Millstone Cellars, the Freshmaker.

I'm starting to find that my most favorite Hipster Brewfus moments in recent history are all starting with this e-mail:

"Hi, my name is Jake, and I run Hipster Brewfus, a local Baltimore beer blog..."

Last week I sent this e-mail to Kyle from Millstone Cellars (yes the same one I have been flooding my Instagram, Untappd, and Twitter accounts with) and was invited to stop by when I had the time. Well, what do you know, that Sunday I had time. Me and the Brewfus Family piled into a car and headed off to Monkton, MD to imbibe some special ciders.

We both love this place, and have have actually been here one time before when we were notified that next time we can bring our dog.

Smells! Smells everywhere!

You pull up to see this sign and this building,...

...with a hodge-podge of barrels, mushy hops, and old things scattered around.

Oh, and fire trucks.

First off, being a rural CT transplant, in the heart of Baltimore-holy culture shock. Millstone Cellar speaks to all parts of me. The building smells of old wood and magic. And apple. And more magic. This place is the epitome of what I expect from cider makers. Its the rustic atmosphere I expect for this rustic beverage.

I met Kyle (the owner) at the tasting room bar, introduced myself, and we got our own little VIP tour. It was a surreal experience, hearing the relatively new history (they've only been in production for a bit over a year) From both Kyle and his Father. Hearing the back and forth between the two of them and how they toe the line between a winery and a craft brewer was a lot of fun. It's cool to think about too, because there isn't anyone in the area doing what Millstone does. So in my humble opinion they are free to do whatever the fuck they want. And that kind of freedom is working for them. I haven't had a bad batch of anything.

Their ciders (and meads) have made me realize that I know a veritable shit ton of nothing about cider (and meads). He educated me about the blending process they use with about 6 different ciders ("Oh like Lambic blends?" "yeah, same idea."), how different fermentables drive the "legality" of what they do, among other things. In the hour and a half we talked, I learned a LOT, and look forward to learning even more.

The tour is brief, but pretty great. It kicks off in the tasting room, where even here there are some barrels of experimental batches going on. And even some pilot batches. When we got there they were adding some lemon grass to a carboy, and that's pretty awesome.

We were able to sample a personal favorite of Kyles, a spanish style cider, laden with a funk and tang that really surprised me. I'm just not used to those kind of flavor profiles in a cider.

As you ascend to each new floor (4 in total), you are greeted to a veritable plethora of barrels. Each one full to the brim with some kind of cider, mead, "fruit wine," or "cyser." Using a thief, Kyle pulled a handful of samples from a handful of barrels for us to try. Among those were a really delicate peach "fruit wine," A ginger cider, their fish pepper cyser (a cider/mead blend) "Bonfire" (a personal favorite), blueberry mead, plum mead, and a mix of others. There was even some banana juice type drink that had not been decided what to do with.

Pilot batches in the tasting room. Second in from the right has Lemongrass in it.
Some were better than others, but nothing was bad. Some things just weren't ready when we tried it, so if I were to say "Oh I didn't like this part about this drink..." It wouldn't be fair, because the drink is still in its infancy stages (seriously, some of those drinks take nearly a year before they're ready).

I know, I know, I haven't really shut up about these guys for the last couple months, but I think I have every reason to be so excited. They are local, which is a huge bonus, and they have a product I will stand behind without a moments hesitation. They aren't confined to just playing it safe and releasing just any kind of plain old cider. These guys have DOZENS of different batches of things going on at any given time. That kind of bravery and boldness goes a long way.

It's been wonderful to see how the Baltimore craft scene has embraced these guys.

On top of everything, all the people there are nice, helpful, and knowledgeable. Their tours have a very intimate feel to them, and its all around, just a very pleasant way to spend a few hours on a weekend afternoon. I urge you, if you are local, to take the drive and head on over and test what you think you know about ciders.

It helps also that this place is just beautiful.

And they friggin let dogs come. They like dags.

You can check them out online: