It’s fall in Colorado, so that means candy corn, caramel apples, and of course, cider!
In these parts of the country, cideries are popping up in celebration of a different fermented fruit: apples. So, where can Coloradans go to experience the crisp taste, golden color, and growing fan base of this gluten-free libation? While the Front Range is home to some well-known cider houses, you will be enthralled by how much the region can offer collectively.
Here are some cideries where you can sip and swig right here in Colorado:
1. Wild Cider
A makeshift pizza oven and rustic picnic tables greet you when entering Wild Cider in Firestone, Colorado, a small town of 10,000 people about 45 minutes north of Denver. This laid-back approach is ever so inviting to revelers, and it’s entirely normal to find the place filled especially on weekends. The cider here tastes quite different from other ciders. The first impression you get is the tart and crisp flavor of fresh apples. After a few mouthfuls, you will notice that the taste balances perfectly, slightly sweet but also dry.
Wild Cider also has several rotating taps showcasing fruits, herbs, spices and honey additions. You can try Agave Peach, which is sweetened with agave and peach juice for a fresh peach flavor and a tantalizing aroma that leaps out of the glass.
Pouring 24 taps of hard cider, St. Vrain Cidery can be described as a rising tide in the industry. The Longmont cidery stands out with its unique fruit and spice blends such as Dry Ginger and Dry Chokeberry. The fruit in Dry Chokeberry is famed for its extra tartness and tannins affording it an extra dry finish, perfect for a Saturday afternoon hangout. Dry Ginger, however, is the highlight of the menu here, with the spice coming across with some fruity notes rather than the usual spicy burn. St. Vrain is currently expanding to 36 taps to enable them to pour a wider range of ciders and appeal to a larger audience.
Currently Denver’s favorite cider destination, this award-winning cidery has been on the scene since 2011. This cidery has 16 ciders on tap each with a distinctive taste and target crowd. The Glider Cider, however, is the cidery’s flagship cider if you are after a classic. The Glider Cider features slightly sweet apple flavors with a hint of tartness. The cider finishes much dryer than most commercial ciders.
While here, you can also sample the Radl’ah Session Cider. The Radl’ah Session Cider has a unique citrus twist thanks to the Lemon Balm and Lemongrass ingredients. Coming in at 4.25% ABV, it is the perfect easy drinking cider for any fall afternoon.
4. Stem Ciders
It’s been five years since Stem Ciders opened its doors to the public. The founding duo of Eric Foster and Phil Kao had a vision of reinventing Colorado’s cider space, and now looking back they surely have lived up to their vision. Today, the cidery features some of the most sought-after flavors. Top of the list is the Hibiscus session apple cider infused with hibiscus tea. The Hibiscus Session comes in at 4.3% ABV and can be perfectly paired with summer salads, tacos, lawn games, and tacos.
A Salted Cucumber Apple Cider is also a local’s favorite. This gluten-free cider is dry hopped with Citra hops and finished with sea salt and fresh cucumber. It’s best paired with burgers, brunch, cobbler, and pastrami.
Haykin Family Cider launched in February 2018 and features crisp ciders ranging from semi-dry to semi-sweet styles. Their ciders also have a higher carbonation than usual commercial ciders on the market and have been likened to sparkling wine. On the dry range, they have the Odds & Ends #5 coming in at 7.6% ABV. This cider has noticeable tannings with a unique flavor reminiscent of orange peel.
If you are not into dry cider, you can try their semi-sweet Pink Lady made from the pink lady, an Australian apple breed. The cider perfectly captures the pink lady’s character, layering lush and tropical notes.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
After years of focusing on production, Colorado Springs’ sole cider house opened its first tasting room just over 2 years ago. While the beginnings were humble, today Common’s unofficial motto is, “there is enough for everyone.” Since opening, they’ve experience tremendous growth, and rightly so. The cidery’s rotating taps have poured some of the most distinctive ciders in Colorado. The ciders range from dry and hopped to semi-sweet.
The Summit House semi-sweet cider is a local’s favorite here, perhaps because it is available all year round. The cider has a strong apple punch flavor that finishes dry. The Original Hopped Apple is also quite popular. This dry cider is hopped with locally grown Cascade, and Citra hops affording it a bold citrus twist.
The above list is by no means exhaustive, but it affords you a clear glimpse of Colorado’s prowess in the cider industry. There are a whole variety of flavors and sweetness levels to choose from.
At Rocky Mountain Food Tours, we are the first and only food tour operation in Colorado Springs. Over the years we have shared beautiful moments with local foodies and booze lovers, literally helping them get a taste of Colorado. Book a food tour with us today and let’s indulge in our region’s finest sips and bites.
Cheers, Your Rocky Mountain Food Tours Team