PARADISE CIDERS is Hawai’i’s premier (and only) hard cider company located in the tucked away and surprising neighborhood of Kalihi. Founded by a wave chasing Minnesota transplant, Kasey Sulheim and an East Honolulu former Waldorf School and University of Hawai'i Academy of Creative Media Alum, Shaun Peck. Small batched and handcrafted, Paradise Ciders is setting out to break the humdrum and the monotonous norms of Cider making by marrying Washington State apples and locally sourced fruits into a delectable coruscating liquid that would make the most hard-core beer drinking hipster put down the IPA and pick up a glass of Paradise Cider. Shaun and Kasey have not only mastered the perfect ensemble of ciders but figured out how to bottle the spirit of aloha by supporting local growers and putting back into the community, a principle incredibly important not only on the functionality of their company but how they function as individuals.
HOW THE MAGIC HAPPENS:
Like most ciders, Paradise Ciders starts with juice from Washington State apples. Similar to wine making, but instead of grape juice, apple juice is used as the base.
The apple juice is then put through a low temperature fermentation alongside Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, a principle yeast used to dry down the apple cider profile in order to reduce the strong flavors of the apple while elevating the ethanol levels, similar to that of the English style.
In the secondary fermentation, locally sourced fruit along with other proprietary fruits are hand squeezed personally by Shaun and Kasey to make fruit flavor more profound and center stage in taste. This process is done without adding any extra sugar other then what the fruit provides. This is unlike other cider companies that incorporate an immeasurable amount of sugar to lower their production costs. Carbonation is then introduced to the ferment. After three months, a spunky, fruity, pungent and sweet yeasty refreshment that’s not a beer but not quite a wine reveals itself.
Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of Cider
This identity crisis of sorts has its positives and negatives. One of the pros, cider companies are operated as wineries as legally regulated as such by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Due to these legalities cider companies have a sizable area of room concerning ABV percentage. The average consumer beer’s ABV is 4.5% and 11.6% with wine. Cider companies have the luxury to sit somewhere between these two numbers with the option to meet the same percentage yield as wine or even higher. The downside regrading ABV is heavy taxation as anything above 7% ABV, according to federal law, is subjected to a higher “wine” tax rate and that’s not including the carbonation tax. Given this fact, most cider companies stray away from producing high ABV ciders and the extra lofty production cost to produce said ABV.
HOW TO BUY:
Paradise Cider sells their cider wholesale as kegs to local bars and restaurants, the ciders are even favorites amongst craft bartenders and can be found on cocktail menus at some of your favorite craft forward dwellings. Unfortunately the cider is not currently being bottled for individual sale. . . yet! However a nice growler can be purchased on site at the production facility, and kegs are also available for purchase for weddings and events.
LINE EM’ UP:
Lei’d Back Lili’koi, 6.9% ABV:
Is Paradise Cider’s first rollout, inspired by Shaun’s love for Hawaiian Sun’s “Lilikoi Passion”. This childhood favorite turned into a tart and tangy libation that encompass the true liquid definition of Aloha. Made with locally grown passion fruit, the bright citrus bouquet perfectly melts into the body of cider. This delivers a subtle sweetness to the palate. The Lilikoi cider pairs well with light fares such as, fish and shellfish and can even be enjoyed with more fruit forward sweet dishes. Cheers to getting lei’d!
Pineapple Cruzer, 6.6% ABV:
A soft bouquet of pineapple on the nose, this cider leans on the dry side. Slightly reminiscent of Chardonnay, these flavors make Pineapple Cruzer accidentally or purposefully easy to consume in a heavy quantity. The pineapple flavor found in this cider stands forward, forcing the apple base behind the familiar tartness and the unmistakably sweet profile of Dole Plantation grown pineapples. The English Style pineapple cider given its dry, effervescent and semi sweet heavy yeast personality would best pair with a nice crisp salad or lightly prepared chicken dish (grilled or roasted). Bread puddings and other dense desserts would work well with this cider.
Mango Daze, 6.0% ABV:
The flavor found in this hyper tropical fragrant cider features a diverse catalog of the many different varieties of mango found in Hawai'i. Delivering a perfect blend of tart and sweet, the invigorating properties in this cider makes for the perfect slow sipping summertime drink. Whether you're enjoying a relaxing beach day or family bbq this cider makes for great company. Mango Daze cider pairs well with fish and shellfish dishes, it’s also great with spicy fare.
With slight watermelon and berry flavors and a earthy limestone undertone this cider delivers a light minerality and sweet finish. The partnership between the blue agave, prickly pear and apple works extremely well creating a refreshing finish. Pairs well with salads, fish, cheese boards and light finger foods.
Guava Lava, 5.2% ABV
The familiar nuance of pear and strawberry flavor found in this amazing fruit makes for a true guava experience. The Guava Lava cider delivers a sort of graduating flavor, The top note is a semi-sweet true ode to cider with the secondary note belonging to the velvety deep pink flavors of guava then fades back to apple on the palate. This cider pairs well with cheese boards, pork, chicken and beef.
KIllah Dragon, 6.0% ABV:
Raspberry, blueberry and even grape appear on the nose of this cider creating a complex of flavor like none other and if that wasn’t enough you get this amazing finish of watermelon that sits quietly on the palate. This cider pairs well with salads, chicken and beef.
THE WRAP UP:
There’s only one choice when it comes to Hawai'i Cider, Paradise Ciders! However, they produce the only tropical fruit ciders available in Hawai'i (outside Ace Pineapple). Though the price can be high, it can be explained to guests with the simple fact that they don’t back sweeten their ciders, everything is made from real fruit and handcrafted entirely by both Shaun and Kasey. Furthermore, on premise sales at Maui Brewing and Lanikai Brewing show that Paradise Cider is certainly in high demand. #BuyLocal
Mahalo Nui Loa to Kasey and Shaun for having us and allowing us to taste, learn and write about your amazing ciders, it was truly a pleasure witnessing the amazing work you guys are doing! Check out www. paradiseciders.com to learn more about this young and soaring company and where to pull up and grab a nice cold glass of Paradise!!!
See you at the tap!
Tasting Room: 2003 Colburn Street, Honolulu, Hawai'i 96819