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Tart and Tasty
Five things you may not know about hard cider


December 2016


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, mango.

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?
Here are five places to sip or buy hard cider

Lost Valley Cider Co.

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,


Larry’s Market

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,


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, 


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,


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,


This story ran in the December 2016 issue of: