The quiet town of Penrose, just outside of Cañon City, made cider news recently when C Squared Ciders announced it would be pulling up stakes in downtown Denver to move its production facility there. But it turns out C Squared won't be the first cider company in town. Apple Valley Cider Company is celebrating its two-year anniversary in Penrose this Saturday, January 25.
Owner and cider maker Kevin Williams has been making ciders in Penrose and loves introducing cider to those who haven’t discovered it yet. “A lot of people are really surprised at how good it is and how much they enjoy it,” Williams states.
The cider maker started off with three styles: semi-sweet apple, peach and black currant. Later he introduced a cherry mead to the mix, and now he introduces a new style or flavor every few months. Williams recently finished an oak-aged pommeau, which he describes as similar to an apple port wine, finishing slightly sweet like a dessert wine. The pommeau was aged in barrels from Spirits of the Rockies Distillery in Pueblo.
Apple Valley's biggest seller is the black currant cider, Williams notes. “Black currant is one of those flavors you don’t see as often, so it's intriguing," he adds. “It’s got a nice, tart balance, and the [black currant] flavor goes really well with apple.”
Williams describes his cider as not so sweet that you don’t want a second one, but sweet enough that it goes well with food and is refreshing. For pairing his semi-sweet, Williams recommends pizza or barbecue. The peach could be paired with anything you’d pair a riesling with, and since black currant is more full-bodied, he says to match it with food they way you would with red wine.
Williams started home brewing sixteen years ago and worked for a brewery in Pueblo for four years. “When I decided I needed to do my own thing, there were so many good breweries, it was going to be really hard to stand out,” he explains. “There were only a handful of cideries, and I’ve been making cider just as long.”
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The cidery owner says there’s something even more exciting about making cider than brewing beer. “People are starting to recognize and appreciate cider more and more; it seemed like good timing to jump in,” he adds.
Williams is happy with the recent news about C Squared coming to town. “With C Squared moving into the area, we’re hoping Penrose really gets to be a destination as far as people coming from outside of Fremont County,” he say, pointing out that Western Skies Winery (a part of Jenkins Farm) and Pop’s Vineyard are in the area as well.
At the second-anniversary party on Saturday, a new pineapple cider will be released. The tasting room will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. with live acoustic music.
Apple Valley is also open from noon to 6 p.m. every Sunday at 103 Broadway, #13, in Penrose. You can find Apple Valley ciders and meads in restaurants and liquor stores along the southern Front Range. Call 719-315-1155 for more information.