Good apples

Beloved Austin cidery opens bustling new tasting room

Beloved Austin cidery opens bustling new tasting room

Austin Eastciders tasting room
Oak barrels from popular local spirits brands line one wall of Austin Eastciders' new tasting room. Photo by Chelsea Weber

Pity the poor Austin drinker who doesn’t like beer. While the rest of their friends are busily bouncing from brewery to brewery discussing the vagaries of yeasts and grains, they are too often left in the corner sulking over a pint of the least beer-y beer. Thankfully help is on the way: Massively popular cidery Austin Eastciders will finally open its public tasting room at 979 Springdale Rd. next week.

A tasting room has always been in the plans for the local brand, but since its founding in 2013, Eastciders has kept busy with a steady stream of releases including a summery pineapple sipper (we call it Piney Cides) and this past April’s addition of a blood orange cider to the line. Demand for a tasting room has reached a fever pitch since their opening, so CEO Johnny Heiselberg and the rest of the team decided to convert their original urban cidery — which has lately been used as a research and development facility for their limited-edition and special release ciders — into a “collaboratory” with room to develop barrel-aging and other experimental cider programs, a bar for tastings, and room to host weekly community events and live music.

The taproom’s interior follows the lead of its industrial setting, adding warm wood accents, carnival-style string lights, simple blue stools, and large garage doors to the mix. Oak barrels from local distillers Dulce Vida Tequila and Treaty Oak serve both a practical and decorative purpose, and a gift shop will sell Eastciders gear. Outside, picnic tables provide community seating for customers and their pooches. And cornhole, darts, and board games keep the crowds entertained while trying unreleased cider varieties like cucumber and ruby red grapefruit.

The addition of the space will make this east side address even more of a weekend destination with event venue Springdale Station, the Austin Bouldering Project, and Friends and Allies Brewing Company (which is sure to solve a lot of arguments between cider versus beer couples) within walking distance. A grand opening celebration has been planned for Thursday, November 16 from 6-9 pm, with details about music and food to be announced soon. In the meantime, impatient drinkers can get a sneak peak this Sunday during a soft opening.

Marc Brenton Smith, an industry pro whose experience includes stints as the sommelier at chef Parind Vora’s Restaurant Jezebel and the general manager at Bess Bistro and Parkside, has joined the team as the tasting room manager. ”I’m driven by my love of delicious beverages,” said Smith in a release.

Same, Marc, same.