IF YOU GREW UP IN SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN YOU PROBABLY MADE A YEARLY TIP TO ONE OF THE LOCAL APPLE ORCHARDS - MOST NOTABLY BLAKE'S ORCHARD AND CIDER MILL.
There was no better way to celebrate a fall weekend with family and friends than to pick your own apples, pig out on donuts, and get lost in a corn maze. To sweeten the deal, Blake’s even started producing their own hard cider with the variety of apples that grow on the farm. You can find five of Blake’s Hard Cider all year round: Flannel Mouth (made with late season table and dessert apples), El Chavo (cider flavored with habanero pepper and mango), Beard Bender (made with a variety of Bittersweet and Bittersharp apples), Wakefire (cider flavored with comforting blend of Michigan-grown cherries, orange peel), and Grizzly Pear (a pear hard cider). We recommend hard ciders ANYTIME, but especially during the holidays when your guests may have a dietary restriction (these babies are all natural AND gluten-free).
While I love all of Blake’s Hard Ciders, El Chavo holds a special place in my heart. The apples and mango are a sweet combination, but what really does it for me is the habanero pepper kick at the end. It may take a can or two to get acquainted with the flavor, but if you are already a spicy food fiend, you’ll be addicted after one sip. As an added plus, the grab-and-go cans are perfect for a tailgate, holiday party, or a weekend of relaxing.
Blake’s ciders are phenomenally creative and have even helped to shape the industry. Head cider maker, Robert Lauer explains,“We were one of the first to push the boundaries on flavor and our mango habanero and cucumber ginger ciders are great examples of this.” Blake’s dedication to quality and flavor has really paid off for the company. According to Aaron Lanctot, Blake’s Hard Cider National Sales Director, the company had experienced 111% overall sales growth in 2016. The company is now focusing on new markets and expanding its facilities.
Next time you’re headed to the apple orchard, be sure to stop by the Blake’s tasting room for some adult fun. It’s the perfect, cozy place to share some drinks with friends and try out all that Blake’s has to offer.
*Full disclosure I drank an El Chavo (or two) while writing this article*
Candice Simons, j'adore Detroit