Sunday, January 3, 2016

Cider Review: Tandem Cider's Bee's Dream

2016 has been cozy and enjoyable thus far, but a bit gray. I've seen far more spitting snow than hints of sunshine. So, I knew I wanted my first cider review of the year to be something cheering and bright. Luckily, my dad shared with me a bottle by Tandem Ciders. Plus, I know folks have been wanting more coverage of Michigan ciders. I do what I can ;).

You can visit Tandem Ciders on online at their website:

Or go see their tasting room in Sutton's Bay, Michigan, perhaps getting to say hello to founders Nikki and Dan.

A unique stop on the Leelanau wine trail, Tandem Ciders specializes in artisanal hard ciders. In the major apple growing regions of Europe, a culture has developed around the enjoyment and deep appreciation of cider, of both the traditional production processes as well as the apples themselves. Cider plays an important role in these areas by helping create a healthy, relaxing lifestyle that revolves around a profound connection to the land and its offerings

When I met some of the folks from Tandem this past spring, they were kind enough to share a couple of bottles with me. I reviewed the Smackintosh here:

This find however wasn't from them. I am lucky enough to have many wonderful cider hunters in my life, and when they travel I sometimes get new ciders that I wouldn't ordinarily be able to find. The Bee's Dream is just such an acquisition; thanks Dad!

I found two official descriptions.

From the web:
Summer days... a bee’s dream. From apple blossoms to harvest time we bring to you a cider that celebrates the fleeting season of northern Michigan. Radiant and golden, Bee’s Dream is touched with a hint of sweetness - the perfect drink for hitting Good Harbor Beach or cookout in the backyard. Bee’s Dream is the one to don the party hat, so you can dress her up with an ice cube, a sprig of mint, or even a few cherries off the tree.

While on the bottle it says: "Bee's Dream Fermented with honey from Julia Kularik's hard workin' hives, this cider sips smoothand finishes with a bright hint o'honey. What do busy bees daydream about while filing their 500 mile lifetime pollen pursuit. Ponder that as your lap up the fruit of their time."

Appearance: Brilliant, very few visible bubbles, mellow blond

Apologies for such...atmospheric photos. It was a warm and cozy night by the fire in Lousville which is perhaps better for drinking cider than photographing it. The color was lovely, a mellow shade blonde, easy to see because of the brilliance of the cider.

Aromas: Honey, minerals, stone, maple, wet apple

We have honey! This cider smells like honey and wet apples but in the cleanest way possible. Sometimes honey can be musky, but this smells the opposite, very floral and fresh and fruity. I anticipate a cider with plenty of fruity sweetness and brightness.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet!

Though the descriptions don't tell us, this could be back-sweetened with honey and fresh juice. That's what the qualities of the sweetness suggest.

Flavors and drinking experience: Petillant, sweet, fruity, balanced

Texturally, the Bee's Dream is very lightly sparkling—more a tickle than bubbles. Though it is sweet, there's nothing cloying, nor is there any bitterness. The cider has a nice light body with pleasant brightness. I taste medium acidity and no tannins. Tandem has created a surprisingly balanced sweet honeyed cider. 

I like its genuine apple notes,  because its not too mushy or too much malic acid. Somehow this reminds me of lemon curd with a tiny shade of blueberry. The bright flavors linger and dark ones fade. This cider is so drinkable even brunch friendly. Drink with big fluffy fruit-topped pancakes. Yes, I give my blessing to cider with breakfast, at least everyone once in a while on the weekend. After all, we've got a long way to go till spring.