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New Nordeast Brewery Unveils Craft Cider

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Move over craft beer makers, there’s a new player in town and they’re putting a craft spin on cider.

Sociable Cider Werks is a hard cider brewery that will join an already brewery-heavy Northeast Minneapolis. The 1,100-square-foot tap room features hard ciders, apple graffs, a mixture of beer wort and cider, and nano-batch beers brewed on a two-barrel system.

A down-home feel rounds out this new experience in taprooms, but it’s their hard apple cider that will open your eyes. It’s made a little differently than the stuff you find at your corner liquor store.

Sociable Cider Werks co-owner Jim Watkins and his business partner Wade Thompson started brewing cider in their garage years ago. But two years ago they started on a venture that now adds something different to the marketplace.

“We’re kind of self-proclaimed craft beer heads. We kind of wanted something to fit that mode. The stuff that was commercially available for cider was just way too sweet and we knew that it could be more than that,” said Watkins.

Sociable Cider Works has two core flavors — a dry apple graff called Freewheeler and Broken Spoke, an apple graff/milk stout mash-up.

“We’re the only people in the country making graffs … a graff is a cider that uses a malt in it (a hops adjunct), so it gives us a lot of room for flexibility and creativity,” Watkins said.

The taproom also boasts huge windows that let in lots of light, a piano, foosball table, and pews from a nearby church.

Watkins says this cider brewery stands out amongst others.

“We have a commitment of using fresh pressed apples, and not everyone does. There are a lot of products out there use concentrate,” he said.

“We’re really excited to be participating in the craft beer movement in Minneapolis, but also kind of doing our own thing. And I think that cider and apple graffs are unique and we hope that when people decide that they are going to check out two or three brewers, they’ll include us,” Watkins said.

Sociable Cider Werks wants to encourage conversation. It’s a place to sit down, have a pint of cider and talk to your friends. That’s why you see no televisions.

And don’t worry if you are not a cider person; they do brew their own craft beer.

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