Cocktail Diaries: Pumpkin Pie Cider
“Drink great ciders. Honor great sacrifice!” It’s a simple concept that changed the lives of two humble brothers from Kansas. When you meet Jason and Josh Duren it takes all of five minutes before you feel like you’ve been friends for years. It’s that welcoming nature plus their revolutionary cider making skills that brought Cider Corps to life.
Nearly a year ago, the duo was working out of their garage and now they are about to celebrate their one-year anniversary — on Veterans Day — as Arizona’s first craft cidery and taproom in their 1800s era building in downtown Mesa.
With an intro like that, it’s no surprise why we were thrilled to partner with Cider Corps for our November cocktail. And the intrigue of a pumpkin pie cider didn’t hurt either!
When you walk into Cider Corps, the sense of community is almost palpable. From the friendly, laid back bartenders, to the open concept lined with picnic tables, and the shelf full of board games, every element of the design appears to promote connecting and engaging with those around you.
As you stare up at their oversized chalk board menu, you begin to see ingredients you would never expect in a cider like beets, ginger, black tea, cold brew, lemongrass, and hibiscus. It’s the innovate cider making process that Jason implements that allows for these intriguing flavors. Their menu changes often, and if you are in the market for a cider slushie — yes, we said slushie — you’re in luck because their flavors change each week.
In its first year, the cidery has produced more than 50 different cider flavors. If you’re like us, you’re curious how they come up with their flavor combinations. The brothers share that many of the flavor ideas stem from collaborations with local businesses and sometimes even from a patron’s fruit tree. The good news is you don’t have to choose just one: they offer cider flights.
The delicious cider didn’t stay a secret for long. In just under a year, Cider Corps has expanded its reach to nearly 70 bars and restaurant in Phoenix, Prescott, and Tucson.
So what’s next for the budding company? Bottling their own cider.
Their first bottling run features their “Drink Your Pie” series. The four packs are available at Cider Corps while supplies last. Each pack includes a Pumpkin Pie, Black Cherry Crisp, Peach Cobbler, and Cold Brew — made in collaboration with Press Coffee — cider.
The delicious pie-flavored cider series is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season and Cider Corps’ upcoming one-year anniversary on Veterans Day; a day special to the brothers in more ways than one.
In addition to being Cider Corps’ anniversary, the pair is dedicated to building awareness and support for the many challenges veterans face at home. It was cider making that aided in Jason’s recovery after experiencing traumatic brain injuries while deployed in Afghanistan. To celebrate this special day, Cider Corps has a whole slew of upcoming events:
- November 9 – Esprit de Corps Cider Dinner featuring six local chefs making dishes to pair with Cider Corps cider.
- November 10 – Southwest Cider Fest featuring a lineup of the best craft cideries in the Southwest.
- November 12 – Veteran’s Day Parade in downtown Mesa. Cider Corps will be open for extended hours, offer free coffee to veterans, and have a local, veteran owned food truck onsite.
Partnering with Cider Corps not only gave us an excuse to drink our favorite dessert, but it also reinforced the notion that with dedication, hard work, and a strong sense of community your dreams can come true … even if they were dreams you didn’t realize you had. And that’s something we can salute.
Now let’s get to the good part …
Cider Corps Pumpkin Pie Cider
There is no other way to describe Cider Corps’ Pumpkin Pie Cider than it tastes exactly like pumpkin pie. And for good reason. To make this delicious concoction the team roasted 200 pounds of pumpkin.
Next, they boiled the pumpkin in apple juice with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, all spice, and clove for six hours to make a pumpkin pie concentrate. That concentrate was pushed back into their base cider, and voilà you have pumpkin pie cider!
This cider is so good that we didn’t even consider making a cocktail out of it. We did top it with a little whip cream though — because if you’re going to drink your pie, you’ve got to do it right!