Houston has had a pretty great selection of local craft breweries pop up over the last several years. St. Arnold, Karbach, Buffalo Bayou Brewery, Eureka Heights, and 8th Wonder are just a few of our local faves. Houston Cider Company opened earlier this year and has been the only locally-produced hard cider option in town, but Patrick Kwiatkowski is making big plans to change that. Kwiatowski and business partner Mat Smith are set to open City Orchard in late November, bringing their own brand of refreshing hard cider to Houston.
Both engineers, Kwiatowski and Smith have been brewing their own cider for about five years, and brewing beer before that. Their backgrounds in chemistry and Houston’s relatively undeveloped cider market make for a winning combination, and they’re cranking out hard cider in 2,000 gallon tanks in anticipation of a big reaction to their grand opening.
City Orchard will feature at least a dozen varieties of hard cider at any given time, with four staple options and a rotating cast of seasonal and specialty brews. For the non-cider-drinkers in the house, there will also be beer and wine options available. City Orchard is located on Oliver Street between I-10 and Washington.
Never tried a hard cider? You’re in for a treat! Cider is made from apple juice and fermented like beer or wine. The variety of apple used makes a big difference in the flavor, and ciders can be either dry and more beer-like or super sweet. Most of the ciders brewed at City Orchard will be made from apples from Smith Brothers Farms in the Great Lakes region. Co-owner Mat Smith is one of the brothers in “Smith Brothers,” making this whole operation very much a family affair and labor of love.
Hard cider was one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the US before Prohibition, but until recent years, it never really took off in a big way after Prohibition was ended. In the UK and parts of Europe hard ciders always remained pretty popular, although they’re generally a lot less sweet than their American counterparts. We’re big fans of hard cider, and we can’t wait to give City Orchard a try when the doors open at the end of the month. Cheers!