Maker: Crane’s, Fennville, Michigan, USA
Style: Semi-sweet apple cider
Apples: various dessert apple varieties, including Jonathan, Macintosh, others.
Note: from 100% juice.
Complimentary of the cottage we stayed at in Saugatuck, Michigan, last July.
Appearance: Light gold with light effervescence.
Nose: Sweet apple, honey, a little funk.
Palate: Medium bodied and semi-sweet, with a lot of tartness. Baking apples, pinch of brown sugar.
Finish: Short, sweet, and tart.
Parting words: Crane’s Pie Pantry and Winery is a tourist staple located in Fennville, Michigan, which is also home to Fenn Valley and Wyncroft/Marland wineries. It’s a bit of an odd place, frankly. The decor mix of tile, formica, and wood paneling with pots and pans hanging around the place. The house specialty is pies, but it also has a pretty good selection of sandwiches in the place. Wine tourism (mostly from Chicago) is big in the area, so there’s a wine and cider menu as well. The campy vacation energy of the place doesn’t inspire confidence in the wine and cider, but it’s all pretty good. It’s certainly better than many of the tourist trap wineries in the nearby costal towns (the body of water being Lake Michigan).
This cider far exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations. It is pretty sweet, but has a big acidic bite that keeps the sweetness well in check and there was a surprising pinch of yeasty funk in the background. I wouldn’t call it elegant, but it is more sophisticated than one expects a tourist-oriented product to be.
For the style, I like this a lot. Crane’s (semi-sweet) Apple Cider is recommended.