Cider Rules: Bantam Cider’s Latest Creations
See how Bantam is taking apple-based brews to the next level.
Two years ago, Bantam Cider entered the growing artisanal-cider movement with its flagship brew, Wunderkind—an effervescent, honey-tinged beverage that quickly made its way onto restaurant menus citywide. After a couple of successful follow-ups, Bantam owners Dana Masterpolo and Michelle da Silva decided to expand their portfolio even further in March, with a 1,300-square-foot taproom adjacent to their Somerville brewery that brings eight draft (and a few bottled) ciders to the fore. At right, a closer look at five ripe-for-the-drinking creations available on the premises.
Bantam’s latest bottled brew stars smoked apples that were fermented with a strain of saison yeast. The result? A smoky cider with umami-like undertones (like apple pie paired with cheddar cheese).
A Montmorency cherry–based cider was aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels for a combination of fruit tannin, tart cherry juice, and natural vanilla notes that “complement each other beautifully,” Masterpolo says.
To evoke the flavor of witbiers like Allagash White, Bantam infuses dried bitter-orange peel, Belgian wit yeast, and coriander into the ferment. The result has the same wheat bite and crisp citrus aroma of a nice hefeweizen.
Bantam experiments with several rotating varieties of hops—like Fuggles, Kent Golding, and Glacier—to achieve different flavors. “They all change the cider dramatically,” Masterpolo says. “Apples are quick to take on the flavor of anything you ferment with them.”
Inspired by Oleana, one of da Silva’s favorite restaurants, this cider contains a heady blend of cardamom, cinnamon, rose petals, and coriander. The beverage “smells like autumn,” Masterpolo says, and has a pronounced wassail-like nose of cinnamon and spice.
Bantam’s taproom is open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays from 4–7 p.m. and Saturdays from 1–7 p.m.; 40 Merriam St., Somerville, 617-299-8600, bantamcider.com