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Five Faves – Hard Ciders

Locally crafted hard ciders worth a try

Cider was one of the first alcoholic drinks produced in the American colonies, but it fell out of favor in the 1800s as orchards became less and less prevalent throughout the nation. In recent years, though, hard cider has seen explosive growth. In 2024, for example, annual hard cider revenue in the U.S. is expected to grow by 8.9%, according to industry research company IBISWorld. This rise in popularity can be seen in the increase in the number of local cider producers. From single batches at small brewpubs to larger-scale operations, here are five places to sip locally made hard cider:

This local brewpub and restaurant, which has two locations, gets its name from the 42nd parallel north, on which Kalamazoo is squarely located.

The day I visited the West Main Street location there were four ciders on tap — Dry Apple, Blueberry Apple, Cherry Apple and Saskatoon. This mix of dry, semi-sweet and sweet ciders made for a perfect flight. If you aren’t a cider lover or beer drinker, you can get fun drink options like Adult Juice Boxes, which are alcoholic, grown-up versions of the children’s beverages, complete with a straw.

Latitude 42° is located at 7842 Portage Road, in Portage, and 6101 W. Main St., in Oshtemo Township. The hours at both locations are 4–9 p.m. Monday–Thursday and 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Friday and Sunday.

Texas Corners Brewing Co., located in Texas Township, is a staple of the local cider scene. Its six ciders on tap cover a wide range of tastes, from the drier Crisp Apple to the sweeter Raspberry and Cherry ciders. Three of the company’s ciders — Crisp Apple, Cherry and Black Currant — are on tap all year, while the others rotate.

I recommend the six-cider flight to try them all.Texas Corners Brewing also offers food made from local produce, including produce from its own farm, and is housed in a renovated church, which provides a cozy setting. There is outdoor seating when the weather permits and live music on certain days.

Texas Corners Brewing Co. is located at 6970 Texas Drive and is open 4–9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon–10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

For the small town of Vicksburg, Distant Whistle Brewhouse is a decent-sized operation when it comes to brewing. Not only does brewer and owner Dane Bosel craft all its beers, wines and ciders, he also runs the home-brewing shop next door to help others get into the craft.

Distant Whistle’s cider selection is small — Bosel produces only one high-quality cider every season, experimenting with flavors to match the season, so it’s always a surprise to see what cider flavor will be on tap. When I was there, it was a semi-sweet Cranberry Bright cider that had a definite winter aura.
The brewhouse has a mug club with locally made ceramic mugs for members to use anytime they come in for a drink.

Distant Whistle Brewhouse is located 118 S. Main St., in Vicksburg. Its hours are 3–10 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday, 3 p.m.–midnight Friday, noon–midnight Saturday, and noon–10 p.m. Sunday.

Historically, wells have been iconic spots where folks can gather and drink, and while One Well Brewing is not exactly a spot to draw water, it is a great gathering place for drinking handcrafted brews, including a couple of homemade hard ciders.

One Well usually has three ciders on tap: Straight Forward, a semi-sweet straight apple; Grandpa’s Hard Cider, which is apple-pie-flavored; and Double Barrel Tree Tops, a bourbon-barrel-aged cider with a high alcohol content. Unfortunately, when I visited One Well, I was able to try only Straight Forward, since they were out of the other two.

One Well is a family-friendly place and a good spot to hang with friends. In addition to serving food, they have board games, arcade games, foosball, and pinball. They also host foosball, pinball and dart tournaments as well as a trivia night every Sunday.

One Well Brewing is located at 4213 Portage St., in Kalamazoo, and is open 3–10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 3–11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.–midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sunday.

When looking for locally made ciders, it would be a mistake to miss Soil Friends, a family-run farm in Galesburg. They create “health-conscious” ciders that don’t have any added sugar.

Their ciders come in a variety of flavors, from the interesting and delicious Strawberry Peachapeno (a mix of jalapeno, peach and strawberry) to their best-selling Cinnamon Sugar and Honey Apple ciders. They source their juice from local producers and grow many of the flavor additions on their own farm.

Soil Friends’ tasting room is on the farm and open during spring, summer and fall. They also have seven canned ciders that can be purchased at area Meijer, Harding’s, Mega Bev and Fresh Thyme stores.
Soil Friends is located at 1701 N. 33rd St. For information on business hours, visit soilfriends.com.

Jarret Whitenack

An intern at Encore, Jarret hails from Oregon, where he recently graduated from Portland State University with a degree in history.

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