In recent years, the Tasting House has added an outdoor live music venue and permanent food trucks that specialize in organic pizzas and tacos. “This is our 3rd season with the outdoor venue and food trucks and we are amazed at the response from the public,” said Dennis Mackey. “We have created a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere supported by local and regionally-known folk and bluegrass entertainers.
“In addition to the music venue and food trucks, we are working on a walking/cross-country ski trail and a disc golf course,” added Dennis Mackey. “And we are pet-friendly."
At Northern Natural Cider House and Winery, organic fruit is not a passing fad, it's a way of life.
Our Founder, Dennis Mackey, is a pioneer in the area of organic farming techniques and best-practices.
In fact, Northern Natural is one of only a handful of USDA Certified Organic hard cider producers in North America. “The requirements to become USDA Certified Organic are quite rigid so this is a pretty big deal to us,” said Dennis Mackey, CEO of Northern Natural. “It’s a distinction that we are very proud of.” Mackey has been involved in organic farming for nearly 40 years and opened Northern Natural in 1997.
“I guess you could say we are an overnight success 24 years in the making,” added Mackey.
The business is somewhat of a family affair as Mackey’s son Kyle, a trained chef, is the Head Brewer, and Dennis’ wife, Diane, manages the Tasting House. Kyle’s culinary background has a significant influence on the wine and hard cider flavors he creates. Both the Northern Star Hard Cider and Lavender Apple Hard Cider have been
recently awarded Gold Medals at the World Cider Championships, while the Traditional Hard Cider earned
a Bronze Medal. “The USDA Certified Organic fruit we use in our process, absolutely, impacts the taste of our hard ciders,” added Dennis Mackey. “When you start with premium ingredients and never use fruit concentrates, the taste of the products is noticeably different.” Another aspect that sets Northern Natural’s hard ciders apart from other brands is that they are sulfite-free. “We have developed a process that naturally
removes the sulfites,” added Mackey.
“For people who have issues with sulfites, our ciders are very easy to drink without the unpleasant side effects.”
The flavors produced by Northern Natural Cider House and Winery are unmatched. In addition to the award-winning bottled hard ciders mentioned above, Northern Natural Blueberry Apple and Northern Natural Elderberry Apple are also available in 12-ounce bottles at a growing number of retailers throughout Michigan. Meanwhile at the Tasting House in Kaleva, Michigan, an impressive array of avant-garde hard ciders are featured on-tap on a rotating basis. “We use the Tasting House as our venue to introduce new flavor combinations,” said Head Brewer, Kyle Mackey. “We do a lot of experimenting before we introduce a new flavor to the public.
Hard cider lovers are certain to appreciate the interesting combinations offered:
Chocolate Cherry, Cherry Ginger, Blueberry Waffle, Season’s End, Hibiscus Rose, Barrel Aged (using barrels from the nearby Iron Fish Distillery) and Sweet Orange Blossom.
The Tasting House offers hard cider in sample flights, by-the-glass, Growler or Howler.
Our Northern Nautral wines are also becoming very popular. “Right now, our wines are available exclusively at the Tasting House,” said Dennis Mackey.
Our selection of Northern Natural wines includes:
Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Dry Riesling, Riesling (2011 and 2018), Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Rose’ (temporarily sold out),
Rockin’ Robin Naturally Red, Rockin’ Robin Peach Wine, Rockin’ Robin Cherry Wine,
as well as Iced Apple Cider, Grape Desert Wine and Cherry Desert Wine.
Guests can sample all of the wines at the Tasting House and purchase bottles to go.