Maker: Gitche Gumee Ciderworks, Hancock, Houghton County, Michigan, USA
Style: Wild fermented feral apple cider. Finished in French oak barrels
Price: $15 (only available in the western portion of the Upper Peninsula)
Note: Bottle provided for review by maker.
Appearance: Amber with persistant bubbles. Slightly cloudy.
Nose: Cut lumber, Raclette cheese, cut apple.
Palate: Dry, medium bodied. Tart apple, apple peel, French oak.
Finish: Chewy oak and apple tannins, touch of tartness.
Parting words: I had never heard of Gitche Gumee before founder Phillip Kelm contacted me in August. There’s a reason for that outside my own obliviousness, though. Entropy is their first release. Phillip is currently planning two more releases, Dancing Fatman which he describes as “a more approachable table cider” and Carmelita which will be a thimbleberry-infused cider. Thimbleberry is a wild raspberry native to Western North America and the upper Great Lakes region. It’s beloved in Upper Michigan, especially in the Keweenaw Peninsula where Hancock Michigan is located.
Phillip’s day job is as a brewery builder. In an email to me he wrote, “History of the venture is somewhat involved. I have worked in breweries for many years. But my first love was always apples and cider. Happy to be working with apples and cider now. I’ve also opened South Korea’s first cidery, made Palau’s first cider, and am working now to finish India’s only cidery. There’s lots to those stories, but I’ve only so much time to write!” For more on Phillips’s career, look here.
Phillip was aiming for a French-style cider with Entropy and I think he hit the bullseye. It’s actually better than many Norman or Breton ciders I’ve had. The funk and tannin (augmented by French oak in this case) take the lead, but the are assisted by a supporting cast of acid, fruit and sweetness (in that order). The result is a great cider. Sorry to do this to you, dear readers, but this hard to find American cider is highly recommended.