Finding a truly great craft hard cider is deceptively hard; so many ciders are shockingly sweet or are just artificially flavored malt alcohol. Lucky for me I have a good buddy that started working right by The Old Mine Cidery and Brewpub in tiny Erie Colorado, and after he tried it he insisted that I drive down and experience it for myself. I was not disappointed. Housed in a beautifully restored historic building in downtown Erie the Old Mine is a phenomenal craft cider producer that has created the best hard cider that I have tried to date.
The first cider I tried was their flagship hard cider: Handlebar Hard Cider. You are greeted immediately with a full apple nose and only a hint of natural sweetness. The palette is unlike any I have experienced with hard cider due to the robust and fresh apples base; you feel as though you experiencing the meatiness of the apples themselves with hints of natural tannins from their skins. The taste remains extremely fresh and clean throughout due to there being very little added sugar and no additives. This is such a pure form of cider I am unsure I will ever find one quite as good.
What really blew me away however was Old Mine’s Hopped Up Handlebar Hard Cider. This is the same cider as above but dry hopped with all Citra hops. The nose is similar to the regular Handlebar, but this time you are treated to a full bouquet of floral notes due to the hops. The taste has no bitterness whatsoever from the hops, just the floral aspects that are first experienced on the nose. The added hop notes really balance the mild natural sweetness of the apples well creating a ridiculously balanced brew that I will enjoy for a long time to come. Hopped Up Handlebar Hard Cider is an exceptional bridge between craft brews and hard cider for beer enthusiasts.
Right now the best way to get Old Mine’s ciders is directly from their Cidery in downtown Erie Colorado, but more distribution is expected soon. I really recommend the trip if you are a craft beer lover who has not found a cider yet that speaks to your soul, you won’t be disappointed. In the meantime if you want to try both Handlebar and the Hopped Up variety be sure to check them out at Sesh Fest in Denver this Saturday, August 5th.