Page 11 - Beverage MasterAprMay 2021
P. 11

Craft Cider

               Town in City Brewery. “When we started, there
               were fewer than a dozen breweries in Houston,”
               Engle said. “Now there are 80-some. In the begin-        FASTRAK
               ning, we designed our facility so we could have
               add-ons, and when we saw a lot of customers
               wanting something other than beer, we decided to         Cider Press
               add cider.”
                                                                       3.5 Gallons in 2 to 3 Seconds!
                 By 2018, the two were splitting production
               between beer and cider, but as they saw the                                     Air Comressed
               demand for cider growing, they pulled the plug                                  Stainless Steel
               on beer. The decision appears to be a good one.                                 Cylinder Foot
               Today, the Houston Cider Company services over                                      & Basket
               300 accounts in Southeast Texas, including Spec’s
               Wine, Spirits & Finer Foods, Total Wine & More,                                 Juicing Cherry,
               Whole Foods Market and H-E-B. The cidery has also                              Grape, Apple &
               won multiple national awards for its products.                                   Other Fruits


                 As an urban cidery, Houston Cider Company can’t                               FREE
               juice on-site, so they rely on suppliers from the
               Pacific Northwest to provide high-quality fruit for                             DELIVERY
               on-site fermentation. Their ciders are a blend of
               culinary apples for sugar content and cider apples
               for flavor. Botanicals, herbs and spices — added           541-741-2706
               either during or post-fermentation — are all-natu-         fastrakciderpress.com
               ral and, as much as possible, sourced locally.

                 While Macalello works behind the scenes manag-
               ing marketing and social media, Engle and assistant
               cidermaker and archeologist/geologist Olivia Fry
               are on the front lines, actually making the cider.
               Their philosophies are similar. “Our ciders are
               very traditional,” Engle said.  “We make them as
               clean and crisp as possible. We take a wine-making
               approach. We play with the yeast, but we choose
               yeast that doesn’t have the esters and phenols that
               some people are looking for.”

                 Fry agreed. “We want our cider to be flavorful but
               all-natural. When we came out with our Houston
               75 — based on the classic French 75 — we tried to
               do something different by using different yeasts
               and adding fresh lemon peel instead of processed
               sugars to get the flavors we wanted.”

                 With their backgrounds, the cidermakers are very
               science-driven. “We like data,” Engle said.  “We’re
               always looking at data and methods of improve-
               ment. The more data we can collect, the better
               we’re able to predict fermentation timelines based
               on pH. We can measure down to the millimeter.
               Sometimes one additional peppercorn can make or
               break the cider.”

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