HOUSTON — Having already cleansed the water and saved the townspeople with his divine ales, Saint Arnold turned his focus to man’s original nemesis: the apple. And so he ventured into the orchard, cast away the serpents, harvested the trees’ finest fruits, and created the saintly cider you will soon hold. The townspeople were delighted and the apple regained its rightful place among the earth’s most delicious gifts. Or so the legend goes …
Saint Arnold Brewing Co., Texas’ oldest craft brewery, is releasing a cider for the first time next week. Saint Arnold Original Dry Cider will be available on draft in bars across Houston beginning February 11 and in 12 oz cans and draft throughout Texas and Louisiana in March.
With the opening of the Beer Garden & Restaurant and the diverse set of customers coming through the door, the demand for a variety of drink options was mounting. The brewing team’s creative juices started flowing to develop a new product.
“Many of our customers have asked us for something gluten-free and I’m not a fan of gluten-free beers. We decided to experiment with cider making especially since there are not a lot of local options for ciders,” said Founder/Brewer Brock Wagner. “We love the challenge of learning how to do new things well. Our team succeeded. The most important part: when I finish one pint, I want another.”
The process for developing the cider was just like the process for developing a new Saint Arnold beer, except a bit lengthier because no one had prior cider experience. Team members brewed over 100 test batches experimenting with different blends of culinary apples, yeast, and sugars until the right combination was discovered. Original Dry Cider is comprised of a proprietary blend of apples from the Pacific Northwest, Saint Arnold house brewer’s yeast, and a combination of Belgian candi syrup and Burleson’s Honey from Waxahachie, TX. It has a bright apple flavor and aroma with pear, citrus, and melon notes throughout. Mild acidity balances the flavors and a touch of sweetness delivers a refreshingly light but complex balance and clean, dry finish. It is a most saintly cider.
“I believe because we did not have any prior experience with cider, we were able to come up with a more creative and better cider,” said Head Brewer Eddie Gutierrez. “Cider makers insist you must use a cider or wine yeast, definitely not a brewer’s yeast, but our house Saint Arnold brewer’s yeast was the favorite during blind tastings adding a distinct fruitiness and roundness.”
Original Dry Cider joins the award-winning lineup of 13 year-round, seven seasonal, and two specialty series beers for Saint Arnold, entering its 25th year of operation.
“It was a huge learning curve and we’re aiming to create a product with the same caliber as our beers,” said Brewing Operations Manager Aaron Inkrott. “The weight of creating that is heavy, but I think we’ve achieved it.”
Patrons of Saint Arnold will soon be able to enjoy Original Dry Cider at the Beer Garden & Restaurant and bars across the Houston-area next week. Wagner mused about one other key difference between beer and cider learned during many long cider research and development sessions: cider gives you a gigglier buzz.
Saint Arnold Original Dry Cider Specifications:
Alcohol: 5.5% ABV
Calories per serving: 150
Total Sugars: 5g
Original Dry Cider is gluten-free
About Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Saint Arnold Brewing’s 13 year-round beers, seven seasonals, cider, and two special series – Divine Reserve and Bishop’s Barrel – are made and sold by the company’s staff of 100 dedicated employees. Saint Arnold was named 2017 Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year and the beers have won 26 medals at the Great American Beer Festival .The brewery on the north side of downtown Houston was listed by Thrillist among the best breweries in America for eating, and Smart Meetings magazine named it among the top breweries to host an event. Saint Arnold is located at 2000 Lyons Avenue and Beer Garden & Restaurant opens at 11 A.M. seven days a week. For more information, visit www.saintarnold.com.