The cumulation of Grand Rapids first ever Cider Week ended with a Festival held at a location just as iconic as the Michigan apples our (many, many) ciders are made of—the Grand Rapids Blue Bridge.
The Cider Week GR Blue Bridge Festival was held on Saturday, April 22nd from 2:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m., complete with live music, over 15 different Michigan cider makers, and a steady stream of sunshine and laughter.
The Michigan Cider Association, formed in December of 2014, exists to “provide short- and long-term significance and value to all members through the promotion and support of Michigan cider.” Michigan boasts the second highest number of US cider producers in the US, and the industry as a whole is expected to continue to grow.
With a venue just as unique as the cider companies representing Michigan Cider, the Blue Bridge was a perfect spot to mingle and enjoy the beautiful weather. Attendance was most likely higher than initially anticipated, and for good reason. For $25, attendees got to take home a commemorative glass and try ten 8oz pours of a wide variety of ciders from across our state.
There seems to be a strong trend towards actually tasting the sweetness of the apples itself, without artificially (and overly) enhancing the natural sugars present. I was pleased to be able to try a variety of dry and semi-dry ciders from companies like Acme Cider. David Winick & Lori Tauer started Acme for a simple reason—they couldn’t find any mass produced ciders they actually liked. “People who drank our ciders said they loved it, so we decided to impart on the business part of it. We recently got our license, and we will be building out production, and this is the first event we’ve distributed out of,” shared Tauer
“Our ciders are full of love,” laughed Winick, “We spent a lot of time creating a dry cider with a good balance, and some depth to it. You know, if it pleases us, we feel it’s going to please other people, and that’s the bottom line. That’s why we do it.”
Farmhaus Cider co-owner, John Behrens, made it a point to treat attendees to one-offs and unique, summer-centric beverages. “We brought a bunch of different ciders we don’t usually distribute, like our Hop Crop, (a dry hopped cider with a big, bold mouthfeel) and our Too Cuc, a cucumber rosemary cider, perfect for sitting out on a patio—or a bridge.”
The style of ciders ran the gamut, from the Tequila Sunset Cider, a tequila barrel aged w/ blood orange offering from Acme to Cellarman’s Coffee Cider, made with Ethiopian Limu Coffee and Star Thistle Honey.
As a first year event, it seemed to be a success for both the attendees and the cideries offering their beverages. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, make sure you seek out some of the Michigan made ciders distributed throughout the state.
Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill, The Peoples Cider Co., Vander Mill, Pux Cider, Farmhaus Cider Co., Tandem Ciders, Blake’s Hard Cider Co.,Northville Winery and Brewing Company, St. Julian Winery, 45 North Vineyard & Winery, Starcut Ciders, Virtue Cider, Uncle John’s Cider Mill (Official Page), Suttons Bay Ciders, Corey Lake Orchards, Robinette’s, Cherry Creek Winery , Acme Cider