Let’s face it, people, Chicago knows how to have a good time. From football games, to cocktail bars, to beach volleyball tourneys, and outdoor festivals, there is something to be had for all ages all the time. But, as we mature, we find ourselves craving great outdoor events where we can put down some high-quality beer, wine, cider, and food. Chicago Ale Fest provides this to attendees, certainly, but also giving visitors so much more.
The most unique experience beyond the extensive lineup of craft companies at the event is their “festival within a festival” concept. To better serve event partakers, Chicago Ale Fest has designed sections of the event grounds dedicated to particular appetites. Within this concept, guests can be welcomed to the wizarding world of… CiderScene’s Cider Alley. This will be a collection of craft ciders made by nearby cider makers, providing event-goers a sweet selection of fermented apple drinks that everyone craves on a hot summer day. Simply find the section and get your fix. And, for pesky “beer-only” drinkers, cider can be a nice choice between some of the heavier or darker beer. If you haven’t tasted craft cider, you are being too swift with your judgement.
Craft cider is an important piece of American culture. It has deeper roots than beer and once was the drink of choice. I know, that gasp is well warranted. But beyond the deep history of cidermaking overseas and the eventually spilling over into the United States, craft cider is just that, a craft. Like a finely designed wine, cider follows a similar pattern. Both wine and cider use fermentation and fruit to deliver a product that can be as sweet, sour, buttery, dry, or dense as the cider maker desires. Much like the craft revolution that happened with beer, cider is expanding, experimenting, and exploring new avenues to entice the commercial palette as well as the complex palette.
Here are three of the craft cider companies that will be part of CiderScene’s Cider Alley:
- Virtue Cider is a cider producer from Fennville, MI focused on delivering European-style ciders to the American palate. Their strives to use traditional production methods bring a high quality and diverse selection. Their Michigan Brut will be ready for tasting at the festival and will deliver crisp apple flavors with citrus notes finishing with a dry tartness perfect of a summer festival. Like most of their selections this is also barrel aged in French Oak to bring out more layered flavors. This is sure to be a perfect stop on your cider tour.
- Another Michigan cidery called Farmhaus Cider will also be ready to taste. Amongst their selection of ciders will be one of their hallmark cider called Halbbiter. This again is a unique cider made with local Michigan apples and fermented in a classic Germanic style. Not only does this give it a bright semi-sweet flavor but you are left with a flavor reminiscent of a Riesling. This is perfect for the inner wine connoisseur transitioning to a cider.
- Ferro Farms is another great cidery that will be available in Cider Alley for your tasting pleasure. Their award winning apples are picked fresh from the orchard and mixed to make a unique blend. This includes varieties of red delicious, Honey Crisp, and Northern Spy apples to name a few. The result is a gluten free and natural golden cider ready to quench your palate.
So, make a trip to the Chicago Ale Fest on June 23rd and 24th, and experience the festivals within the festival. Come see CiderScene at Cider Alley. You won’t be disappointed.
CiderScene is a blog run by twin brothers focused on the exploring the US cider culture and its revival. Our website/social media highlights particular cideries of interest, a mapping of US cider locations, recipes, drink ratings, and a plethora of cider-related blog posts. With the growth and development of the industry, we hope to shed some light on the craft cider world and open people’s mind to hard cider with a fun twist.