Ahh, hard cider, the alcoholic beverage of my misspent English youth; a fruit-fueled favorite that tends to be many a Brit’s introduction to the strong stuff – being as it is – much more accessible than say, a bitterly-scolding IPA. Intriguingly though, hard cider, or plan ‘ol cider as we call it back across the pond, is only just starting to make its presence felt across most of the US.
Cue the enterprising bunch at La Salle and Trio Restaurant groups, who cottoned onto this emerging trend, and during the rest of September and October, you can now enjoy SLC’s first micro cider festival. Thankfully the festival is as far removed from those early days of my, ahem, career as could be – awash with the strongest and sweetest stuff obtainable. The focus here is classy, elegant and educational – who knew that cider had so much depth and diversity. Certainly not the 16 year old me.
From classic English dry to locally made ciders with infused seasonal ingredients – seven participating restaurants will each feature two specially selected hard ciders to pair with dishes on their menu. Carefully chosen by beverage director James Santangelo, the restaurants include: Current Fish & Oyster, Under Current Bar, Fresco Italian Café, Café Trio Cottonwood, Café Trio Downtown, Oasis Café, Caffé Niche and Kyoto.
“We love to focus on flavors of each season, showcase local producers and feature a variety of styles. The flavors of hard ciders are very approachable and our chefs love pairing dishes with them,” says Santangelo. “Plus, the taste of apple cider brings out the kid in me, and the taste of hard cider brings out the adult,” he adds with a grin.
Santangelo and Under Current Bar’s general manager Amy Eldredge will also offer the next in their seasonal line of educational events, a “Cider Tasting and Class” on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at Under Current Bar. The first event focusing on absinthe was a big hit, and this promises to be just as educational and entertaining.
All the pictures in this piece come from a preview event I attended just recently. If you’re able to make the 6th I heartily recommend doing so, especially if you’re a cider neophyte – you’ll be surprised by the breadth of flavors, some sweet yes, but others alluringly dry and stone-fruit complex. The cost to attend is a paltry $20 for cider pairings and $15 for food from executive chef Logen Crew. Which is a steal considering the animated Santangelo should probably be charging you for his time and teaching too. RSVPs are required and can be made by emailing email@example.com.
If you don’t make the educational event itself, be sure to stop by one of the listed restaurant’s through the end of October. Selected ciders at each restaurant are as follows:
Kyoto: Angry Orchard Apple-Ginger Cider and Stella Artois Cidre
Oasis Café: Stella Artois Cidre and Hive “Stinger” Hard Apple Cider
Caffe Niche: Wandering Aengus Bloom Cider and Stella Artois Cidre
Fresco: Wandering Aengus Bloom Cider and Angry Orchard Apple-Ginger Cider
Café Trio(s): Wandering Aengus Bloom Cider and Stella Artois Cidre
Under Current Bar: Hive “50/50” Blend, Anthem ‘Hops’ Cider, Hive Mint, Hive Black Current / Raspberry
Current Fish & Oyster: Wandering Aengus Bloom Cider, Anthem ‘Hops’ Cider, Hive Mint (oyster back), Hive Black Current (oyster back)
* Gastronomic SLC is a proud local partner of Caffe Niche, Kyoto and Oasis Cafe.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. I ate all the pies.