September 20, 2020

Bee Well’s Beaver Island Cider

Bottoms Up
By Alex Tank | Jan. 25, 2020

If you can’t escape the depths of winter, try time travelling back a few months with a pint of Bee Well’s Beaver Island Cider. Tart and tannic, it’s the taste of bright fall sunshine and harvest-time winds off Lake Michigan. This year’s batch of Beaver Island cider was fermented with wild apples collected on the island. The foraging team was led by mead and cider-maker and Bee Well co-owner, Jeremy VanSice: “The back roads are little apple forests. It’s amazing!” Trees first planted by early immigrants in the mid-1800s bear fruit of several antique varieties, so the cider is never the same twice. 

This third annual iteration has a pleasantly funky aroma (due to its wild yeast fermentation) and brings a refreshing, green apple flavor mid-palate, then a dry finish. Jeremy and the VanSice family have been fermenting mead and cider at their Bellaire production facility since 2014.  In May 2018, they opened a cozy tasting room in the heart of downtown Bellaire. 

There’s a simultaneous après-ski and Cheers vibe inside the comfortable space.  More often than not, thirsty guests are greeted by name.  On our visit, a classic Violent Femmes record spun on the turntable as the freshly tapped Beaver Island cider flowed.  The mead — a traditional honey wine — is a bit stronger than the cider and well worth sampling, too. Find Bee Well Mead and Cider at 116 N. Bridge St. in Bellaire.   (231) 350-7174, www.beewellmeadery.com   

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