Making Hard Cider from Apples is Becoming Very Popular in the Twin Cities
The cider-making industry in Minnesota is just over eight years old, and it’s growing in popularity. More people are becoming interested in making hard cider from apples, and so many new cideries are popping up all over Minnesota. In 2016, the Minnesota Cider Guild was formed with its sole mission of educating Minnesotans about craft cider.
Typically a cidery is divided into one of two categories, traditional and modern. Traditional cideries focus on apple varieties and fermentation, whereas modern cideries focus more on combining common eating apples with fruits, hops, spices, and herbs. This year, I was able to visit a few cideries around Minnesota and they have definitely piqued my interest.
Meeting the Founders of Number 12 Cider
Learning How Hard Cider is Made
Steve and Colin use a combination of cider and dessert apples from a variety of orchards, both in Minnesota and out of state. They are also keenly focused on the fermentation process for the final flavor. While on the tour, I sipped Fred, which is a limited cider they’re currently offering. Its dry tropical notes with a hint of banana and a floral essence made it refreshing, light, and delicious. The apples used to make Fred are 100% champagne apples from Dixon Orchards in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
For a more in-depth explanation of the brewing and fermentation process, check out the Number 12 Cider YouTube channel where Steve and Colin walk you through a step-by-step process.
Picking Which Ciders to Taste
Their website does a great job describing the vast variety of flavors that can be found in their ciders. They describe some as having stone minerality, hints of hay, maple, apricot, watermelon rind, grilled peach, and one is even described as soul-warming. If you’re like me and cideries are new for you, their detailed descriptions will really help guide you in making a decision. After the tour, I got a flight so I could taste several options. The bartender helped me make my decision by talking through a variety of options, and sharing what he most enjoys.
Grab a Pizza and Sit by the Fire
Number 12 Cider is a great spot to visit anytime. Even during COVID restrictions and social distancing limitations, they can safely fit 100 people inside. They also have a nice outdoor patio space with fires and heated lamps. And they even have a pizza truck onsite. I had a Margherita pizza and it was so good!
Note: Governor Walz announced new COVID restrictions this week. They are always changing so be sure to stay updated in case indoor dining is not an option. You can still support local businesses by sitting outside or getting take-out at many places. Number 12 Cider also sells cans of their cider, so you can grab cans and pizza to go.
Support Local Businesses
I used to think ciders were all very sweet and similar to each other. But I’m learning that they are much like beer and wine in the sense that there is a huge variety of options when it comes to hops, the flavor combinations from herbs and fruits, as well as how sweet or dry cider can be.
Getting a behind-the-scenes tour and learning how Steve and Colin make hard cider with apples on-site was so cool. I loved hearing firsthand how thoughtfully they plan each step of the process. It’s clear that they have a passion for the hard cider process. While their business is new and businesses are experiencing a very difficult year due to COVID, I have a feeling they will be here for a long time. With great ciders, excellent pizza made on-site and a really cool indoor and outdoor space, Number 12 Cider is definitely a place I will be revisiting.