Not just another stop on the Traverse City wine trail, Tandem Ciders is a unique experience, a welcoming country pub and tasting room tucked among the glacial moraines and high hilltop orchards of the Leelanau Peninsula.
The day we stopped in, Tandem was offering samples of six or seven ciders, three from the tap, a few more from the bottle, and one, the Pomona—a blend of sweet cider and Tandem's house-made apple brandy—served straight from a small oak cask set up near the door to the production facility.
Every cider we tasted was well made and complex. Though all were good, the clear winners in my book were of the dry persuasion. Among this sub-category I enjoyed the Crabster most, a cider owing its name to uber-sour crab apples, the addition of which (three separate kinds) enlivened each sip wonderfully—this is one tart cider, but in a pleasing, refreshing way, so good I bought a bottle to take home with me ($12/750ml).
More than a tasting room, Tandem offers pints and half-pints of their draft cider for enjoyment on-premise (between $2-4). Inside the small but comfortable pub one call "belly up" or play a game or two of cricket on the dartboard in the corner. If the weather is nice—it was stunning the day we visited—you're welcome to sip your cider outside while partaking in a game of horseshoes. If your mood is more contemplative, you can simply sit and stare at the incredibly peaceful views of the surrounding countryside. The roasted peanuts are complimentary.
Tandem sources all their apples from area farmers, and why not—their neighbors up and down the peninsula grow some of the best apples this side of northern France. The tasting room and production facility are located at 2055 N. Setterbo Rd, Suttons Bay, MI 49682. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6pm, and Sunday, noon to 5pm. Tandem Ciders is closed Monday and Tuesday.
|A half-pint of Early Day (or what's left of it)|
|The bottle I took home|
Tandem's ciders are not yet available for retail in Grand Rapids. If and when that changes, Siciliano's will be sure to carry a good selection.