Virtue Cider Michigan Apple

Maker: Virtue Farms, Fennville, Michigan, USA20190802_165759.jpg

Apples: Unnamed heirloom varieties.

Place of origin: Michigan, USA

Style: Semi-dry cider.

ABV: 5.5%

Price: $13/12 can case (variety pack including three other Virtue ciders at Binny’s)

Appearance: Light gold like a lager.

Nose: Apple wood sawdust, applesauce, gravel.

Palate: Effervescent and semi-dry. Chewy tannin, some sweetness and fruit.

Finish: Dry with a tart tang in the front.

Parting words: I’ve reviewed Virtue ciders before on this blog, but this is the first canned cider of theirs I’ve done. I bought a variety pack of Virtue cider for my annual party in early June (you’re all invited next year). A few were left over, so I’m planning on working my way through the survivors in a series of reviews.

I was very impressed with Virtue’s Michigan Apple. It has a tannic grip that a lot of other American ciders in its category and price range don’t have. There’s no yeasty funk, but this is Michigan Apple, not Pomme de Normandie. This is a very enjoyable cider and I highly recommend it.

Lapinette

Maker: Virtue Farms, Fennville, Michigan, USAwpid-2014-12-16-16.53.00.jpg.jpeg

Style: Cidre Brut (in the style of dry Norman cider)

ABV: 6.8%

Purchased: $8/750 ml

Appearance: Pale gold. Very little effervescence.

Nose: Yeasty funk with a light sweet apple juice aroma.

Palate: Mineral water with hints of apple, yeast and lemon juice.

Finish: Clean and quick. Flint, dry citrus.

Parting words: The last cider I reviewed was a real Norman cider, so I thought it might be fun to try this hommage. It’s firmly in the style with all the yeasty dryness of its French cousin. Maybe I’m just getting used to the style but I enjoyed this one a little more. Not that I really love it but it’s more enjoyable. No criticism of Virtue here, they nailed the style, but Lapinette is only mildly recommended.

The Mitten

Maker: Virtue, Fennville, Michigan, USAThe Mitten

Style: Dry cider aged in bourbon barrels.

ABV: 6.8%

Price: $17/750ml (Binny’s)

Appearance: Light gold and effervescent.

Nose: Apple juice, dry Riesling, hint of oak and corn syrup.

Palate: Light and bubbly. Dry but with a tangy apple flavor. Also some caramel and bitter oak.

Finish: More tart and then dry with a background of oak and caramel.

Parting words: Virtue was founded by Gregory Hall, former brewmaster at Goose Island brewery in Chicago. He founded Virtue Cider in order to make European-style farmhouse ciders. While a bourbon barrel-aged cider doesn’t exactly fit that profile it is very much in the spirit of the thing.

This is my first Virtue cider, having been disconnected from the cider scene for quite some time. It’s very well done and I will definitely be seeking more of these out in the future. The bourbon barrel makes itself known but does not overwhelm the crisp flavor of the cider like it does in other barrel aged ciders I’ve had. It’s priced like a special occasion cider but it does quite well with food. Think Gewurz or Sauv Blanc when pairing it with a meal.

I alluded to the price earlier. It’s listed at $17 at Binny’s but I’ve seen it for even more elsewhere. If you can get it for less than $20, it’s worth a buy. The Mitten is recommended.