Dry, aromatic and alcoholic, cyser (pronounced sizer) is a type of mead made by fermenting honey in apple cider. According to Hank Frecon, humans have been keen on the stuff since ancient Babylon. His family’s orchards in Boyertown provide the raw material for Frecon’s Hard Cider, an all-local line of fruity ferments made for Kutztown’s Blair Vineyards and sold at Frecon Farms.
The sparkling, bottle-conditioned lineup features a take on cyser—the tart, golden Crabby Granny (Granny Smiths, crabapples and wildflower honey)—and two New England-style hard ciders, Early Man and Hogshead.
“Both New England-style ciders have brown sugar and golden raisins added to the fermentation,” says Frecon, who feels their fruity dryness compares nicely to light Belgian beers.
Made from early-crop Gravenstein and McIntosh apples, Early Man is designed as an “ideal hot-weather drinking brew,” as well as a clean pairing with sharp cheeses and poultry. Named for the traditional 63-gallon barrel, Hogshead’s heartier structure is achieved by pressing full-blush Stayman-Winesap and other late-season apples, then maturing the juice on French and American oak. Frecon suggests matching it with barbecue.
For their second annual roll-out in early June, Frecon and fellow cider-maker Jamie Bock have quadrupled last year’s production to about 5,600 bottles total, all hand-capped. Look for 22-ounce bombers of all three varieties for around $10 each at Frecon Farms (501 S. Reading Ave., Boyertown), farmers markets (freconfarms.com) and Sly Fox Brewhouse (520 Kimberton Road, Phoenixville), where they’ll host a cider night Fri., June 17.