Part of our love for cider is rooted in the interesting stories of apples, and we’re willing to go to great lengths to get the most interesting apples we can. We pick wild apples and we find near extinct heirlooms in underutilized orchards. We haul apples up and down hills in the Driftless, and sometimes we even carry them over streams. This Friday, August 2nd, we’ll be releasing a cider with a particularly interesting story, and we call it “The Greatest Cider on Earth.”
The name stems from the origin of the apples. We picked them in an abandoned orchard previously owned by the Ringling Brothers Circus. To get to the orchard we had to hike up a large hill, crossing over a few downed trees that made it impossible to haul the apples in our cart.
The remaining apples trees are scattered at the top of the hill amidst tall grasses, patches of thorns, and other mixed trees that have filled the gaps. The easiest apple to identify of those that were there was Northwest Greening, a native apple of Wisconsin that used to be more common. We know from experience that this apple makes for a brisk, refreshing cider with a pleasant green apple flavor. Without being able to use our cart, we ended up hauling the apples down the hill on the tops of our heads.
The week we picked apples from this orchard also happened to be the week that our truck was in the shop to get its brakes fixed, so we had to haul the apples in our Honda. We stuffed the back of it like a clown car. The poor car sagged in the rear and struggled all the way home under the weight of the apples.
The juice from these apples waited for a while in frozen storage while we sorted our our business and got ourselves up and running. Here in Mount Horeb, we finally got the cider fermenting, and then we aged it in a gin barrel. We’ve stolen a few sips, and it seems worthy of its name.
We want to make this release a real party, so we’ll have live music from Sunspot Acoustic Duo. We’ll have some brix clowns, someone on stilts, hopefully some juggling, and a likely troll appearance. All are welcome to this free event, and we encourage circus attire. Come on out and celebrate a unique piece of Wisconsin history through the flavors and memories preserved by the land… and feel free to dress and act like a clown.