Cider Profile: Starcut Ciders

Cider Profiles are articles which highlight one cidery and several of their ciders.

Who: Starcut CidersWhere: Bellaire, MI

When we were on our Traverse City, MI road trip we met several people recommended that we go to Startcut Ciders/Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, MI which is about an hour northwest of Traverse City. On the day we planned to go snow…in March…happened.

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Yes, that is my shiny new rain boot that I went out and bought the day before, as well as all the deeply discounted gloves and scarves at the pharmacy chain across the street from the hotel. So instead of going out we let the boys play in the snow and the spent the rest of the day in the hotel pool.

So we were excited when we received samples* of three of Starcut’s ciders. Starcut is a new-comer to the cider market and was started by Short’s Brewing Company.IMG_3520

Everything that we heard about Short’s is that they are dedicated to Michigan and this is also true for Startcut with all of the apples being sourced from Michigan including local county farmers. And because Startcut does not demand a certain variety of apples the cider contains a range of apples which promote the complexity and variety of the local orchards.

Starcut’s bottles also have amazing art work. Starcut’s Art Director Jesse Den Herder tapped local artist Don Pendleton to design the bottle labels. Don has an interesting background in skateboard graphics and has designed labels for Startcut in his unique style of “organic cubism”.

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Starcut has a ton of ciders in their Cider Vault, but only a few currently available in bottles. We sampled Pulsar (a semi-dry hard cider), Octorock (a semi-sweet hard cider), and Immortal Jelly (a semi-dry hard cider).

Immortal Jelly is Starcut’s newest cider and will be available in Illinois around Memorial Day.IMG_3514 The cider is inspired by Short’s Brewing Company’s Soft Parade, a Fruit Rye Ale. Immortal Jelly is fermented with Michigan apples and a blend of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. The aromas of Immortal Jelly were a mix between yeasty beer and blueberries. The cider has a cloudy deep rose color with very few bubbles. The cider has light, clean and slightly tart apple flavors co-mingled with ripe berry flavors; not sweet but juicy. The cider was similar to a syrah rose. Syrah rose’s are know for dark fruit flavors and a bit of peppery in the finish.

Score: 7/10 – Very Good

Pulsar, which is now available in Illinois, is a semi-dry cider. IMG_3515I found it to be the driest of the bunch. But not bone dry. The local Michigan apples really shine through with this cider in both the aromas and flavors. The apple flavor is smooth with low tannins and finishes with a bit of bitterness. Like the other two ciders Pulsar is still and is reminiscent of a pinot grigio from Italy. These pinot grigios tend to be a little sweeter and more acidic than the US or French counterparts. The slight acidity of this cider and the lingering aftertaste will be familiar to these pinot grigio loves.

Score: 7/10 – Very Good

Octorock is a semi-sweet cider that is also available in Illinois. I often find that semi-sweet ciders are typically good to bring to parties. They are not too sweet for the die-hard craft cider fans or beer lovers, but are not too dry for those who are just IMG_3516getting into ciders. While this cider was a sweeter than the other two we tasted it was still nicely balanced. The acidity and tannis were very low in the cider. However the body was a bit heavier than the Pulsar and the apple flavors lingered more on the tongue. The cider has a slightly sweet nose and hints of candied apple flavors. The sweetness of the cider is similar to an off-dry Riesling. Just like a Riesling this cider is very aromatic and has rich sweeter apple flavors. Rieslings tend to finish a bit more acidic than the clean finish of this cider.

Score: 8/10 – Very Good

*Disclaimer: We typically buy most of the ciders we review, however these were graciously provided to us by Starcut. However their generosity in no way affects our review process.