|The featured guests|
Arguably the more pressing reality is that the cider business is booming. Sales have reportedly tripled since 2007. As a major industry player, the CBA must have a cider. Sam Adams has Angry Orchard. MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch have both introduced ciders and there are a growing number of independent, craft ciders out there. Expect a lot of craft brewers to figure out how to add a cider to their line.
Why cider? That's the quintessential question. Some of the growing popularity of cider is based on a sort of mythology, it seems. Something like 6 percent of Americans are gluten-intolerant, which means they shouldn't be drinking beer, eating donuts or gobbling up pasta, among other things. Yet 29 percent of the American public is reportedly trying to avoid gluten. Some are doing so because they think it will help them lose weight; others think it will make them feel healthier.
I'm not here to argue the point one way or the other. Some experts say going gluten-free isn't going to benefit most people who aren't intolerant, though it will definitely cost them more at the grocery store. And avoiding gluten isn't the key to losing weight. That's a calorie issue and gluten-free doesn't solve it. On the other hand, there are those who clearly feel better when they reduce or eliminate gluten in their diet, and not just beer. So there are at least two sides to this argument.
|Bushwhacker big board|
The two Square Mile brands are The Original and Spur & Vine. Both are clean, refreshing ciders that come in at 6.7% ABV. The only discernible difference is that Spur & Vine is dry-hopped with Galaxy hops during conditioning. Since there's no heat, the hops impart no bitterness. But they do add a mellow aroma and a touch of hop flavor. Beer fans will likely prefer Spur & Vine, although both are quite good. Serve The Original over ice to complement the apple flavor; serve Spur & Vine straight-up to fully appreciate its complexity.
|Inviting patio was vacant on a wet evening|
The Square Mile ciders are currently available on draft and in 22 oz bombers at select locations.That brings up Bushwhacker, billed as America's first urban cider pub. They appear to serve and sell nothing but cider here. They have six on tap, including their own brand, and a deep supply of bottles. The physical space isn't huge and there's no food. But it's comfortable inside and the patio is surely great in nice weather, which was not in evidence Thursday evening.
If you're interested in cider or just want to see the lay of the land, check this place out. Bushwhacker is located in the Brooklyn neighborhood, just off Powell on SE 12th. Mitzi Komisar, once the star of Belmont Station, is involved in running the place and it looks great.