Several local brewers and winemakers are applying their craft to the production of hard cider. Demand for small-batch craft beer, wine and spirits has steadily grown in recent years. Hard cider made from locally-sourced fruit is another beverage that also appeals to many drinkers.

Somerset Ridge and Winery Hard Cider 29725 Somerset Rd, Paola, KS 

Somerset Ridge and Winery, founded by Dennis and Cindy Reynolds in 2001, is known in the area for its fine selection of red and white wines. On Earth Day, Friday, April 22, the Paola, Kansas-based winery released its first hard apple cider. Made with three varieties of apples sourced by neighboring Louisburg Cider Mill, the cider is served only by the glass at the winery’s tasting room.

At 8-percent  alcohol by volume (ABV) with only two-percent residual sugar, the hard cider is lower in alcohol and sugar than many wines. The gluten-free cider tastes mildly sweet with flavors of crisp green apple and a dry finish when served slightly chilled.

“The cider mill sourced and milled apples from Missouri and Kansas, and produced the juice for us,” says Cindy Reynolds.

Somerset applied their winemaking craft and knowledge of yeast fermentation and conditioning to transform the juice into cider. The cider is aged for one year in stainless steel and served with light carbonation. Reynolds says, “We developed the cider recipe over two years.”

The Reynolds decided to let the public name the cider. The public is invited to visit the tasting room from Earth Day through July 1, 2016, sample the hard cider and submit their entry for the cider’s name via social media using the hashtag #NameSomersetCider. A winner will be announced in fall 2016.

Somerset Ridge

 

KC Wineworks | 1829 McGee St, Kansas City, MO 

This urban winery based in the Crossroads Arts District opened its tasting room and production space in April. Owned by James and Lindsay Lowery, the winery produces wines made from grapes grown on 3.5 acres at family-owned Silver Leaf Vineyard in Macon, Missouri. Their Crossroads Apfel hard cider is not to be overlooked in the portfolio.

Made from locally-grown Jonathan apples, the hard cider is distinctly dry with fresh apple aroma and a clean tart finish. For cider, craft beer and wine fans seeking a dry alternative to native sweet wines, Crossroads Apfel is truly a standout. Lightly carbonated and refreshing, this cider runs 7.2-percent ABV and is ideal to drink on a warm day. Available on tap and sold by the bottle at the tasting room.

KC Wineworks Apfel

 

Kansas City Bier Company | 310 W 79th St, Kansas City, MO 

This brewery in KC’s cozy Waldo neighborhood offers Apfel, its version of hard apple cider, to complement its usual year-round and seasonal German-style beers such as Helles, Dunkel and Hefeweizen. Made from a blend of Red Delicious, Gala and McIntosh apples sourced from Louisburg Cider Mill, the cider is unfiltered with yeast still present and tastes bone-dry. No additional sugar was used during fermentation. Served on tap at the brewery’s beer hall, the cider is crisp, light and a refreshing change of pace with 6.75-percent ABV. Because the tap selections rotate throughout the year, contact the brewery to ensure this cider is available.

Cinder Block Brewery | 110 E. 18th St., North Kansas City, MO 

Based north of the Missouri River mere minutes from downtown KC, Cinder Block offers two ciders on tap. Cinder Block’s French Cider is modeled after white wine with a tart, layered flavor of fresh green apples that transitions from semi-sweet to a semi-dry finish. Their English Cherry Cider’s bright red hue makes it easy to spot in the busy taproom. A blend of tart Michigan cherries and apples delivers a slightly tart cider with a sweet finish. Both versions are gluten-free and easy-drinking at 5-percent ABV.

Cinder Block Brewery

Freelance writer Pete Dulin writes about food, craft beer, business and the best of Kansas City for area publications. His books, KC Ale Trail and Last Bite: 100 Recipes from Kansas City’s Best Chefs and Cooks, are available at petedulin.com, where Pete also documents his culinary travel adventures.

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