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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Citizen Cider - Burlington, Vermont

Citizen Cider
It is hard for me to go to Vermont without spending at least $100 in beer to bring back home to my well stocked fridge or to thirsty friends.  This trip was no exception and after biking Burlington for the day and a delicious lunch at Sweetwaters, I hopped back on my bike to check out the well known and loved Citizen Cider. 

About Citizen Cider
"Justin Heilenbach, Bryan Holmes and Kris Nelson founded Citizen Cider in 2010 on a hunch and some good old-fashioned hard work. Kris was working as a wine salesmen, Bryan as a chemist and Justin as a small farmer. All discontent for one reason or another, they started pressing sweet cider in Kris’s barn and fermenting test batches of hard cider in Bryan’s basement. As it happens, they discovered that their ideas about hard cider translated into some pretty unique and interesting finished products." Long story short, what started as making cider in the basement eventually turned into this impressive operation.  Long story short, it was only a matter of time before everyone quit their day jobs to make Citizen Cider what it is today.  

They have been in operation since 2010 and since then, have grown in size and production.  As demands increased, they eventually moved to their current location, a 9000 square foot facility which opened in April of 2014.  Even that wasn't enough with Citizen Cider growing more and more popular.  Eventually, the company expanded into an additional 9000 square foot of production space.  You can visit this awesome cidery and sip some local cider and great food in the beautiful tap room or out on the deck.  Read more about the cidery and how they developed and grew here

Citizen Cider
Think Local
The quality of this cider to me, is all about their attention to detail and focus on staying local. The base of their cider is made with 100% Vermont and New York apples and are sourced directly from farmers. The apples are pressed at Happy Valley Orchard and is never from concentrate. Citizen Cider starts with this locally sourced, high quality foundation, and then adds in all those interesting flavors and profiles we love (I am talking to you, chamomile cider).

Citizen Cider Orchards

Have a Flight 
I pulled in on my bike to this very cool building-gone-cidery space with a great deck and indoor area.  I grabbed a table outside and was promptly greeted by Citizen Ciders friendly staff.  I decided to try a flight as this is the best way to try a variety of their ciders, especially the newer or less popular ones that don't make it to the liquor stores in our area.  Their Flagship brand, Unified Press, along with some of their other core ciders (The Dirty Mayor, The Lake Hopper, and Wits Up) are easy to spot in New England liquor stores. 

Knowing I can get the classics anywhere, I decided to go with the fun, the funky- aka the Citizen Cellars you can only get here in the tasting room.  I chose the Citizen Cellar: Smooth Operator, Citizen Cellar: Chamomile, High Tide, Citizen Cellar Golden Wit, and Citizen Cellar: Barrel Aged Stan. Personally, I love it when a cider is on the drier side and I really enjoyed the five ciders I sampled.  My favorite from the lineup was the Chamomile and Barrel Aged.  All cold, crisp, and refreshing, just as I expected. 

Sipping cold cider on a breezy deck at one of Burlingtons most beloved brewery/cidery was just about the perfect way to end a day in Burlington.  I loaded up bags of booze to bring back cider to friends (and my fridge) back home.  I decided on the chamomile cider because it was so unique, and two sets of cans, Mr. Burlington (a manhattan inspired cider, aged in bourbon barrels with orange peel) and Ms. Burlington (a floral gin inspired cider).  Chamomile cider, gin cider, and manhattan cider - insanely delicious and intriguingly unique.  Let's just say these didn't last very long in my fridge. 

After paying for my flight and inventory, I loaded up my bike and instantly transformed into Burlington's coolest bike bar with bottles on the rack and cans weighing down my handlebars.  Balance was a tricky issue as I pedaled my way down the streets of Burlington on my way back to the ferry, precariously balancing my precious cider cargo.  While biking back, I was greeted with honks and cheers by various people passing by, and in that instant, my love for Burlington was confirmed. 

Food, Cocktails, and the Need To Know 

While I arrived full from a not so distant lunch, Citizen Cider DOES have a food menu and you can read more about their tasting room and menu here.  There are also cider cocktails and beer options on the menu if you want to try something besides the cider.  The tasting room is available for private parties and events (on Sundays only). 

Tasting Room Hours
Monday - Saturday 11am-10pm (lunch and dinner)
Sunday 11am-7pm (lunch all day)
316 Pine Street, Suite 114, Burlington, Vermont

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