Vander Mill Cider is Michigan's largest craft cider producer, and you'll have a chance this week to try several of its wares. Actually many chances, as founder Paul Vander Heide will be in town for a series of events this week. He'll be at Sheffield's on Wednesday, and Bangers & Lace on Thursday, both events including special cider-focused menu items to go with the ciders he's bringing. Then he'll be pouring at Beercade on Friday, before attending the Cider Summit at Navy Pier this weekend. See the list of what he's bringing to town below.
• Chapmans Blend (6.8% ABV) - Made from a variety of American heritage apples that all come from Michigan and boast over 200 years of history in the U.S., including Winesap, Baldwin, Northern Spy and Jonathan. These apples offer subtleties to cider that are not possible with more dessert-like varieties. They are often more acidic and carry more tannin through to the juice. This is a semi-dry cider with a clean fruit flavor and slight carbonation, pouring a light gold color. The aroma has rich apple notes, slightly tart -, with the flavor of ripe apple front and a bit of tartness on the finish.
• Totally Roasted (6.9% ABV) - Beginning with our traditional hard apple cider we then steep candied pecans. We make our own cinnamon roasted pecans that bring vanilla, cinnamon, and a nuttyness to this product that makes it a truly unique cider. Totally Roasted is semi-sweet with a tart finish.
• Blue Gold (6.9% ABV) - This semi-sweet cider has a very well balance of sweetness and acidity. We use our traditional cider as a base and blend in blueberries. This gives Blue Gold its deep and rich color. A very approachable cider for the novice, and refreshing for all.
• Founders Keepers (8.5% ABV) - Founders Keepers is a cyser which is technically a mead. We ferment Michigan wild flower honey with cider to create a rich and complex product. The cyser then ages in Founders Backwoods Bastard barrels for 8-10 months giving it additional barrel complexity.
• Dirty Jim (6.9% ABV) - True to English style guidelines, this cider was fermented with wild yeast. The nose is unmistakably that of a barnyard, with a more complex mouthfeel than other American ciders. The apples used provide more tannin to the pallet. The funk on this one is an acquired taste. A limited release wild yeast-fermented English-style cider.