When Wes Mickel couldn’t find work, he turned his love for cider and his impressive culinary arts background into a full-time job. With a degree from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA, coupled with a resume that includes working as Tyler Florence’s sous chef and as a wine blender at Crushpad in San Francisco, Mickel was able to turn basic cooking techniques and wine aging and blending methods into cider gold.
After Mickel and his wife arbitrarily decided to pick up and move to Austin, he had difficulty landing a paying gig. Fortunately for us, the downtime allowed him to lay down the foundation for his company, Argus Cidery, the first and only cidery in the state of Texas.
Mickel began contacting Texan apple orchards and sourcing the base for his cider. He turned the couple’s South Austin home into a laboratory and began perfecting his Bandera Brut, a cider blended with five different types of Texan apples, aged for six months in American and French Oak. The process is far from a simple homebrew, explains Mickel. “We’re not making a quick, sparking cider. We treat the cider very much like a wine,” he says.
Besides constantly tasting the cider during the multiple fermentation stages, Mickel strictly regulates the temperature of the cider in order to extract the full scope of flavors. The end product is comparable to champagne – deliciously dry and crisp, with a buttery finish.
Extraordinarily, what was an “at home project” has grown into so much more and with Mickel aiming to triple production this year, acquiring a larger space was vital. As was bringing on extra help from friend, Jules Peterson. Soon Argus Cidery will be calling Dripping Springs home and hope to open their doors for tastings.