The Cleveland Cider Scene
Refreshing to the Core
By Tom Okal
It's been around for over 2,000 years. The Romans produced it along with wine. The English have adored it for ages. It was the preferred drink of our country's forefathers. And now, it's making a thirst-quenching comeback in Cleveland. Welcome to the new world of cider.
Apples, of course, are the primary ingredient in cider. It is made like wine but you drink it like beer. And like craft beer, the flavor-profile possibilities are endless. Add honey, lemon and a spectrum of spices from cinnamon and cocoa to ginger and brown sugar ...and you get the idea.
In Cleveland, the major player is Griffin Cider Works, a production facility in Westlake. It was founded in 2010 by Richard Read, a transplanted Englishman who couldn't find a proper cider in the area, so he took things into his own hands. Griffin has crafted more than a dozen types of ciders from English-style cider to Lolo Romy, a cider-infused mango. As a testament to cider's growing popularity, in July 2015, Read opened Griffin Cider House, an English-style pub in Lakewood, offering eight varieties of cider on tap.
Also on board with the adult's version of apple juice, The Platfrom Beer Co., a lauded local brewery, is planning to open Urban Apple ciderie in 2016.
"It's the fastest growing segment in alcohol," says Platform's co-owner, Paul Benner. What was once a niche market is now becoming something significant. "We have a unique opportunity to stay ahead of the curve," adds Reed Jaskula, Benner's colleague.
To get a sense of cider's popularity on the local level, consider the Rock the Core Cider Festival that took place in Cleveland on September 12. Attendance was robust despite a late afternoon monsoon.
"Cleveland is a great market for cider," says Stu Martens, CEO of Drink the District, organizer of the festival. "Rock the Core Cider Festival will now be an annual event in Cleveland."
So when you ask Clevelanders, "How do you like them apples?" it sure looks like the answer is in the affirmative.
Here are just a few of their many ciders:
Griffin Original - Light, crisp, the quintessential West County English-style cider.
Burley Man - Medium dry, farmhouse style cider, full-bodied and unfiltered.
Honey Oak - made with four varieties of Ohio honey, light smoky oak flavor.
Look for Griffin at these area locations:
1948 W 25th St., Cleveland
Melt Bar & Grilled - all four locations!
Lakes Brewing Company
2516 Market Ave. Cleveland
2373 Professor Ave. Cleveland
2572 Scranton Rd. Cleveland
Lizardville Store & Bar - Check for
25380 Miles Rd., Bedford Hts.
Mustard Seed Market & Cafe -
Check for availability
6025 Kruse Dr. Solon
Earthfare Whole Foods - Check for availability
Heinen's - Check for availability
12401 Madison Ave, Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Urban Apple from Platform Beer Co. Ciderie and tasting room. Opening early 2106. Location TBD. Stay tuned and stay thirsty.