Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cider House opens in downtown Traverse City

Written by  Kristie Ryder
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Cider House opens in downtown Traverse City

Northern Natural Cider & Winery recently opened a cider house located at 324 E. Front St. in downtown Traverse City.  Parking can be difficult during the busy summer season, but lucky for those interested in giving this cider house a try, Northern Natural shares the block with one of the new parking structures.
I visited Northern Natural on a Thursday night, a night the local paper advertised as having live jazz music.  Walking through the door felt like walking into a rustic, but very modern, barn. The tasting bar and tables are crafted from local apple and cherry trees, and are lined with barn red metal chairs. Wooden fermenting barrels are placed alongside tap handles that resembled tree limbs, and bar lights made from amber colored growlers hang from the ceiling.

With the large windows along the street side of the building, the combination makes for a very open comfortable feel.  For those with an appetite, they offer a simple food menu consisting of small plates and flat bread pizzas.  Items like homemade hummus, artisan cheeses, chips and salsa, skewered olives , and flat breads that range from Meat to Vegan, and all made from local and/or organic products.  

Seven organic hard ciders are on tap, all made from local Heirloom apples grown by seven local family run farms.  Their five staple ciders are the Traditional,  Elderberry, Blueberry, Cherry and Lavender hard ciders, and two rotating taps which were Bourbon, and Lemongrass rounded out seven opportunities to enjoy a great pint of cider .  Pints will set you back only $5, or you can choose to sample a flight of four for $5.  All but their Cherry cider is listed as a dry or semi dry.  

All have a crisp, tart apple flavor, and vary only slightly with the addition of fruit.  From the Traditional I got the flavor of a green Granny Smith apple,  the Blueberry  has a fizzy, sweet tart candy like flavor to it, while the Lemongrass offers a mild grassy undertone.  The Lavender cider not only smells like you’ve a handful of the flower in your pint, but finishes with a slight lavender taste that coats you mouth and lingers.  It was very interesting, and definitely worth a try.  Finish with this or with the Cherry cider, their sweet cider, although the sweetness only lasts a short bit and is quickly followed by the taste of a red tart cherry.

Kristie Ryder

Kristie Ryder

Most people just call me Ryder.  I used to be the girl who drank cheap beer.  You know, whatever you could get a 24 pack of for under $12.  All that changed while bartending my way through my second Bachelors degree.  Now my boyfriend calls me "beer snob" because I only drink the good stuff (and PBR, I still love PBR!!) I picked up the hobby of homebrewing in early 2012 and have made it to the "experimenting" stage.  Not bad, not bad at all....although there was that one batch...oh never mind!  I just love beer!