The American craft beer revolution is in full swing. It’s been a long time coming to demand a better product versus a poorly-crafted, mass produced American lager. Hard cider currently has a similar stereotype to overcome. The common misconception of cider is a sickly-sweet sugar bomb without much alcohol. “Manly” men shy away from the drink because they believe masculinity and all things ego will be called into question. Cider can be and is more than that. It’s been a part of pub culture in Europe for a very long time and a great cider can be the perfect alternative to beer, especially when the summer thermometer continues to climb.
Last week, we found time to visit the Colorado Cider Company and, lo and behold, they offer a great alternative to “mainstream” hard apple cider.
Upon our visit, we were greeted by two great guys from Colorado Cider Co.: Brad Page, founder, and Justin Damadio, brewer. The tour of the facility revealed a lot of open space and room for growth. The building’s architecture encompasses a great amount of natural light to makes the brew house seem clean, crisp, and bright. The next crop of apples won’t be ready until September or October, so it was great to see that their cooler was nearly full of finished product and ready for distribution.
We stuck around for a couple hours after the tour just to chat with Justin and Brad and, of course, drink cider. Currently, they have two versions of their Glider Cider, a dry and a sweet. The sweet version is definitely not what you would think of as a typical sweet cider. It has a good amount of tartness to balance out a little back sweetening. The dry version really drinks like a lightly fizzed prosecco; it is quite tart and refreshing with just a hint of juice added back into the finished product. Both of these extremely drinkable products weigh in at almost 7% abv, so be careful as they certainly don’t taste like it.
The Colorado Cider Co. is really the first commercial cider company in Colorado and is off to a great start with 40 accounts of which six bars that keep the cider on draft. Look for Glider on tap at The Rackhouse, The Ale House at Amato’s, Wynkoop Brewhall, Ghost Plate and Tap, Oskar Blues and Front Range BBQ in Colorado Springs. A full list of where you can buy bottles at over 36 liquor stores in the state is on their website. As always, the tap room is available with some cider on nitro–a very interesting notion. Just be sure to call ahead. Colorado Cider Co will be doing a tasting at Colorado Liquors in Parker on July 9th and will be at Fiddles, Vittles and Vino on July 31st.
Some fun facts about Colorado Cider Co.
Their goal is to eventually source all their apples from Colorado and Brad has even purchased land on the Western Slope where he is planting an orchard.
The yeast they use is similar to a white wine yeast and is so active that the cider comes completely dry and the yeast must be filtered out before any more sweetness is added. This is true of all ciders, but most companies choose to either add a whole lot more sweetener or to cut fermentation and keep residual sugars.
Cider is just starting to be “craft brewed” because it was taxed just like champagne up until 1998 and is still technically a wine as far as liquor laws go.
Brad Page was one of the original partners as Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing in Ft. Collins and even though he loves beer, he admits to sometimes getting beer fatigue. This makes cider a great alternative.
Cider apples do not look or taste good until they are fermented and made into cider. Most apples actually do not work for cider. This means that all the apple trees being planted for cider must be grafted from other cider trees instead of being grown from seeds.