With the explosion of micro-breweries throughout the Valley, the opening of a new brewery isn’t met with much fanfare.
A cidery, however, is cause for celebration.
Cider Corps, the first dedicated craft cidery in Arizona, is hosting a Veterans Day Open House this Saturday, Nov. 11 at its taproom and production facility at 31 S. Robson Drive, Suite 103, in Mesa. The event begins at 10 a.m. and is the first public event for Cider Corps and will include small batch hard ciders, mulled non-alcoholic cider, food trucks and tours of the facility. Veterans can stop by for a free cup of coffee from 10 to 11 a.m. as they head out to watch the Mesa Veterans Day parade, which finishes just two blocks from Cider Corps. After the parade, veterans can come by and get discounts on pints and growlers.
Cider Corps will unveil a new line of “Pie Ciders,” including pumpkin, mixed berry and peach cobbler flavors, as well as a cold brew cider that was a collaboration with Provision Coffee Bar in Chandler.
Brothers and co-founders Jason and Josh Duren will be pouring up to 10 of their products well into the evening and will be on hand to meet and greet visitors and talk cider and service.
“We’ve got some good friends and support people who are going to do most of the operations during the event,” said Josh Duren, as he finished up menu boards in the final push to the open house. “Our story and the way we make cider is so important, so we will spend most of our time out mingling and answering questions.”
When you learn the story behind Cider Corps it becomes clear that Veterans Day is the perfect day for it to open. Jason Duren is a retired Marine sergeant who suffered traumatic brain injuries while deployed in Afghanistan. He worked hard to recover and during his medical retirement process, struggled through appointments and frustrations that many returning disabled veterans deal with. All that frustration became the driving force behind the Cider Corps project.
It was during Jason’s retirement process that the brothers began home brewing ciders in their garage as a therapeutic outlet for Jason. They dabbled with crude apple presses for juicing and learned the ins and outs of making cider. Then they got serious. Jason went to Arizona State to study sustainable horticulture and brought more in-depth knowledge to the garage. Finally, they discovered a process of their own that produces a hard cider that is dryer and less sweet than most commercially produced ciders.
“We start with a 10 percent wild ferment made up of apple peels, we then overpitch with different beer yeast,” said Josh Duren, as he slipped into a language only brewers understand. “We stop fermenting at just the right time, so we don’t add in any sugar during the process.”
Cider Corps products have been on tap throughout the state since Josh began delivering kegs of hard cider to more than 30 accounts in early September. They’ve already done collaborations with local breweries like their downtown Mesa neighbor Oro Brewing. They also joined forces on a sour IPA with Mesa-based 12 West Brewing and Old Ellsworth Brewing in Queen Creek. So far, according to Josh Duren, all their products have been well received and the local craft brewing community is anxiously awaiting what the Durens do next.
“Over the past two years before we were commercially producing, Jason and I went out to build those relationships and got to know everyone in the craft brewing community,” Josh said. “How we make cider is very different than what’s on the market. Getting praise and feedback from those guys in the industry told us that once it got out to the public, it would go well.”
Saturday’s event is just the beginning of introducing Cider Corps to the public. Josh said regular hours won’t be set for a couple months. He also said an announcement on when the taproom will be open will come on Sunday, hinting that Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons are likely days the taproom will open on an interim basis.
– Steve Burks is a freelancer writer for MyNewsMesa.com.
Cider Corps Veterans Day Open House
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11 (but taproom will remain open later to accommodate crowd).
Where: 31 S. Robson Drive, Suite 103, Mesa.
What: Arizona’s first dedicated cidery will open its doors for the first time, serving several varieties of hard ciders, as well as mulled non-alcoholic cider, and coffee. Food trucks will be on hand and tours of the facility will be given to the public.
Price: Hard ciders start at $6 per glass and $12 for a growler fill.
Discounts: Veterans get $1 off glasses and growler fills.