Fresh, ripe, heirloom apples are pressed into fragrant juice. Slow, careful fermentation using our special blend of yeasts adds layers of complexity usually found only in Belgian Ales and the finest wines. Maturation and barrel aging give subtle notes of wood and tannin. Virtue Ciders are all these flavors in perfect harmony. Now, the table is set. Perhaps the plate holds chicken thighs, prepared Yakitori style, salty and rich. Or maybe it’s a bowl overflowing with mussels drowning in garlic. Pork shoulder, roasted in a wood oven until tender. Or spring rabbit, braised long in cider.
A grass-fed burger, topped with house-cured bacon, vintage cheddar and a farm fresh egg. To finish, perhaps a wheel of ripe Camembert paired with apple chutney, straight from Normandy. And to drink? Why, a Virtue Cider, of course. The aroma, tannin, and acidity of a Virtue Cider make it a peer to the finest wines and craft beers and a partner to the best of menus.
RedStreak is a proper English style draft cider. With its hazy lemon hue, scent of ripe apples and just a touch of oak, RedStreak has a crisp, tart finish that pairs perfectly with your favorite mature cheddar. First discovered in Herefordshire in the 1630s, the Redstreak bittersharp apple produced a cider so delicious it was deemed to be ‘fit for kings.’
When the leaves fall, there’s a chill in the air and the evening greedily takes hours from daylight, we stand strong and embrace the wintertime. It’s a time of rich foods, roaring fires and our favorite sweaters. Drinks change from refreshing to intense and satisfying. The Mitten is a Winter cider, a blend of last season's best, aged in bourbon barrels, with the new season’s fresh pressed apple juice. Straight cider, aged for 3 seasons, finds notes of vanilla, caramel and charred American oak, balanced with the best of the orchard, over-ripe apples and their sweet, tart, earthy juice. Many barrels are filled, but only a small portion, the very smoothest, will find their way into The Mitten. We love wintertime, especially when we have The Mitten to keep us warm and happy through the long, cold night.
Ledbury is an old market town in Herefordshire, England – full of historic inns and pubs, and a beautiful, half-timber Market House dating back to 1617. It sits between the rivers Wye and Severn, surrounded by orchards growing cider apples. Gregory Hall's first visit to Ledbury was as a brewer, to buy English hops in the autumn of 2007. He returned in 2011, a newly minted Cider-maker, to meet Tom Oliver. Tom makes traditional cider and perry – some of the world's best – in Ocle Pynchard, Herefordshire.
The Ledbury Cider is an English-style medium cider crafted by Virtue with Tom Oliver. It's not too dry, not too sweet. A blend of old world bittersweet apples and new world heirloom varieties are fermented with native yeast, adding a bit of farminess to the ripe apple nose.
Introducing Lapinette, a Norman-style cidre brut, aged in French oak barrels. Reminiscent of the old days in France, before the great wars, when wine makers of the south shared their used barrels with their northern cousins, the resulting ciders were a little bit rough, unfiltered with a balance of flavors from the fruit, the farm and the barrel. Virtue has recreated this traditional cider by sourcing tart fruit, patiently aging for months in wine barrels, and serving as is, without fine filtration. Lapinette is a window into our past, a very tasty time indeed.
SIDRA DE NAVA
Sidra de Nava is a tart, lemony Spanish-style sidra. The Asturias region produces 80% of the Sidra in Spain, and the Asturian summer is something to behold. The skies are clear and blue, the cafés full, and Sidra reigns supreme. Every café and Sidrería pours it – either 'thrown' from a bottle or pipa (pitcher) held high overhead or straight from the kupela (barrel). Afternoon drinking under those blue skies leads to long nights of music, dancing and of course, more Sidra. The climax of the summer is the Festival de la Sidra in the village of Nava, held each July.
Virtue's Sidra de Nava is more tart than the dry ciders of England or funky cidre from France. Its lemony nose and bracingly tart dry finish are a happy intersection of cider, dry white wine and fresh squeezed lemonade. It's the most refreshing of drinks, pure sunshine in a glass.
In Normandy, France, cider has been made on the farm for over a thousand years. Apples were carried from orchard to barn by cart, drawn by a big, grey horse--a percheron. The apples were milled and pressed into juice through straw--driven by that same horse--then fermented with wild yeast in used wine barrels. The resulting farm cider, or cidre fermier, was rustic and complex, with notes of both the farm and barrel.
Percheron Cidre Fermier is dedicated to the big, beautiful horse of Normandy. Like its French cousin, it bears the unmistakable scent of the farm, a strong body, and a gentle finish.
On an autumn afternoon along La Route du Cidre in Northern France, a crisp, misty air rolls in from off the shores of Normandy, through rustic family farms, rolling pastures, and orchard beds lined with freshly fallen apples. Along Michigan’s Cider Coast, fall is ushered in by chilled lake air, falling leaves, and ripe apples.
Virtue's Cidre Nouveau celebrates these sensations of fall and the promise of an autumn harvest ready to be fulfilled. Released each November, this young, dry, and vibrant sparkling cider is a worthy addition to the harvest treasures that will line your holiday table.
Long ago, it was easy to keep track of where our food and drink came from. If we didn’t raise it or harvest it ourselves, another local farmer did. Virtue Cider preserves this local connection with every cider we make, partnering with area farmers in their second, third, and fourth generations.
Virtue’s Estate Series ciders are a salute to our partnering farmers. Each cider represents a true expression of a single grower’s finest fresh apples, with little impact from yeast, and fermentation without barrel aging. Throughout the season, each release will showcase a partnering farm and the apples that place Michigan’s Cider Coast among the best growing regions in the world.
NICHOLS FARM & ORCHARD
A mix of Nichols’ early season, high acid apples, highlighted by their flavorful, floral Cox's Orange Pippin. The result is a bright, funky, sparkling dry cider with moderate tannins—a colonial farm cider fitting of our first Estate Series blend.
South Haven, MI
For 150 years, the Overhiser name has been a mainstay of Cider Coast fruit farming. A fifth generation farmer, Alan Overhiser oversees a 400 acre farm of more than 40,000 cherry, peach, plum, pear, and apple trees. Our Overheiser cider blends their aromatic Winter Banana and Winesap, and boldly tannic Golden Russet.
Nestled between rolling hills and rows of chestnut and pear, Spirit Springs’ heirloom apple trees produce several varieties appearing regularly in Virtue blends. A tribute to second generation family farmers Beth and Al Sampsell, this blend features their flavorful and acidic Ashmead’s Kernal, and the aromatic Sops of Wine and Titus Pippin.