Lost Valley Cider Rules

Lost Valley Cider Co. | Milwaukee, Walker’s Point

What did you do last Tuesday night? I was lucky enough to round up two of my girlfriends and get three tickets (only $15 each!) to: Lost Valley Cider Co. Presents: Finnriver Cider & Clock Shadow Creamery; Cider & Cheese Pairing.

  • Finnriver Oak & Apple. oak aged cider. 6.5ABV semi-dry } Cedar Grove Montague. Cow & sheep milk blend.
  • Finnriver Forest Ginger. Fir needles and organic ginger. 6.5ABV semi-dry } Cedar Grove Cheddar. Organic aged white cheddar.
  • Finnriver Black currant Lavender. Lavender flowers and black currant. 6.5ABV semi-sweet. } Cedar Grove Butterkaese. Soft & buttery.

So apparently there is this thing called Cidercon in Chicago each year (putting that on the list for next year)…like Comic-Con, but for drinkers. Cider makers from around the country converge on the orchard that is Chicago, which is why on a chilly Tuesday night in Milwaukee, Lost Valley Cider Co. hosted this paring event with Finnriver Farm & Cidery and Cedar Grove Creamery…because what goes better with cheese than cider? (but really, does anything not go with cheese?)

Jana from Finnriver Farm & Cidery  in Chimacum, Washington was scheduled to present the ciders at this event, however, with an inch of snow on the west coast, her flight was canceled. I completely forgot the guy’s name that stepped in for Jana (too much cider) so we’ll just call him “Mike”.  “Mike” kicked off the event with an intro of the idyllic Finnriver Farm (http://www.finnriver.com) and was followed by Bob Wills from Cedar Grove Cheddar of Plain, Wisconsin. Bob Wills is the big cheese head cheese maker and owner of Cedar Grover Creamery and at Walker’s Point’s very own Clock Shadow Creamery.  The anticipation was monumental as we each were each presented with our very own plentiful plate-o-cheese and cider filled to the rim.

I was pretty proud of my restraint as we sat through introductions and YouTube tour of Finnriver Farm…for what seemed like 20 minutes.  Finally, we dove into the first samples as “Mike” described the flavor notes of the cider and Bob enlightened us on the cheese.

We learned loads of fun facts…for example, as with beer, cider can also be aged in whiskey barrels (typically for 90 days).  What is unique about the Finnriver Oak & Apple cider is it’s only aged for 45 days, hence, the mild smoky flavor.

As we savored our cider, Bob took to the mic and narrated the Cedar Grove Creamery story.  The Cedar Grove Creamery was founded in 1878 in Plain, Wisconsin, and purchased by Bob Wills and his wife in 1989. The couple also founded Clock Shadow Creamery in 2012. Their best selling cheese is the Pleasant Ridge Reserve, which we unfortunately did not get to taste. We learned  there are over 150 cheese makers in Wisconsin. Impressively, Clock Shadow Creamery is the first urban cheese factory in Wisconsin, and currently the only cheese factory in the City of Milwaukee.

It’s funny, between the three of us, we each had a different favorite cheese of the night.  Amy’s was the melt-in-your-mouth butterkaese that we had the pleasure of sampling alongside the Finnriver Black currant Lavender. Out of the three, my favorite pairing was the Finnriver Forest Ginger with the aged white cheddar. Lindsay’s was the Oak & Apple paired with the Cedar Grove Montague.

The event was sold out at about 30 people and it was a treat in such an intimate setting to be able to talk one-on-one with Bob and “Mike” after the three pairings.  Ironically, Lindsay was heading past Plain, Wisconsin to visit her family the following weekend and happily got a personal invitation to visit Cedar Grove Creamery from Bob.

It was great catching up with the girls, and being introduced to Finnriver Farms and Cedar Grove Creamery. As we were wrapping up our evening, we were distracted by the sounds of champagne popping (swoon!).  We didn’t realize there was a fourth pairing (bonus!).

  • Finnriver Sparkling Cider. Champagne style. 8.0 ABV brut. } Camino Clock Shadow Creamery cheese curd.

As a Wisconsin native, having sampled numerous cheese curds, I’d have to say, these were definitely in the top three.  And the Finnriver Sparkling Cider…champagne style, you say? Enough said. I left with a few bottles.  Check out Lost Valley Cider Co.’s website (http://www.lostvalley.com/tastings/) for their next event – I’ll see you there.  Thanks Bob & “Mike”.  Cheers!


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