October 1, 2022

Milk and Honey Ciders (Season 4 Episode 37)

Milk and Honey Ciders are made from American heirloom and cider apple varieties. Their taproom in St Joseph Minnesota showcases the ciders and the orchard and all its beauty. We talked to Adam Theis, one of the founders about what makes his cidery special.

Get tickets to the October Lexington Dinner featuring Milk and Honey Ciders
Makers of Minnesota Dinner Series: presented by Stephanie Hansen and The Lexington

This month we will feature four local woman-owned businesses and include their goods and products in a special 3-course menu. Enjoy a special evening celebrating our local makers and their creative spirit.

Guests are invited to enjoy cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres in The Williamsburg Room from 6:00-6:30 pm and a 3-course dinner created by Chef Nick O’Leary utilizing products from these local makers.

Our October Dinner will feature products from:

– Mrs. Kelly’s Tea

– Olive Oil on Tap

– Taking Stock Foods Bone Broths

– 3 Bear Oats

– Milk and Honey Ciders

Milk and Honey Podcast Transcript

Stephanie Hansen 0:03
We are hosting another makers of Minnesota dinner at the Lexington in St. Paul. Not only will you be front and center with some of the best Minnesota makers in the Twin Cities, but you will be treated to a three course dinner compliments of Chef Nick from the Lexington, who will be using the featured makers ingredients in all the courses he’s making for this special event. Our October dinner is Tuesday, October 25. And our featured makers are so fun, including milk and honey ciders, who was making beautiful ciders at their orchard in St. Joseph, three bear oats who specialize in grain bowls full of delicious goodness. Also on Deck is taking stock foods. They’ve got these organic bone bras that taste amazing and are so good for you, as well as olive oil on tap, who has formulations of specialty oils and vinegars that are out of this world. And speaking out of this world is Mrs. Kelly’s tea. Mindy Kelly is truly a savant at blending the most beautiful, flavorful, aromatic teas and she’s been doing it for years in Northeast Minneapolis. I can’t wait for you to meet her. I’m so excited to see how Chef Nick will use all these ingredients in this multi course menu. We’ll have a limited number of tickets for this special dinner and when they’re gone, they’re gone. So go to the lex mn.com and sign up via Eventbrite for the makers of Minnesota dinner. Get your tickets now at the lex mn.com. And watch for details on our November 29 dinner where Chef Nick will be cooking the book, The True North cabin cookbook just in time for the holidays. So go to the lex mn.com to get tickets and sign up for my free newsletter. So you’re always in the know about any events I’m excited about or hosting at Stephanie’s dish.com.

Good morning, Stephanie Hansen. I am here with the makers in Minnesota podcast where we talk to cool people doing cool things. And I am here with Adam taste this morning from milk and honey ciders in St. Joseph, Minnesota. And I have been a fan of your ciders. Adam since Melissa cernik at SURTEX walked me over to your bottles. And she said have you tried these ciders? You really need to they’re amazing. And she handed me Vana. Oh, cool, and said this is my need to try. Yeah, and it’s just it’s so great. But then I also love that you guys do the what my niece calls the slap bags. Fighter. You ever heard of all that?

Adam Theis 2:34
Yeah, I haven’t slept a bag myself. But so this

Stephanie Hansen 2:37
is a great packaging mechanism. It’s sort of like you can have a cold giant bag of cider in your refrigerator all the time. It’s great for the lake, or to pop in your cooler. I’m a big cider fan. So I thought it’s pretty innovative packaging.

Adam Theis 2:52
Yeah, yeah, it’s picnic cider.

Stephanie Hansen 2:55
Yeah, I like it. It’s great. So you guys have give me sort of your origin story. And then I’m going to ask some specific questions about your growth.

Adam Theis 3:03
Okay. Well, you know, I think I think we were just looking for something interesting. And we all wanted, it’s funny, when it started, we were just making cider in what looked a lot like a garage, although it never had a car in it. It was it was built just to make cider and with the intent that it’d be come a garage. But we I think really, the plan was to do something, create a rural experience, you know, this countryside experience. And right away, we were just making cider back in the woods. And it took a few years, and then we ended up with a place that’s near St. Joe, kind of between St. John’s and St. Albans. And that really is the countryside experience where you drive in there’s orchard along the driveway coming in and nice views of the countryside.

Stephanie Hansen 3:56
And how did you like where you farm people originally? Or what was it about that countryside experience? And cider in particular that appealed to you?

Adam Theis 4:06
Well, I mean, those are, I would say the two separate things, but how they come together. The first would be Peter, Aaron and myself. We grew up in this area, and we just like wandering around in the hills and the fields and just thought it was special that, you know, we thought it was a special area to explore and hang out. And and then the other part of so we always wanted to, I think do something out in that area, you know, just in a natural setting kind of right. But I would say the other why cider it that question is probably different if you ask each of us but for me, I was in the brewing industry for a number of years. And but it seemed like back when we started we’d had really good cider but it didn’t seem like anybody was making what we envisioned as really good cider around here and This is what I’m saying. This is back in like 2010. Yeah. timeframe. And of course now there’s a lot of cool sites in Minnesota. It’s just, but there wasn’t, it wasn’t there in 2010. So we just thought, Man, that’s, that’s these things go together. And really it does because you have, you have the whole process. It’s like you go out the front door, and there’s the trees. And you don’t have to have anything brought in. Except this, the fruit from right out there and you can have it all happen right in one spot.

Stephanie Hansen 5:31
And like beer, I guess, if you think about that, I feel like you guys are so over time beer brewing. got kind of sexy and then it got kind of crazy. And then it got a little fruity and hazy and IPAs and happy and all the the things I feel like you guys are kind of maybe it’s because you grow primarily heirloom apples, but you guys are like the purists I feel like in this like really dry cider you’re not like all crazy and adding pineapple and nobody there

Adam Theis 6:07
we do. You have one we’re appears to a fault though it gets in the way of, you know, creativity and freedom sometimes when you’re such a purist, but we we have generally one at a time. One cider with extraneous ingredients, but we still even that. It’s really ingredients like if we’re gonna make a blood or insight or we juice and zest blood oranges by hand, right? So we still try to have it be the real deal.

Stephanie Hansen 6:37
Do you you’re still in a bottle. Do you? Why is are you in a bottle versus a lot of ciders now are available in cans?

Adam Theis 6:44
Well, one, that’s just the we just chose bottles. Back when we first started bottling it was kind of probably at the same time, you know, when you’re if you go back to say, the mid teens, like 2014 2015 That’s when cans were really switching over. Like you forget that it wasn’t always cans, right. But for us, it was when we first started the really cool cider that we kind of that we were inspired by was all coming in and it still is a lot of it coming in 750 Male bottles. And so for us it was even a big leap to say, man, maybe we ought to switch and not put this in 750 mils but have it in you know, single serving packaging. And so we switched to a smaller bottle that and if you know you know what I got it looks like it does just look like a shrunk down kind of champagne ball or something. It’s got its it’s not your standard Mac, it’s got sloped shoulders on it.

Stephanie Hansen 7:44
Can you describe your varieties of cider to the listeners that maybe aren’t familiar with you?

Adam Theis 7:48
Yeah, so the variety that most if people aren’t familiar with this, a lot of people probably have access to heirloom. And it’s funny because heirloom when we started we probably had Grand Designs to make something like Fano but we couldn’t we didn’t have access to the bittersweet apples yet. But we were able to find all these cool old heirloom varieties like Arkansas black and Winesap and Calvillo Blanc and some different rosette varieties. And so what we the first cider we made just by default of what we were able to find was this cool blend of old heirloom apples and it ended up being how I would describe it as a very approachable but yet still a good entry point into real cider like Right. When you go further into traditional English ciders. Let’s say they can get pretty funky and maybe challenging for people some of the flavors but heirloom is still this very fruity pleasant but has a great range and depth of flavor. To the point where if you’re new to it or if you’re looking for you know a cider with more heirloom is still that but it’s I would say it’s a really friendly entry point into real traditional cider, real cider

Stephanie Hansen 9:10
fruit. We are having you as the guest on our dinner that we’re having the makers of Minnesota dinner on October 25 at the Lexington and part of the reason why I picked you guys as participants with three bear oats with Mrs. Kelly’s teas with I’m trying to go through the whole list Rivero it’s Mrs. Kelly’s tea taking stock foods is you guys have a really nice pairing quality with lots of different types of food. Yeah. So when you think about cider and pairing is there like any rules, like you know how they’re kind of is for wine?

Adam Theis 9:51
You know, I don’t know the rules but there’s things that I think are just for me easy, easy pathways with cider, the things that are great is Because cider our cider I should say not all ciders this way, but it’s just very dry. And just the way for the most part American apple varieties are we try with stuff like Fonner and our state cider to push more towards tannic ciders, but even then it’s still inherently very acidic, right? Just because the pH of apples is lower than some other things. So, but that’s really good for cutting through fats. Right. So I think there’s like two easy pathways. And one is, I think about when I was young, my parents had this little uh, I think my grandma probably gave it to him this thing that said, something like a piece of apple pie. Without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze or something. And so this thing of like apples and cheese, right. And that’s, that’s an easy pathway. They do go really well together all sorts of cider and all sorts of cheese just they weren’t, they weren’t. And it’s probably because of that fat and that ability to cut through it. And then the other one is I always say I always think it’s been I, you know, worked in the brewing brewing industry for a while. I don’t feel bad saying this. But I think cider is actually you always think beer and sausage, right? But cider and sausage or cider and pork is better. Like, whatever type of pork whether it’s a pork chop and cider, or some sausages and cider, they go really well together. And again, it’s just that that content and then the cider just cutting right through it.

Stephanie Hansen 11:39
I love that. Well, I’m anxious to have the opportunity to visit with you at the LAX and thanks for being a part of the dinner. I’ll put a link up for people to get tickets, and we’ll be anxious to learn more about your sighters we’ll see you in October, Adam. Okay, great. Yeah. Okay, yeah. Bye bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai