Cider Chat

Interviewing cidermakers importers, orchardists, foodies, farmers and cider enthusiasts around the world. Let’s delve into the semantics of cider…or is it hard cider, cidre, sidra or fermented apple juice? The truth is out there in Ciderville and we are going to find it. We toast in celebration of cider; As a libation, a gift from the gods, a taste of terroir, and a hard pressed good time. Ready to quench your thirst? Grab a glass and join this chat! See you in Ciderville!
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Apr 5, 2017

Nicole and Rafe Ward of Forgotten Ciders are celebrating 3 years of cidermaking this April of 2017.  This Michigan cidery has over 1000 variety of apples growing on 16 acres, many of which are cider varieties and red fleshed to boot!

Rafe's Grandfather Douglas Eastman and Uncle John Eastman started planting apples trees 30 years ago to what would one day become Eastman Antique Apples.  Eight years ago Rafe, his parents and brother bought the apple orchard. After getting involved in the family's orchard, Rafe Ward began making cider in their basement and then realized that the fruit could be transformed in to liquid gold.

Rafe says, "It was a happy day when I realized I own an orchard and I could make alcohol out of them apples."

Nicole mentions, "It was good fortune that the family didn't pull up the apple trees thinking that because they didn't taste good they weren't worth growing."

Forgotten Ciders are made out of a 100% fresh pressed apple juice. Aside from adding yeast, there is no back sweetening or sugar added up front. The brilliant shades of red that are visible in their bottles of Mad Russian, Hot N Cider and others is derived straight from the apple varieties that they are using.

Ah Ha Moments for the Wards

1. Licensing

2. Making the cider - but they "Let the apples do the work"

Cidery Overview

  • 16 acres with over 1000 varieties
  • They pick the apples themselves with some help
  • Use stainless steel tanks and ICBs (plastic containers)
  • Press using an 18 inch rack and cloth press.
  • They press throughout the season, with the season going through mid November.

Ciders Mentioned in this chat all in 750 ml bottles except for the Hopped Cider

1.Mad Russian - 6.9% early season cider Flagship cider

Deep cranberry color, using red flesh apples

Giant Russian Crab apples

Taste, aggressively dry and tart up front and then mellows and sweetens as you drink it.

2. Private Stash - 6.9% has over 150 varieties blended to make this cider.

3. Hot N Cider 6.9% made with a base cider and local peppers. A very smooth easy drinking cider, with just the right amount of hot to make your palate ask for more cider. Pairs perfectly with cheese plate.

4. Rusty Red made with Russet apples that Nicole describes having a skin much akin to potato or pear as opposed to being shiny and glossy like a Red Delicious apple. They blend their Russets with some of their "Red Flesh" apples.

5. Hopped Cider - 6.9% base cider with dry hops. Well balanced citrus notes of the hops with a very tasty cider base.

Find Forgotten Ciders

Visit the Forgotten Ciders Tasting Room  opening this year on April 29th!

Usually only open only on Saturdays from 2-7 once the season begins

Look to the website for special events open from summer to November.

Farmer's Markets

Getting to Forgotten Ciders

  • 2 hour drive from Detroit
  • 4.5 hour drive from Chicago

Mini Tips mentioned for ciders in this chat

Tips for Planting an orchard

  • Place same varieties together
  • Plant is succession to ripening dates

Tips for making Labels

Contact Forgotten Ciders and Eastman Antique Apples

Owners: Nicole and Rafe Ward

Address: 1068 W Midland-Gratiot County Line Rd, Wheeler, MI 48662

Phone: (989) 842-5576



Ask for the following 6 #CiderGoingUP Campaign cider supporters - By supporting these cider makers, you in turn help Ciderville.

  1. Kurant Cider - Pennsylvania : listen to Joe Getz on episode 14
  2. Big Apple Hard Cider - NYC : listen to Danielle von Scheiner on episode 35
  3. Oliver’s Cider and Perry - Herefordshire/UK ; listen to Tom Oliver on episode 29
  4. Santa Cruz Cider Company - California : listen to Nicole Todd on episode 60
  5. The Cider Project aka EthicCider- California
  6. Albermale CiderWorks : listen to Chuck Shelton on episode 56

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