Maker: Left Foot Charley, Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Style: Dry farmhouse cider using Saison yeast.
Note: Fermented in French oak. Rested on lees. Unfiltered.
Purchased for $8/500 ml (winery)
Appearance: Light gold, slightly cloudy.
Nose: Pressed apple juice, a little funk and tannin.
Palate: Off dry, chewy dried apricot, oak.
Finish: Tart, then tart and tannic. Meyer lemon.
Parting words: Ciders have become trendy in Michigan wine and beer circles, with a number of producers branching out into cider with mixed sucess. Just because one knows how to ferment grapes or grains, doesn’t mean one knows how to make a good cider.
That said, Left Foot Charley knows how to make a good cider. Cunning Ham is a part of a line of ciders that also includes Henry’s Pippin (made with heirloom apples but not necessarily traditional cider apples), Antrim County (single origin) and crowd favorite Cinnamon Girl (cinnamon flavored). I reviewed Cinnamon Girl here and here five years later (oops).
For a dry farmhouse cider, The Cunning Ham is very drinkable and food friendly, especially with spicy fare. I expected a little more funk and tannin but there’s nothing not to like in this bottle. $8 for 500 ml is a very fair price for a quality craft cider. I have no idea where the name came from, but The Cunning Ham is recommended.