During these uncertain times because of COVID-19, supporting local breweries has been all over my social medias. We should not forget cider mills and cideries that are just as important and impacted. Recently, I was able to get my hands on one of Phillips Orchards and Cider Mill‘s most recent concoction, Maria, a peach cider.
I’ve been a fan of the ciders Phillips Orchards and Cider Mill have been producing ever since they were guests on Episode 181 of Better on Draft. Heading into the show, I was clueless about the in’s and out’s of the cider industry. All I knew is that I liked hard cider. The episode turned out to be extremely informative and is worth a listen for people looking to learn about hard cider and Phillips Orchards and Cider Mill.
In a conversation with Eric Rippke, cideroligist at Phillips, he told me that both the peaches and apples used in the hard cider were grown on-site at Phillips Orchards. He also said that peaches and peach juice were used in both the fermentation process and at the end of the process. Adding them at the end gave the cider more of a peach aroma and taste throughout.
I found the hard cider to have both the traditional apple taste of hard cider and the added peach element present throughout my sips. The cider was light and sweet in a sort of playful balance between components. All of the Phillips Ciders are named after ancestors of the Phillips family, so Maria must have been known to be sweet as a peach because the hard cider was just that. If you’re looking for the definition of a simple peach hard cider, this is it.
Phillips Orchards and Cider Mill is located north of St. John’s, MI on West Gratiot County Line Road. Their Gatehouse Market is right off of US-127 and is also on West Gratiot County Line Road. These two locations are a little over three miles away from each other, so a short drive to check out both locations.
Phillips Orchards and Cider Mill opened for the 2020 season at the end of February and are operating on Friday and the weekend. Similar to breweries across the state, the future regarding being open or having to close is up in the air. I’m hoping they can stay open and continue to serve their delicious hard cider to go. Their Facebook page is the best place for updates.
Disclaimer: Ed purchased this hard cider for the review.