Episode 41: Cider-Making in Minnesota’s Apple Capitol, Cocktails at the Hewing Hotel

A view of the Minneapolis skyline from the rooftop of Minnesota's Hewing Hotel

Short show, but we get quite a bit done. I spoke with Steven Jones of Hoch Orchard at Cider Fest a few weeks back. Hoch Orchard is located in Le Cresent, Minnesota, in the heart of the Driftless Region. Jones explained how glaciers played a part in Le Crescent’s eventually becoming the apple capitol of Minnesota!

Jones’ role in sales for the orchard comes with a side of animal feeding in the morning — hey, family business, you wear a lot of hats. He talked about how those animals aid in pest control, and the benefits of living at work.

One of the ciders I got most excited about when I first met Steve was Hoch Orchard’s Purple Reign. Yeah, it’s a Prince tribute. Anyone can put a song title on something and call something a Prince tribute, sure, but these guys went one step further. This is no gimmick. They did it right.

We talked outside City House in St. Paul, along the Mississippi River. The wind wanted an interview, too. I said no, but it spoke up a couple of times anyway. Apologies in advance for that.


I kicked off the episode with a cocktail at Tullibee in the Hewing Hotel, which has quickly become a new favorite spot for me. I re-united in spirit with a good friend (who is still alive, don’t worry) and let everyone know just how comfortable I’ve gotten at Tullibee. Doing it live is a thing again! (Sort of)

I’ll have an interview with Tullibee’s award-winning lead bartender, Trish Gavin, in the coming weeks, but that night she gave me a great tour of the Hewing’s legendary rooftop bar. The tour included an imaginary dip in their jet-filled wading pool and a flight of Slushie cocktails.

Slushie cocktails? Slushie cocktails! Michael breaks it down in this video below.

Finally, I deliver some personal news. Nothing too intense, though – I just talk about what Game of Thrones has done for me that hasn’t been done by a television show since high school, and some exciting developments in House Haataja (not Apartment Haataja, not Townhome Haataja, HOUSE Haataja!).



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