Started in 2013, the founders of Texas Keeper Cider are long-time friends Brandon Wilde, Lindsey Peebles, and Nick Doughty. All three were born and raised in Austin, and Nick has a background working in New Zealand wineries. He is the cidery’s Cidermaker. Assisting him is former homebrewer Brandon, who also takes care of sales. Lindsey, meanwhile, handles events and legal matters. The three specialize in creating small batch, dry and well-balanced ciders.
Texas Keeper Cider takes its name from an apple variety that used to be cultivated in Lamar County, Texas in the 1880s, the Hicks’ Texas Keeper. Now believed to be extinct, the variety nicknamed “keepers” were “apples that stored well (and) improved with age”.
Besides ciders, the kid friendly and dog friendly taproom also offers wines, meads, and snacks.
Founder Wes Mickel was only 25 when he set out to establish Argus Cidery in 2010. A trained chef and hobbyist beer brewer, he created his first cider in high school using commercial brand apple juice and packaged yeast. After culinary school and working as a recipe tester for a star chef, he moved to Austin to start creating his cider operation. His first products used Texas-grown apples, until the cidery eventually moved on to include other fruit sources. Argus Cidery focuses on making “dry hard ciders, perrys, and other 100% fruit fermentables – never pasteurized – and free of added sugars”. The tasting room at Pauls Valley Road is also open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00pm to 6:00pm. This is also the best place to test out their new, experimental offerings. They also offer cider by the flight or by the glass and sell bottles-to-go.
Ed Gibson, founder of Austin Eastciders, moved to Austin to after falling in love with Austin. Having lived most of his life in Bristol in the southwest of England and the “cider capital of the world”, Gibson operated a cider bar until he started looking for a change. After visiting Austin upon a friend’s suggestion, the rest, as they say, is history.
Gibson launched Austin Eastciders in various bars in 2011. However, it quickly ran into supply issues because of the lack of a proper production facility. After finally opening one in 2013, and opening another location in 2016, its supply problems are now behind it.
The new location affords space for a proper taproom called The Collaboratory at the original location. There, one can enjoy the five mainstays of Austin Eastciders, and some seasonal and special edition ciders – all aimed at bringing back cider to the level of popularity it once enjoyed in the Americas.
"Do yourself a favor and stop by the Tasting Room at MoonTower Cider Co., over on Tillery Street, proudly brewing fine cider on the East Side". "Dog-friendly and laid-back, this is the perfect place to escape from the mayhem of daily life and enjoy an artisanal brew made by the good folks right here in town. How artisanal? They brew their own mead". Moontower is "complex yet approachable, obsessive but laid back, a treat but also something you could drink all day". You'll also "want to easy into this space, try every last thing they've made, and tell all your friends about it". Moontower is really "such a welcome break from all the overly loud, vibe-first, money-grab breweries popping up around Austin". Also, "these people care about making an incredible product and giving you a relaxed space to enjoy it in". You may notice that "there are no salespeople here". Instead, "there are artists happy to help you discover and share their fondness for cider".
Hye Cider Company was started by best friends Brian “Captain” Came and Cassandra “Cherry”. Graham started brewing beer at a time when they couldn’t yet purchase beer. Both from Florida, they lived for a while in San Francisco and developed their brewing skills. While working as a chef in Austin, Cherry married Travis Graham, and convinced Captain to relocate to Austin. Together, the three soon sensed an opportunity to join the growing number of breweries, distilleries, and wineries along Highway 290 in Texas Hill Country. Instead of beer, spirits, or wines, however, they chose cider for their niche. With the confluence of passion, knowledge, and opportunity, the trio opened Hye Cider Company in 2016. With apples from Washington State and local honey, fans describe their product as “a cross between cider and mead”. Other ingredients come from local sources including “rainwater, herbs from (their) greenhouse, and ‘copious amounts’ of (Stonewall) honey”.
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