Brooklyn Cider House
- Brooklyn, New York State, United States
"I was on a wine-buying trip and had stopped in the Basque region when a friend dragged me to a cider house. The energy of the people, the food, the cider, and the overall experience were amazing. Everyone was having a great time enjoying hearty, rustic food, prepared with love and simplicity — chorizo with bread; tortilla de bacalao; bacalao with roasted red pepper; thick, rare steak; and walnuts in the shell and sheep’s milk cheese for dessert. All of these dishes are served family style, to be shared by everyone at your table; your dish is actually your bread. And each time they call “Txotx” at the entrance to the barrel room, you head to the barrel room with your wide-rimmed glasses to catch cider from these giant chestnut barrels. As you line up, catch, gulp, and toast, you engage in laughter and conversation with everyone around you. It’s an incredible tradition around farming, production, and food. What’s more is that this one style of cider pairs with everything on the menu. I was floored and having the time of my life. I knew that this was something I wanted to share with everyone. I also knew that it was something that was meant to be in New York City because our state grows amazing apples." —Peter Yi, owner
Brooklyn Cider House, located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, is owned and operated by Peter and Susan Yi. The story began in 2014 when Peter, previously the owner of PJs Wine and Spirits in New York City, got a taste of the traditional ciders from the Basque region during a wine trip to Spain. Up until that point, Peter had been a passionate wine lover with little interest in cider but he returned from the trip a changed man. He convinced his sister Susan to quit her job as a teacher and within a year they had purchased a 200-acre apple orchard in New Paltz, NY. And so began their journey into cider production with the first releases in the fall of 2015.
Their sustainably farmed orchard has 110 acres of trees planted to 40 different heirloom varieties such as Kingston Black and Tremlett’s Bitter. Since a number of the trees are still quite young and not yet producing, Peter and Susan have been purchasing some fruit from nearby apple growers and cider producers.
The process for making the ciders is simple: The apples are harvested, pressed upstate and then brought down to the cidery in Bushwick for "ciderfication". The juice is fermented in stainless steel where it also undergoes malolactic for 6-9 months. It is then transferred to 80-year-old chestnut barrels (imported from Spain) and aged on the lees for about a year. Nothing is added during the process except for a little bit of SO2 at bottling.