When Matt Bonno decided to go pro with his beloved cider making hobby, he knew he had to move Colorado — nearly 1,500 miles away from his home in Florida.
With Colorado’s cider scene thriving, it makes perfect sense to set up shop here. “I loved the culture in Colorado and the attitude toward local products,” says Bonno. Having vacationed in Colorado Springs, he decided to set up his cidery, Colorado Common Hard Cider, there.
While the doors opened in 2015, the journey began several years earlier, back in the small Florida fly-fishing town of Destin. “We started making cider at home, and it took over our life,” Bonno recalls.
The aspiring home brewer got into cider by accident, he says. He set out to learn the fermentation process and thought cider was a good place to start. But once he started pressing his own apples and experimenting with different types of apples, his cider-making took off.
Bonno says he understands a lot of people are coming from drinking beer or spirits, so he strives for a middle ground and to have something everyone can enjoy. “We make a cider for everyone,” he says.
For the craft-beer drinkers who can’t get enough hoppy beers, he points to his hopped series, such as the Original Hopped Apple, a dry cider hopped with locally grown Cascade and Citra hops.
The British Bulldog, a traditional dry English pub-style cider, is recommended for drinkers of lighter beers. “It has all the characteristics of a lager: not too heavy — dry and light,” he says.
For cocktail enthusiasts, Bonno says the Ginger & Mtn Elderflower makes a great swap for ginger beer in a Moscow mule. He’s also done a Mint Julep-aged cider that mimicked the famous Southern cocktail, and adds that Blackberry Sage is a good option as well.
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“We always try to look externally in: What are the trends happening in the alcohol industry?” he explains.
The Colorado Common Ciderhouse, which Bonno describes as a humble little spot, debuts small-batch ciders to get direct feedback. Patrons can expect three or four taps that aren't available in cans. Customer feedback determines if a new cider becomes a regular in the lineup, as was the case with the Blackberry Sage cider. While enjoying the ciders, guests can also observe cider being made in the production facility.
Even though he has the only cidery within Colorado Springs city limits, Bonno says there is definitely a culture around cider in the town. “We have more than 120 accounts in Colorado Springs,” he says. He started vacationing to Colorado Springs ten years ago and is happy to now call it home. “We love being in Colorado Springs, and we love making cider here.”
Find Colorado Common Cider on tap or in cans throughout Colorado. Use the product locator to find a location near you. The Ciderhouse is located at 4655 Town Center Drive, #130, in Colorado Springs. Hours are Thursday through Saturday from 4 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit the website or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.