Monday, February 29, 2016

The Best of Cider Summit Chicago 2016

This year's annual Cider Summit at Navy Pier was bigger and better than ever, expanding to the second floor balcony with a selection of cider cocktails from The Northman, Woodford Reserve and Uncle John's. This year boasted 140 ciders with approximately 10 new Producers since last year's event. We found this year to be supremely enjoyable with very few lines for cider, food or restrooms and ample opportunity to talk with the cider makers themselves. Below is a recap of our "Best of" winners of the event.

Best Dry Cider
Farnum Hill Extra Dry Cider (7.5%)

Best Semi-Dry Cider
EZ Orchards Semi Dry Cider (6.4%)

Best Farmhouse/Wild Fermented Cider
Shacksbury Arlo (6.2%)

Best European/Import Cider
Manoir de Grandouet Cambremer Cidre de Tradition AOP Pays d’Auge (4.5%)

Best Barrel-Aged Cider
Vander Mill Green Mill Barrel-Aged Cyser (6.8%)

Best Fruited Cider
Starcut Ciders Squishy (7.5%)
Seasonal Hard Cider made with Northern Michigan Cherries, tart and dry finish

runner up:
Cider Brothers, Pacific Coast Apple with Wild Cherry
Semi-dry, stone fruit and spice, tastes like cherry pie

Best Newcomer to Chicago
Starcut Ciders (by Shorts Brewing), Elk Rapids, MI
Now available throughout the Chicagoland market

Best Cider Cocktail
The Northman "Ginger Snap"
Few Bourbon Whiskey, Vander Mill Ginger Peach cider, ginger syrup, soda water

Cider Summit view from the balcony
Kim (Hail to the Ale), David (Shacksbury Cider), Craig aka "John Apple" (ABV Chicago)

left: Uncle John's Old Fashion cider cocktail. right: The traditional Spanish long pour.

For more on tasting cider, check out our latest podcast appearance on ABV Chicago, Episode 109 "Cider House Rulez" where we taste 6 ciders from across the US, talk about the cider making process, and share a whole lot of laughs in the process.

Curious about the cider making process or learning more about apple varieties? Take a look at our Amazon book list devoted to Apples & Cider.

Check out your local bottle shops, as the selections of cider continues to grow. Don't see what you're looking for? See if they can request it or email the cideries for availability. The more demand, the better!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Guest Podcast Appearance on ABV Chicago: Episode 109

In preparation for the upcoming Chicago Cider Summit at Navy Pier (February 27th), we join Craig and Ryan of ABV Chicago Podcast series to talk all things cider making and tasting, along with some crazy banter and a lot of laughs. We hope you enjoy it!

Episode 109 – Cider House Rulez

We enter unfamiliar territory on this one by doing our first-ever cider show. Kim Leshinski of Hail to the Ale and MC Johnsen of Worth 1000 Beers join us to educate us on these fermented apple beverages. You’ll learn a lot about how ciders are made, apple varieties, local cider sources (including Broken Nose Cider), heirloom apples, and “the long pour.” We go from “cider stupid” to just plain stupid at times, as the diversions here are frequent and give Craig a good core workout. And Ryan is made to feel stupid by being the only one familiar with Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader. Listen and let us be the apple of your…ears?
Ciders reviewed:
Farnum Hill Dooryard Cider
Shacksbury Farmhouse
Bantam The Americain
Uncle John’s Apple Hard Cider
Vander Mill Chapman’s Blend 2014
Wandering Aegnus Wanderlust

Friday, February 19, 2016

Fourth Annual Cider Summit Returns to Chicago

SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective are pleased to announce the return of their successful Cider Summit festival to Chicago, IL. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, February 27, 2015 in two sessions - 11am-3pm and 4pm-8pm in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier.

Cider Summit will feature 140 ciders including regional favorites and international classics from countries such as England, Scotland, France, and Spain with owners and cidermakers will be on hand to inform and guide guests through the samplings.

NEW this year: 

  • The Fruit Cider Challenge where consumers vote for their favorite pilot batch made exclusively for the event.

Tickets are $35 and will be sold online only via Admission includes a souvenir tasting glass, 8 tasting tickets and a $1 donation to Heartland Alliance. Additional tasting tickets will be available for sale onsite at $2 per ticket. Designated driver tickets are available for $5, and include a bottle of water. A separate ticket is required for each session.

The Chicago Brew Bus will provide shuttle service starting at 10:30am between the Blue Line Grand stop, Red Line Grand-State stop, and Navy Pier throughout the day. CTA buses also run directly to Navy Pier. Onsite parking is available in the Navy Pier garages.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Abita's New Orleans Inspired Packaging Refresh

In celebration of their 30 year Anniversary, Louisiana-based craft brewery Abita unveils a packaging refresh of their flagship, seasonal and harvest series beers. 

The brewery, which has a deep connection to the Louisiana and New Orleans culture and lifestyle was looking for graphics to reflect its heritage.

"Our new look is inspired by the art, culture, history and colors of New Orleans. The personality of the city is showcased through eccentric new characters and quintessential New Orleans scenes depicted on the packaging." - David Blossman, President

The flagship Amber, Strawberry Lager and Purple haze designs are expect to hit shelves this month, with others releasing throughout 2016.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hail to the Ale Beerentine Cards

This year we're excited to introduce new "Beerentine's Day" card designs to our Etsy shop

Our new series of folded beer-themed cards come in a variety of sayings for your sweethearts. Cards are 4.25" x 5.5" and come with an accompanying A2 (4.375" x 5.75") envelope. For custom orders please send us a message via our Etsy shop and we'll be happy to accommodate your requests. Cheers!