LANCASTER, N.Y. — After four years of planning and preparation, a new cidery and taproom are open in Lancaster.
Clarksburg Cider is situated on 17 acres on Walden Avenue near Ransom Road. Patrons can try a number of hand-crafted hard ciders, craft cocktails made with their cider, and menu items, many of which are infused with cider.
"Our goal is really to get cider out to everybody, and if they grab a Clarksburg, that's great! If they grab another one of the great ciders in New York State, that's fantastic too. Our hope is that it just introduces them to a new beverage that they can start to make their staple," said Bryan Lefauve, vice president and owner.
Head cider maker Edward Graves grew up making apple cider with his father and grandfather, so the transition into making hard cider came pretty naturally to him. For him, it's part science, part art, mixed with experimentation and a lot of excitement.
One of his favorite creations is a pineapple hibiscus cider.
"I always wanted to use hibiscus. I always thought it was an interesting ingredient. I didn't know how much to use. That's the truth behind it," said Graves.
After some trial and error, he crafted what he says is a perfect purple and fruity blend.
CEO and owner Michael Robb got the idea to start a cidery from his father, who has a working farm in the hamlet of Clarksburg, hence the name of the business. They planted an orchard three years ago and plan to keep adding to it each year.
They also planted a small orchard on the cidery property in Lancaster. There isn't enough yield yet, so they make cider with juice from Mayer Brothers Cider Mill. Once the orchards are producing enough apples, they'll use those in their hard cider production.
The tap room has been open for about six weeks, but their canned product has been on the market since the first week of April.
"It's very new. It's tremendously exciting. We're loving all the buzz we are getting, and to me one of the most rewarding things is to be here in the taproom and go around and get feedback," said Robb.
The menu features locally and New York State-sourced items, like meats, cheeses, and produce. Meats are smoked in-house, and there are wood-fired pizzas and vegetarian and vegan options.
General manager Jon Robare describes the menu as elevated but approachable.
"We did as much as we possibly could with ingredients from New York State. We've worked with local farmers and worked with local purveyors to try and source as much as we could from New York," said Robare.
There are special, seasonal ciders, and a winter edition will be announced in a couple of weeks. Graves said it features some classic holiday flavors.
He also uses different wood barrels to get different flavor profiles. The cider is held in barrels that used to contain wine, whiskey, and even tequila so those flavors are infused into the cider.
There's a huge outdoor patio, lawn games, fire pits, three ponds — and it's dog friendly, complete with a doggy water fountain.
Clarksburg Cider is open Wednesday thru Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended for full-service dining. The bar area is first-come, first-serve.