).
2. There’s more to Johnny Appleseed than what your
kindergarten teacher taught you: Old Johnny was planting trees
primarily for drinking, not eating.
3. Think you don’t like cider ’cause it’s
tooth-achingly sweet? Ask your trusty bartender for a different kind
because there are as many types of cider as there are craft beers.
Try brut, barrel-aged, ginger-infused — or try pear, blackberry,
4. If you’ve had a bad cider, you might not have had
cider at all. Some of the mass-produced ciders aren’t actually made
from apples — they’re made from imported concentrate and corn syrup,
with apple flavorings and essential oils added. “We call it fructose
wine,” says one cider aficionado.
5. Wisconsin has a burgeoning bunch of cider makers,
including Island Orchard Cider in Door County and Ela Cider Co. in
Rochester. “We’re a very small cider company that we have big dreams
for,” says Ela Cider Co. owner Sue Ela, who released the brewery’s
first cider last year with her late husband, Tom, and their
children, John and Julia. Ela’s two award-winning ciders, Stone Silo
and Barn Cat, are available on tap at Lost Valley Cider Co.
Interested in testing out the tart and tasty brew?
are five places to sip or buy hard cider
Lost Valley Cider
With more than 20 ciders on draft, plus dozens more
in bottles, Lost Valley provides an above-adequate primer on the
cider beer category. As the only cider tavern in town, Lost Valley
breaks down ciders into easily explorable categories like forward or
herbs and spice, and 2-ounce tastings make exploring even more fun.
408 W. Florida St., (414) 885-5678, lostvalley.com
Want some cheese with your cider? “Cheddars are
absolutely fabulous with ciders, and lavender ciders (like Island
Orchard’s) go great with Driftless lavender honey (cheese),” says
Patty Peterson, manager of Larry’s Market. 8737 N. Deerwood Drive,
(414) 355-9650, larrysmarket.com
G. Groppi Food
Market and Louie’s Coop
Pull up a seat at the tiny, in-deli bar, Louie’s
Coop, or take a bottle to go. The market packs a selection of
interesting ciders from around the country — and the world too. 1441
E. Russell Ave., (414) 747-9012, ggroppifoodmarket.com
Urban Bay View
This cozy corner tap offers ciders on draft, and
happy hour runs Monday through Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m. Urban is
owned by Paul Jonas, the man behind nearby Tonic Tavern. 2301 S.
Logan Ave., (414) 509-8732, urbanbayview.com
World of Beer
Two ciders are always on draft, and anywhere from 30
to 40 additional varieties are available by the bottle. Bottles are
frequently swapped out, with new ciders available every week. 418 N.
Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, (262) 770-3902, worldofbeer.com/Locations/Wauwatosa