Tasting Cider at the Brooklyn Cider House

Quite some time ago we had the chance to taste some Brooklyn Cider at the Lower East Side Cider Festival, and I’d heard that the cider makers had recently opened a new cidery and restaurant called the Brooklyn Cider House in Bushwick, Brooklyn. We decided to stop by and check it out last weekend when we were on the hunt for street art in Bushwick, and that turned out to be a great decision.

From a distance, the Brooklyn Cider House looked like a brick industrial building with a metal fence at one end, but there was a large break in the fence with a sign-board welcoming us in. Upon entering the property, we immediately saw the Cider House entrance.

As we stepped inside, we began to feel the magic of the place. Stretching along one wall of the front room, a sunny and welcoming bar, is a mural by Italian street artist Pixel Pancho. The sunlight made getting a full photo of the mural difficult, but in the close-up pictures you can see the details that make Pixel Pancho’s murals so beautiful yet unique.

We arrived not long after they had opened, and the person who greeted us took us on a quick tour of the cidery and restaurant. As we walked past the bar, we entered a space with huge barrels that are used to age the cider. It was a wonderful space, and behind the barrels was even more street art, this time a large mural collaboration by Israeli artists Dede Bandaid and Nitzan Mintz. This one is hard to capture in a single photograph, because of its location behind the barrels, but here are a couple of glimpses.

Behind a pair of large doors was this room where cider is made.

Finally, there was this large room, empty at the time of our visit but used for the the 5-course Basque-style tasting dinners. As part of the dinners, guests have the chance to catch and taste cider straight from the wooden barrels. We decided then and there we will have to come back and have dinner sometime very soon. (Wondering about what they serve at the dinners? Here’s a link to the menu.)

After the tour, we sat down at the bar to order brunch and sample cider. We shared this delicious cowboy steak and eggs for two, perfectly cooked and just the right amount for two people.

Although the bar offers a variety of ciders, beers, and wines, we chose to do a tasting of Brooklyn Cider House’s own ciders. The tasting came with three out of four ciders, but the bartender was kind enough to let us taste the fourth as well. The Kind of Dry, Half Sour, and Bone Dry were all delicious, but our favorite ended up being the Raw, which is described as “a dry, wildly natural cider with beautiful acidity … fresh and mouth puckering with crisp green apple and citrus aromas.” In fact, the ciders were so good we purchased a couple of bottles to take home with us.

Our entire experience at the Brooklyn Cider House was great, and the people we met were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their ciders. It was the perfect start to our hunt for street art around Bushwick that afternoon, and we will definitely be visiting again soon.

Want to visit Brooklyn Cider House yourself? It is located at 1100 Flushing Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn, just a short walk from the L train’s Jefferson Street stat.:ion. The restaurant also has a small parking area inside the fence, for those who are driving.

Cider Week in NYC

New York City is in the midst of Cider Week at present, and there are numerous opportunities to taste the New York-made ciders throughout the city. Cider is becoming more and more popular in recent years, and New York state cider makers are producing excellent hard cider varieties. Cider Week celebrates the variety of those New York ciders in tastings, dinners, and a variety of other activities.

One of the early events of Cider Week was the second annual Lower East Side Cider Festival, held this past Sunday on Orchard Street. Numerous cider makers offered samples of their delicious ciders, and there was food – both apple-themed, and otherwise – for sale. Wassail, the cider bar I’ve previously discussed here, also offered a variety of ciders on tap. Here are a few photos of my visit to that event.

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There’s still plenty to do before Cider Week ends on October 30. Want to check out some of the events yourself? You can find the schedule here.

Drinking Cider at Wassail

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As we were looking for something a little different to eat and drink in New York City one evening, we decided to try a place called Wassail. Located on Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Wassail describes itself as a “vegetable focused restaurant and cider bar.” It’s a cozy and comfortable restaurant, but it fills up quickly. If you plan to eat dinner at Wassail, I recommend making reservations. We sat at the bar, as we just wanted a snack and a bit to drink. We found the bartenders knowledgeable and the food delicious.

Wassail offers a variety of ciders on draft and in bottles, and the selection changes regularly. They feature a number of ciders made in New York State (and elsewhere in the United States), as well as European ciders. For those visitors who don’t enjoy cider, Wassail also offers a selection of beer and wine. As I’m less familiar with cider, I decided to order a flight so that I could sample of few different options. Wassail offers an American flight and a European flight. I tried the American flight, which on the night we visited included 3-ounce samples of Hudson Valley Farmhouse “Scrumpy” (2015), Orchard Hill “Red Label” (2014), and Oyster River “Hoboken Station” (2014). The 3 ciders were very different from each other, but all were delicious. The Hudson Valley was a young, fruit-forward cider, and very drinkable. The Orchard Hill was light and refreshing. And the Oyster River reminded me of a dry white wine, almost buttery with a finish that reminded me of a good chardonnay.

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The food menu was also intriguing – very different from other restaurants we’ve been to, with its vegetable focus. We tried the Stewed Roman Beans, with cellared vegetables, leeks, and smoked olive oil. It was rich and satisfying.

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We also tried the Roasted Turnips, with parsnips, pickled radish, and miso butter. It was another great choice, and the plating was beautiful.

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We enjoyed our visit so much, we have already been back a second time. Wassail is definitely one of our new favorites. (I’m not a huge fan of vegetables, and I’ve even enjoyed the food!)

Want to visit Wassail yourself? It’s located at 162 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. Take the F train to either Second Avenue or Delancey Street, or the J, M, or Z trains to the Essex Street Station.