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Mershon's Cider

Stoughton, Wisconsin


Crusin' Rating: C-

Booze Rating: B


Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Cider Blogger- Mershon's Cider- Welcome Sign with Ciders on tap

This week, Hannah and I have The Artist in tow and we are checking out another spot just a short drive from Madison in Stoughton, WI.   We thought it was time to add a cider trip to our menu since it’s been since Fall ‘23 since we were sipping on some Island Orchard Ciders up in Door County.  Stoughton is much closer to home and a spot that we’ve visited a couple of times since the owner, Joseph Baird, opened up a small tasting room that sat a whopping four people on the side of a shed going on six years ago.  Mershon’s Cidery has come a long way and moved into a much larger and more prominent location right on Main Street.  

Joseph has had a major hand in bringing cider to the forefront of the Wisconsin seen by hosting and birthing the Wisconsin Craft Cider Tasting.  This is an event hosting hard cider, mead, and apple wine only and is a great event - one Hannah, The Prankster, and I have all worked before in different capacities for various WI cideries.  If it’s an event you haven’t heard of or been to, check it out!  It’s a great way to try all of the ciders we’ve reviewed on Crusin’ for Booze and a great way to spot some we may not have tried yet!

Like I said, Mershon’s has come a long way from those early days but the quality of cider coming out has stayed consistent over the years.  Mershon’s ciders - unlike The Cider Farm - is going to feature some sweeter ciders but don’t worry, that extra sweetness is coming from local wildflower honey - so there’s no need to worry about any fakey syrups added in or artificial sweeteners.  While even the driest cider here is going to be sweet relative to some old-world style ciders, if you’ve got a sweet tooth or a penchant for sweeter ciders this is definitely your spot!  If you’re imbibement nerds like us, that means all of the ciders that Mershon’s puts out are technically cysers - an cider/mead hybrid!

Unlike when they first started, Mershon’s now has much more room than four people up at the bar.  The new tasting room is absolutely huge.  Located in a former theater, the space features street-facing windows, high ceilings, a production area, large bar, and a wall-sized projector screen.  Hannah noted that the space is largely unfussy but did think that the space could use a little refinement.  Mershon's bottles feature some really neat artwork that all have a comic-book or 80s pulp magazine feel to them, and the Mershon’s crest has a sword and sorcery feel to it.  We all agreed we would like to see the space take on that theme a little more and have an inn or tavern feel to it.  As the Artist noted, she thinks it’s a little cobbled together as is with mismatched chairs and tables.  Hannah suggested adding touches to make this large and somewhat empty space a little more cozy - whether that be additional artwork, themed decor, or even some rugs or plusher furniture.  I will say I have to agree and you always know that we love an interesting space as much as we enjoy good imbibements.  That’s not to say the space was messy or bad, maybe just a little spartan.  It was - for a large space, fairly quiet on a Sunday afternoon with maybe a dozen people present.  I could easily see it getting a little echoey with live music and have faint recollections of a traveling Irish Folk singer performing the last time we were there.

On to the Cider though!  Mershon’s does offer small snack plates, ice cream, non-alcoholic beverages, beer, and wine.  While we didn’t see anyone carry in food, I do strongly suspect that both food carry-ins and dogs are allowed, but we weren’t able to confirm it.  

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Cider Bloger- Merchon's Cider- Cider Flight

The cider flight is really a fantastic deal at $15 for six 6 oz pours, and pints of Cider running around $6.  Be careful when tasting as they can easily sneak up on you as the Artist may have found out!

Snowed In Cinnamon (6.0% ABV) -  A favorite that we go back to, this cloudy yellow-brown cider really smells of cinnamon and clove and baking spice on the nose and tastes of apple tarts that move into strong but not overpowering cinnamon and features relatively medium sweetness.  Hannah describes this one as a: 

“Quintessential Apple Cider"

If you think of a hard apple cider in fall, this one is perfect and there’s been more than one occasion in which we’ve just warmed this cider up a bit and served it at a little soiree.  This one never disappoints.

Death Valley Dry (10% ABV) - The driest cider Mershon puts out and the highest ABV, this highly carbonated cider is as pale as champagne with medium high clarity.  Smelling slightly hot and of apple skins and green grapes, this cider has flavor full of slightly under ripe apples, a touch of floral honey (sans honey sweetness) and even a little bit of heat from the alcohol.  This one is a little too on the boozey side of a cider for me and doesn’t quite have the sweetness to match up to it like a mead does.  I think my least favorite of the bunch.

Grapple Cider (7.0% ABV) - This slightly mauve-rosé cider smells of plenty of rich honey and deep concord grape juice.  Sweet and juicy when tasting, I think this one treads into cloyingly sweet as the Artist pointed out, and Hannah thinks it goes beyond that to jammy territory.  Too sweet for Hannah, with the Artist enjoying it quite a bit, and I believe it’s a little different but probably wouldn’t want more than a glass.  I would assume that this one probably gives you the worst headache the next day- so don't forget to hydrate.

Peach Escape Cider (7.0 % ABV) -   This light yellow cider smells of peach juice and low apple notes.  Tasting of peach puree, almost like a honey Bellini without the champagne made of white peach flesh with a touch of honey I quite enjoy this one for its novelty, but I am alone in that respect as the Artist and Hannah agreed this was too sweet for their taste.

Brandy Barrel-Aged Cider (9.0% ABV) - While certainly not the first barrel-aged cider we have run into as they begin to gain popularity, I do think this is the most aggressively barrel-tasting cider I can remember.  Lager gold in color, I picked up heavy wood, barrel, and prunes on the nose.  Hannah noted that the brandy was a little overpowering on the nose, and the Artist, who bravely decided to tackle a flight on her own mentioned:

"I can’t smell sh*t, I'm drunk.”  -

That’s quite alright - she was on a well deserved day out with us. I picked up prunes and wood when tasting right away and fairly heavily, also noted red apples and Hannah, surprisingly, although she dislikes brandy, said that the sweetness and apple characteristics here made it taste like a tolerable old-fashioned without the bitters (a drink she doesn’t always rush to).  We all agreed that the honey here played well with the brandy for an easy finish.  

 Remember, a Cyser is both a cider made with honey, and a mead made with apples so it can be a little confusing. And defining a Cyser as a fruit-mead that can get a little murky.  For our purposes these are made with fermented apple juice with the addition of honey so we will call them Cysers under the larger cider umbrella.  It tracks then that these are going to run sweeter than a lot of standard ciders. 

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Cider Blogger- Merchon's Cider- Bottles of Cider to go

So if you’re looking to expand your Cyser horizons, check out Mershon’s!  It’s a short drive from Madison and doable from Milwaukee and if you’re into all things apple you can easily add this to a day wherein you hit The Cider Farm, Brix Cider, or Hidden Cave Cidery for an Johnny Appleseed booze cruise.  While Hannah and I may not have Cyser as our favorite style, its definitely nice to see some fun and variable things done with a Cyser.  Joseph is doing great things for the Wisconsin cider scene and is always very supportive of other local Wisconsin Cideries!

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

To learn more about Mershon's Cider please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @MershonsCider or on Instagram: @MershonsCider

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