The traditional varietal isn't sweet like Magner's or plain apple juice/cider. It's actually a little tart, very light and very easy to drink. Like wine and grapes, the different types of apples produce different styles of apfelwein, and so it's possible to find versions that have a higher sugar content.
An apfelwein festival is held every year in the beginning of August, which is obviously a great time to pass through town. Producers come from the surrounding villages and rural areas to put their product on display, and there are of course the traditional food vendors slinging bratwurst and the like. If you aren't able to time your trip with the festival, head on over to the neighborhood of Sachsenhausen anytime of year for an apfelwein hall crawl. There are a lot apfelwein pubs amongst the small streets and half-timbered houses.
Another option is to take a 20-minute ride outside the city limits and visit an actual apfelwien orchard -- a beer garden that serves apfelwein, if you will. We visited Obsthof am Steinberg and enjoyed the picnic-table seating under the trees, the apples just above our heads.
Who would have thought... cider in Germany!
Photos: [Will McGough/Guestaurant]