The long and storied history of mead is no secret, especially if you're a fan of the beverage. Perhaps the oldest alcoholic drink in the world, mead is at it's core simply honey, water, and yeast. A simple, elegant, classic drink. Over the years people have expanded upon this formula to create the myriad of meads that you see available today - but we think one variety stands tall among the crowd - the delightful cyser.
Cysers take the basic mead formula and add one easy twist - apples. Instead of the alcohol coming from the fermentation of honey, as in a traditional mead, a cyser is a drink where both apple and honey are fermented together to produce a well-balanced, delicious, and (in our experience) very popular drink.
Cysers offer the sweetness of mead and the crispness of hard cider, a combination that's tough to beat. As we've grown, our line of cysers has also grown. And as the line has grown, we've encountered plenty of people wondering if we meant to say "cider" instead of "cyser". So, the next time someone asks you what a cyser is - you can point them here!
HISTORY OF CYSERSHoney and Apple - Together Forever
Mead traces it's roots back thousands of years. Honey has been collected and cultivated by man since the beginning of history, and mead wasn't far behind. Man's thirst for the sweet nectar has been well-documented. It wasn't just a drink for vikings - there's evidence of mead in Africa, Europe, India, and Asia. Anywhere man found bees, it seems he also found his way to mead.
With such a long history, it's no surprise that meadmakers have experimented with variations. You see it in the lineups of meaderies today - with draft meads, pyments, fruit meads, sour meads, cysers, and more.
Nobody knows who the first genius to add an apple to the honey fermentation was, but we can thank them for so many of the tremendous cysers that are on the market today.
Cyser vs Mead
We're tackling the tough questions here. If you sit at our bar long enough, you'll hear someone ask - "what's the difference between a cyser and a mead?"
The answer? Not a whole lot.
Our production process is very similar for a mead and a cyser. The biggest, and obvious, difference is that when we're beginning the process, we add apples in with our honey for the fermentation. We get apples from all over the state of Michigan, but usually it's a local variety. Like any drink, different apples yield different flavors and results. Our "Spyzer Cyser", for instance, features spy apples. While other cysers - like our "Evil Twins" - features a variety of different apples.
It's not a hard and fast rule, but our cysers tend to turn out slightly more dry than a straight mead.
Cyser vs Cider
Another question you'll hear plenty - "What's the difference between a cyser and cider?"
That's another simple answer - cysers feature honey. Ciders don't. We do occasionally offer a straight cider on our taps - "St. Cider" features 11 varieties of apples of grown in Michigan and no honey - but typically we stick to the cyser game.
Fun fact - hard cider was the drink of choice in colonial America, before beer took over as our main beverage. The first apple trees were planted in America (as far as we know!) in 1620, and the Mayflower voyagers brought over a cider press. The first shipment of honeybees was recorded in 1622 - so it's possible the first "cyser" in America was produced before the Revolution! Changes in immigration patterns and, eventually, Prohibition, wrecked havoc on the American hard cider industry - but as we all know, it's been making a comeback (along with mead!) during our current craft beverage renaissance.