The cider boom is bringing lots of activity to the Central Texas distillery scene, and one of the fastest growing brands has just added its fifth flavor to the line, as well as a new variety pack.
MORE: Want to explore the dozens of breweries, distilleries and cideries through Central Texas? Check out our Austin360 Boozery guide.
Blood orange is the latest flavor from Austin Eastciders, the cidery that started in East Austin in 2013 and now has 56 employees working out of an expanded facility they opened in Southeast Austin last year.
The orange flavor is the fifth in a line that also includes pineapple, Texas honey, original and a slightly hopped version. Starting next month, Austin Eastciders will sell a variety 12-pack with the first four flavors.
The cider is sold in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston, as well as at Costco, H-E-B and Whole Foods Markets in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Virginia.
From a release:
Blood Orange is a zesty, dry cider crafted with bright red Sicilian blood oranges, heirloom bittersweet apples and American dessert apples. The Sicilian blood orange has a distinct, sweet flavor with light flavors of raspberry and grapefruit, which results in the cider being medium bodied and crisp with a hint of tangy citrus. The mouth-watering blood orange flavor is slightly more pronounced than a standard orange, but not so intense as to overwhelm the apple-forward flavor profile. The tangy citrus adds a unique complexity to the effervescent cider and will delight cider drinkers, beer fans and wine enthusiasts alike.
The new cider has a 5 percent ABV, and they are also selling it as a good base for cocktails where you need something sweet and bubbly but not as boozy as a sparkling wine.
Texas Independence Day with Yeti, 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 2. Buy a custom Yeti drinkware product and the new flagship store and bar will fill ‘em up on the house, with proceeds going to the Austin Music Foundation.
Bell’s Brewery Launch Party at Via 313, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 2. Michigan pizza with Michigan beer, united at last: Via 313’s brick-and-mortar locations will bring back a pizza special for the occasion.
Circle Brewing’s 6th Anniversary Party, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 11. This year’s celebration coincides with a big rebranding and Circle’s first-ever cans, as well as a new seasonal, M’Lady English IPA.
St. Patrick’s Day at North by Northwest, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 17. Special cask tappings, Irish stew and Irish music promise fun for the whole family (even a bouncy house and balloon artist for the kids.)
The Beer Train with the Bluebonnet Beer Co., 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 18. The Austin Steam Train is hosting another boozy train ride, this time with beers from Round Rock’s only brewery. This event has been rescheduled to May 20 due to mechanical issues.
Sophia’s Bubble Brunch Launch, 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 19. The supper club is debuting a monthly brunch with prosecco-based cocktails, champagne bottle service and brunch dishes with an Italian twist.
SXSW Recovery Party at Irene’s, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, March 20. Hair of the dog is sometimes the only way to recover from a week-long fest, so Irene’s will have drink specials on wine, beer and Tito’s Vodka.
Astronomy on Tap, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 21. Three out-of-this-world talks will be accompanied with pints of beer, astronomy-related art on display from local artists, and more at the North Door.
Yes Chef Beer Release at Black Star Co-op, 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, March 23. The brewpub’s beer team collaborated with its kitchen staff to come up with a beer perfect for the end of a long, hot kitchen shift: an adjunct cream ale.
Fourth Saturday at Real Ale Brewing, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 25. In honor of the brewery’s 21st birthday, Real Ale is debuting two more beers in the Mysterium Verum series: Magnum Trux and Rex Indomitus.
Red Line Brewery Tour, Spring 2017, 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 25. Train-hop to check out three local breweries near the Capital MetroRail Red Line: Zilker Brewing, Black Star Co-op and Circle Brewing.
Tiki! A Hye Rum Event, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25. A new rum distillery from the makers of Calais Winery in the Hill Country is hosting a whole hog roast buffet-style dinner. $65-$595.
The new cider, available now at bars like B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub, Haymaker and both locations of Pinthouse Pizza, was aged in Treaty Oak Distilling rum barrels for six months and has taken on a ruby hue and fun flavors as a result.
Though it’s still an apple-forward cider, you’ll notice it has “prominent notes of oak and vanilla and undertones of molasses,” as well as a mildly tart finish thanks to the barrel-aging, according to an announcement about the cider.
It’s not the first cider that Eastciders decided to age in barrels, or the first time that the cidery collaborated with a locally based spirits company to do it. Austin Eastciders also produced a tequila barrel-aged cider using spirit-soaked wood from Dulce Vida Tequila, whose corporate headquarters are located here, and a Cabernet wine barrel-aged cider as well.
Bourbon barrels are most commonly used in the barrel-aging process — because distillers making bourbon can only use the barrels once — but other boozy liquids can impart their own particular flavors in the resulting barrel-aged product, whether that’s beer, cider, another spirit or even wine.
In this case, the Austin Eastciders fermentation team acquired barrels that had previously housed Treaty Oak Barrel Reserve Rum, which matures in first-use oak barrels for a minimum of two years. As a result of the first-use run and duration of aging, rum’s sweet character (in particular, notes of dark chocolate and vanilla bean) is going to be present in the cider.
“Both fans of our cider and fans of Treaty Oak Rum will enjoy this release,” Dave Rule, vice president of marketing for Austin Eastciders, said in the announcement.
The aged cider might sound boozy, but it clocks in at a comfortable 6.9 percent ABV. Find it at Black Sheep Loudge, Eureka!, Central Market North, Loop and Lil’s Pizza in Lockhart, Porter Ale House, Red’s Porch, Violet Crown Cinema, Sean Patrick’s and Zelicks Icehouse in San Marcos, as well as the other bars listed above.
Not sure what to get your picky friend or family member for Christmas? Chances are good that they’ll be happy to receive a bottle of booze — especially if it comes from an Austin-area producer.
Here are a handful of suggestions with a seasonal focus. With many of these, you won’t want to delay in grabbing a bottle.
Texas Keeper Cider’s Cider Noir:Apples are a key fall flavor, but the fruit hadn’t displayed its full potential so well this time of year until the trio behind the far South Austin cidery got a little inventive.
For Texas Keeper’s winter release, Cider Noir, they decided to age Baldwin and Idared apples on oak. That’s not all they’ve done to make the cider a seasonal stunner — the apples are first double-fermented with Belgian candi (which is typically used in dubbel and tripel ales) and then aged with toasted pecans and orange peel. As a result, it’ll pour as dark as a porter and as boozy as many a stout, at a robust 10.1 percent ABV.
Real Ale Benedictum: The Black Friday release of Tenebra Aeterna, the first Mysterium Verum beer to be bottled, seemed to indicate Christmas had come early for many fans of the Blanco brewery. Now, it really has, as Real Ale is releasing another in the series of sour and barrel-aged brews this week.
Benedictum, an award-winning sour brown ale with cherries, can now be found in stores across the state. Or, if you want to get it closer to the source, Real Ale is hosting a bottle release party on Saturday encouraging you to pick up Benedictum at one of two nearby stores and then driving to the brewery to get the bottle signed by the people who made it. That’s an extra special touch if you want to gift it to a lucky loved one.
Pedernales Cellars’ Stonewall Glögg: Mulled wine is a popular seasonal beverage that many people like to make themselves. But this year, let a wine expert do it: Texas Hill Country winery Pedernales has bottles of its glögg, a traditional Swedish dessert wine, on sale in the tasting room and at both locations of sister winery Armadillo’s Leap.
Adelbert’s Brewery’s Barrel of Love trio: The North Austin brewery clearly knows how great the gift of beer is because it’s offering a whole ready-made gift pack of one of its rarer offerings.
This branded gift box, available at the brewery at 2314 Rutland Dr., has a trio of beers inside of it — three different versions of the Barrel of Love, Adelbert’s whiskey barrel-aged quad.
First up is the 2015 Barrel of Love, which has had an extra year of bottle-conditioning to develop deeper, richer flavors. Then there’s the 2016 Barrel of Love, full of “complex fruity notes of figs, raisins and plums with a soft whiskey bite,” according to the brewery. Bottles of this beer are being separately shipped out to the Texas market; only this version is leaving the brewery.
Rounding out the pack is the Blackberry Barrel of Love, the first taproom-only bottle release since Adelbert’s switched to a brewpub license early this year. Yes, it’s got lots of blackberries and tastes as such.
Revolution Spirits’ Chocolate Cafecito Liqueur: Although this distillery on the road to Dripping Springs has become recognized for its Austin Reserve Gin, Revolution also makes a variety of experimental products — chief among them the Cafecito Coffee Liqueur, liquid gold for any coffee fan out there.
The most recent release is even sweeter. For the Chocolate Cafecito Liqueur, a new seasonal bottling available from December through February each year, the distillers have macerated fair-trade OKO Caribe cacao nibs from SRSLY Chocolate, adding them to the coffee beans Revolution receives from local Cuvee Coffee.
There’s a lot more coffee than chocolate in the mix, but the chocolate is present enough to satisfy any sweet tooth over the holidays. Pick up a bottle at the distillery during open Saturday hours.
Last Stand Brewing’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout: Located just yards from Revolution Spirits, the small-batch Last Stand doesn’t bottle many of its beers, which makes the special release Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout extra special.
The brewers have had this project in the works for awhile. They “filled two freshly emptied Donner-Peltier LA1 Whiskey barrels one year ago with our first batch of Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout,” according to the brewery, and debuted the results of it last weekend at the taproom at 12345 Pauls Valley Rd. Bldg. I.
Only 200 bottles are available, so if this one looks like the winning stocking stuffer you’ve been looking for, stop by Last Stand during weekend taproom hours to grab one.
Austin Beerworks Sputnik: The seasonal necessity is only on draft for now, as it has been in winters past, but any day now — pending TABC approval — local stores will also receive six-pack cans of the Russian imperial oatmeal stout. Austin Beerworks has been in the midst of a large expansion that has allowed the North Austin brewery to start canning some of its seasonal beers, including Sputnik.
Of Argus, Food & Wine’s Joe Stanek writes that the cidery had trouble finding an identity at first but quickly found fans of quirky, well-made fruited beverages.
“When Wes Mickel applied for the first cider license in Texas, the question of whether his dry ciders were more like wine or beer came up a lot,” Stanek writes. “Sourcing a majority of apples from Texas and Arkansas — with other varietals brought in for use in special fermentation lines that produce as few as just 300 bottles — allows Mickel to press fresh juice year round.”
The ABGB’s 3rd Anniversary Party, 12 to 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5. It’s been another year of live music, beer and pizza at this brewpub, so celebrate with all of those things and more, including Austin Pets Alive puppies.
Burgundy Wine Tasting at Red Room Lounge, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6. The wine bar has brought French wine lovers a special treat: Jeanne-Marie de Champs is a Burgundy wine distributor who will have wines from that region, as well from the Loire Valley and Champagne. $25.
Whiskey Wednesday at Easy Tiger, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7. Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers will lead a free seminar on Texas bourbon; a Garrison bourbon flight will also be available for $20.
National Beer Lover’s Day at Hopdoddy, 6:30 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7. Saint Arnold beer specials, like Divine Reserve #16, will be available to pair irresistibly with a poutine burger.
Smittlefest Release at Thirsty Planet, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. It’s time for the brewery’s annual Oktoberfest beer. You might even catch some of the brewers in lederhosen.
Real Ale Oktoberfest, 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. Day trip to Blanco for this party that will have live polka music, Best Wurst sausages and Oktoberfest beer. Real Ale’s also offering a first taste of something special. $25.
Oktoberfest at Last Stand Brewing, 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. The Hill Country brewery will have a new Oktoberfest beer to share, as well as a $10 branded mug that includes a fill in the purchase.
Off-Flavor Tasting at B.B. Rover’s, 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. $20 will get you a guided tour through the main six off-flavors of beer, plus a control sample. You don’t have to be studying for a cicerone exam to find this lesson intriguing.
NXNW’s 17th Anniversary Party, 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11. Celebrate with live music, birthday cake, a bounce house and, of course, with an anniversary ale cask and keg tapping.
Six Pack Stories at the Highball, 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. Listen to the designers who make a beer brand come to life at this panel that will have free snacks as well as beer before, during and after.
Easy Tiger’s Oktoberfest, 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 to 2 a.m. Monday, Sept. 19. This annual party will have another release of Montecore, the bar’s märzen-style collaboration beer with Austin Beerworks.
The Bloody Good Beer Fest at Craftsman, 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. This fundraiser for the Blood & Tissue Center of Central Texas will have beers from Austin Beerworks, Thirsty Planet, Deschutes and more. $10.
Oskar Blues Brewery’s Can’d Opening, 12 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. The grand opening of the Austin location of Oskar Blues will have a commemorative glass, beer pours (including a Texas-only beer) and live music throughout the day. $5-$15.
Beer Flyer with Circle Brewing, 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. Hop aboard the Austin Steam Train for a night of Circle brews paired with bites from Greenhouse Craft Food. $50-$55.
Bourbon Heritage Month Dinner at Juliet, 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27. Five course dinner paired with some extremely rare whiskeys hosted by Aaron Beavers, the luxury spirits specialist for Beam Suntory. $100; reservations required.
Ballast Point 20 for 20 at Banger’s, 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. It’s the 20th anniversary of California’s Ballast Point Brewing, so Banger’s has rounded up 20 of their beers to put on tap, including the fruited variations on Sculpin IPA.
Whiskies of the World, 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. As one of the largest whisky tastings in the U.S., this event will have more than 200 spirits from around the globe. $140.
Oktoberfest at Infamous Brewing, 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. This family-style dinner, paired with polka music and Infamous brews, benefits Austin’s Habitat for Humanity: the House that Beer Built project. $50.
Now more than ever, breweries are making the move to cans. Selling their beers in aluminum cans, versus glass bottles, preserves the quality of the beer and means that people can drink it in more places — crucial for summertime imbibing.
So two local beverage producers, after offering their products primarily in bottles, are jumping on the aluminum bandwagon. Argus Cidery and Adelbert’s Brewery have both recently released two of their ciders and beers, respectively, in 12 oz. cans. Here’s what you can expect to find in local bars and stores now carrying them.
These are available, in addition to Austin, in cities like Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, as well as a few other states like Illinois and Colorado.
Ciderkin: Dry on the palate, this cider might not have the sweet burst of apple most of us expect from a typical American cider, but Argus likes to show off its wild side with all of its offerings. This one’s no different and offers a tart bite of fruit before finishing clean and bright.
Ginger Perry: This ginger ale doesn’t have any apple in it but is so good that you won’t miss it. It’s got the spicy snap of ginger without going overboard, with a dry pear palate that keeps it balanced. Like the Ciderkin, the Ginger Perry previously came in six-pack bottles.
The North Austin brewery announced a move to cans earlier this year, when it acquired a brewpub license to allow visitors to the taproom to take Adelbert’s beers home with them. These are two more — previously released on draft and in bombers — they’ll be able to grab and go. The cans are also appearing all over town.
Naked Nun Wit:Naked Nun has been a staple of Adelbert’s since it opened with a focus on Belgian-styles ales. Its easy-drinking nature, with “balanced hints of bitter orange peel and coriander,” makes it well-suited for cans, according to the brewery.