Honeycrisp Hard Cider Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery $4, $7 with take-home glass
"Do you want the good news first, or the bad?" asked Bob, the kindly bartender in a train conductor's cap at Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery. Everything about this rural Wisconsin gem, from Bob to the rows of handmade canned jellies along the windowsill, has a wholesome, small town general store feel.
We opted for the bad news first: Their Honeycrisp hard cider has been so popular this year, it sold out in bottles a mere 48 hours prior. We wouldn't be bringing any of this delectable nectar of the Midwest home with us. The good news, though, was that Bob could still pull us a pint.
The bittersweet knowledge that this glass of cider might be our last of the season turned this visit into an occasion to savor. "Feel free to walk around the grounds," Bob called to us. "There's a gazebo on the other side of the trees." Seated at a picnic table overlooking a small row of gnarled apple trees, the cider took on an amber glow, and tiny effervescent bubbles swirled to the surface.
Made of 100% pure fresh-pressed Honeycrisp apple juice, Maiden Rock's farmhouse-style hard cider is fermented to just under 7% ABV, the legal limit for alcohol content for ciders in Wisconsin. Semi-dry, semi-bubbly, all crisp and light, this pint is glorious on a late fall day. Make the hour or so drive while the season is still ripe for an autumn road trip and get a fresh, local cider that hits the spot.Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery W12266 King Lane Stockholm, WI 54769 (715) 448-3502 here to purchase directly.