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Hidden Cave Cidery

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Middleton, WI

 

Crusin' Rating: To Be Decided (still under construction)

Booze Rating: C- (Plenty of Room to Grow)

 
Front door of Hidden Cave Cidery

Sometimes, meeting individuals in the industry can make the difference between an “okay” experience and an amazing experience (in the case with Cercis Brewing Company and Commerce Street Brewery and Hotel). Sometimes, meeting people in the industry teaches you about connections to your past (in the case with The Runaway), and other times, meeting people in the industry inspires you to try spots that are just budding to fruition. Hidden Cave Cidery is one of those times.


About two years ago, Hannah, The Prankster, and I had worked a gig called the Wisconsin Craft Cider Tasting II (okay it was a sequel, but the first time we attended). To make a long story short after a brilliant time at this event, the three of us were packing up and looking for some food to cut through the buzz of sixty cider tastings. We settled on a spot down the street and ended up inviting a young lady who was also at the Fest. Long story short, her name is Marcy and she lets us in on a secret cider place that is in the works. Fast forward a year or so past COVID and lo and behold what do we see on her newsfeed? Hidden Cave Cidery! So thank you Marcy for keeping us connected to the up and coming new establishments.


Walking up to the building, we weren’t entirely sure we were in the right spot, with a place this new you never know what you’re walking into! We expected the construction and we really didn’t mind the small signage at all. Walking into the back of the space we discovered a small bar, cider tanks, and what looked like brand new picnic tables under pop-up awnings. I liked it, obviously, it wasn’t fancy trappings, but it was pretty home-feeling, like being at a neighbors graduation party.


Outdoor space at Hidden Cave Cidery

A small note, we did have to reserve a table because of the limited space. The reservations are free and for set amounts of time, anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour and a half. Well, the table we reserved was filled up with people that were overstaying their reservation so I guess I did muse why have the reservation system at all? Luckily there was another table available so no harm done.


Since the space is still under construction we are going to hold off rating it until later on down the line, so let’s get right into the cider. I know we usually provide the ABV but we did not see it listed anywhere.


The still under construction tasting room

This review puts us between a rock and hard space. On the one hand, we have our passion for hyper local places that serve imbibements. On the other hand, we have to remain objective. We have dealt with cider on a professional level and are educated on grafting processes, the history of cider apples in Wisconsin, and have been acquainted with pioneers in the cider apple business for years now. The cider scene in Madison is highly competitive, and we are steeped in it. We’re familiar with the Cider Farm, Restoration Cider, and Mershon’s through events and interviews before the blog even started. It’s just highly competitive.


Tasting Flight at Hidden Cave

Lemongrass - Lemon mixed with fresh apples on the nose but missed the lavender described. It was nice and tart, some tannin presence, and notes of honey. There was definitely lavender on the palate and we decided it was not for us. Love the scent, but not the taste of that particular flower.


Rose Hip Rosemary - Earthy nose with the definite presence of rosemary. Had a big bold rosemary nose, think of how strong gin tastes of juniper, this was the same way with rosemary like it was freshly picked from the garden. It was medium dry and had an earthy finish. Clear Riesling in color.


Hibiscus Juniper - Smelled floral and, although juniper is a pretty distinct smell, that we couldn’t find. The hibiscus is what really stood out to us. This cider was almost pilsner in color and had a sweet finish. Overall an okay cider.


French Toast - Cinnamon and apple on the nose, like apple pie with a little maple syrup on it. It tastes strongly of cinnamon and butter. We actually thought this cider would work better without the apple in it OR without whatever was added for the buttery taste. An apple-cinnamon would be a solid fall offering and a cider that tasted overall of pancake toppings would also be fun. Instead it sat in the middle and you don’t really think of apples when you think of french toast. We always like fun options for cider though.


Chocolate Hazelnut - Speaking of fun, who doesn’t like a cider that is full on tootsie roll on the nose? To me, this cider tasted like a chocolate covered brandy cherry from my grandparents Christmas party (the chocolate, not the cherry itself), you know those store-bought cherries? To us, the chocolate here was a solid miss. It was jarring to be met with tootsie roll holding the glass up and then moving into a juicy apple. Without the chocolate flavoring I think this would be a really solid standard cider.


Dry Cider - This cider smelled pretty standard and didn’t take too many notes. It could be interchangeable on the nose for any big name cider, except this one is made locally. So if you’re a fan of Angry Orchard but would rather support local, get to Hidden Cave! This wasn’t too busy and I would say semi dry.


I think we will leave you with this. Hidden Cave Cidery has some good ideas and definitely has plenty of room to grow. There are bound to be ciders there that rival anywhere else in the state in terms of creativity. We will definitely look forward to trying them again and giving them a second shot once the space is done.


Until next time, keep on crusin’, don’t stop boozin’!


To learn more about Hidden Cave Cidery please visit their website at: www.hiddencavecidery.com or Facebook at: @HiddenCaveCidery or Instagram at: @HiddenCaveCidery

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