Cider – It Isn’t Just For Halloween Anymore

CRABAPPLES AND HOPS IN A CIDER? That’s right, and it’s pretty good. Clear Fork Cider’s Pink Dolgo and Hoppy Camper earned my family’s Most Favored Cider status this month. PHOTO: J. PATRICK O’LEARY

I took a break from beers and visited Clear Fork Cider with my family this month.

Clear Fork’s tasting room, tucked inside a small industrial park just north of I-70 near West 50th Avenue and Kipling, provides a chance to sample and enjoy artisan ciders made from heirloom apples from orchards from Oregon to Colorado’s Western Slope.

To my wife and I, it felt like a wine tasting: taking note of the appellation (er, region) of the apples, as well as acidity, dryness and ever-so-hard-to-describe aromas. But that would be comparing apples to oranges or, more accurately, grapes.

My threesome ordered two, four-glass flights to sample all eight taps: all distinctly dry except for a couple of semi-sweet offerings. Alcohol by volume was in the ballpark of 7 percent, so take it easy.

Our servers neatly wrote out what we’d ordered on notepaper, including instructions to sample the crabapple-y Dolgo Sour and Pink Dolgo last, lest they overpower the palette and render otherwise enjoyable offerings quite bland. It was advice well taken: my son dubbed Dolgo Sour “The Atomic Warheads of ciders” for its “in-your-face” strength; and the cidery’s menu describes it as “Granny Smith on steroids.”

A bit like white wine was River Run, made from a blend of apples from two orchards along the Columbia River. Citrusy floral notes with a fabulous mouthfeel, says the menu. Reminiscent of a Riesling from the same region, says I.

Garnering the most commentary was Hoppy Camper, a blend of heirloom apples infused with three different types of hops. 

“Pure hops,” said my son. “[It’s] for people who would like to drink IPA. It smells exactly like an IPA.”

I couldn’t get enough of the aroma, which didn’t smell like hops to me, but more of a light, fresh pine.

So we bought two bomber bottles to go. That and a Pink Dolgo – sweet and not as sour as the Dolgo Sour. It’s made from hand-picked local Dolgo crabapples that are quickly fermented and kegged very early to achieve a low alcohol content (3.4 percent), per the menu.

Tasting room hours are limited to Fridays and Saturdays. You’re welcome to bring your own food, but keep Fido at home.

Who: Clear Fork Cider

Where: 4961 Iris St., Wheat Ridge

Hours: Fri. 4-7 p.m.; Sat. 3-7 p.m.

Cider: 8 taps, plus bottles in the cooler.

Food: Snacks

.Info:, 303-656-9395

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