6/13/20: Tales from the Cellar #11--McIntosh Cellars' Draught Apple Cider Dry

4:20 PM

This is it--the culmination of my COVID-19-induced Tales from the Cellar series. I'm now working from my office more often than I'm not. In July I'll be back there full hours. The pandemic's still with us, and likely will be for some time, but (I really hope) we can manage it. If not, I guess I'll be back with More Tales from the Cellar. For now, though, I'm taking time to ease back into life in the safest way I'm able while also replenishing my dwindled beer reserves.


But, today's post isn't a beer. No, this is the first and only Tales for the Cellar entry to feature a cider. I have no idea how old this bottle is, but I can tell you that I've had it in my possession since December 2018. We were visiting family in Michigan for the holidays then and I convinced my dad to swing us by South Haven's McIntosh Apple Orchards' Wine Cellar to sample some of their wares. I came back with two bottles of cider: a dry and a semi-dry. I drank the semi-dry with my father-in-law some time back and, well, now the dry's what's left.

Bruce McIntosh purchased what's now known as McIntosh Cellars (or "McIntosh Apple Orchards" or "McIntosh Orchards and Wine Cellars") in 1997. The orchards, which had been producing apples since the 1860s, also have peach and pear trees. With 76 acres and 26 different apple varieties, it's little wonder that Bruce got into cider making. You can find this information on the cidery's Untappd profile, but they also have a website which'll give you directions to their orchards.

I can't find any official description of Draught Apple Cider Dry (known as Dry Draught Cider on Untappd) so I'll share the scant details from my bottle with you. It's a 6.4% ABV cider made with "...Michigan apples at the peak of ripeness." Oh, and it's dry. That's about all I can learn about the beverage from the bottle.

The bouquet is definitely dry but not overwhelmingly so. Some dry ciders (not this one) have an almost dirty sock quality to them--even the one attempt I made at a dry cider featured this unpleasant aroma. Draught Apple Cider Dry (Dry, henceforth) escapes this. It's all applewood and oak. That's it. I'm half-expecting to stumble into some spices (nutmeg and cinnamon sure wouldn't go amiss here) but I know there's none to be found. It's simple, and there's beauty in that simplicity. Purrl gave my bottle twelve whiffs, meaning she's with me on this one.


This tastes like an exemplary dry cider. It's residual apple sweetness with a hearty wood backbone. Tanin from the fruit and just the teeniest bit of oxidation. Really, what you have is something that drinks like you took a bite of an apple, one neither sweet nor too bitter. It's precisely how a dry cider should drink.

Dry is a still cider. Sure, there's a hint of effervescence from the fact that, well, it's a cider (ciders worth their pulp always manage to dance on your tongue). But that's it.

It's mid-June, which is strange because lately I've been in a fall headspace. Today's felt a lot more like mid-October. It's cool, there's a pleasant breeze, no oppressive humidity. You know, just a genuinely nice day.

Maybe it's the cider that's really putting me in an autumnal mood. Sure, you can--and should--enjoy cider whenever. But, for me, it's an inherently fall drink. Sitting on my porch drinking this bottle of Dry, I'm envisioning standing in a field of freshly-cut hay, fluffy white clouds overhead and acres spread wide before me. Maybe an apple-y aroma on the wind.

Am I waxing too romantic? Yeah, probably. But, listen, there's a reason for that. The reason being: This is a good cider. I don't typically reach for dry ciders, but I'm really glad I grabbed this one. Draught Apple Cider Dry's a 9.0/10 drink for me and I'm positive that you, sitting wherever you are and reading this post, would like it just as much.

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