In a city with a burgeoning craft beer and spirits landscape, craft (hard) cider continues to surface as a thriving addition to the mix. On Friday, Eric Foster and Phil Kao, co-founders of the newly-minted Stem Ciders and board members on the Rocky Mountain Cider Association, will hold a grand opening celebration from 3 to 11 p.m. and launch their first three ciders.
"It's been a long road for us to get the doors open and ciders in the marketplace," explains Foster. "We're excited to be part of Denver, and the RiNo district -- and we're excited to help spread awareness about cider through our dry and tart ciders, ciders that are very different from what's available in the micro-cidery marketplace."
Both men grew up in Michigan cider country. Foster's love of cider was cultivated while working at the local cider mill in his hometown, where he learned about apple selection, pressing operations and the basic principles of cider making. Kao, meanwhile, grew up a few miles down the road from Michigan's oldest cider mill.
The duo's combination of passions for homebrewing and experimentation led them their new business in the River North neighborhood.
At the grand opening, everyone from avid cider enthusiasts to the merely cider-curious can sample offerings and tour the facility. Stem Ciders will have two food trucks, Kuechos and Crock Spot, and live bluegrass from Lineage Music from 7 to 10 p.m.
The three ciders to be tapped are Malice, a tart cider aged in stainless and fermented to be dry and clean on the palate; Le Chêne, a smoky cider aged in red zinfandel barrels with a smooth, round mouth feel and an oak tannin finish; and Banjo, a bourbon-barrel aged cider with a smooth front end and a sharp, sprightly finish.
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The Stem Ciders Cidery & Tap Room is located in back of the brick building at 2811 Walnut Street behind Mile High Winery. To learn more about Stem Ciders, or for details about the grand opening celebration, visit their official website or Facebook page.