Handcrafting the Missing Link One Bottle at a Time
By Haley Grugel
Photography by Kimberlee Miller
When talking about beer, everyone has their own preference on taste and variety, but overall beer is extremely well known and loved. As craft brewing has increased in popularity so has the need for something a little different. As the Meriwether team describes it cider is, “the missing link between wine and beer.” It has those great bubbles and refreshing taste that everyone loves, in a good beer mixed with the amazing flavors and smells that you can only achieve with fruit like wine does. While cider making is an age-old craft, over the past few years it has really regained popularity.
Meriwether Cider is owned by the Leadbetter Family made up of Gig, Ann, Kate and Molly. When the family found themselves searching for a new path in life at the same time, Meriwether Cider Company was born. The original taproom located on Chinden in Garden City was opened in February 2016. The Chinden taproom is where all the magic happens. From brewing to labeling, the taproom, as Molly Leadbetter describes it, is the “heart and soul of Meriwether.” Every bottle is hand brewed, bottled, and labeled. When going to make a new cider Molly said they use a flavor bible in order to match flavors and keep the cider balanced. Molly stated, “we don’t buy apples from any orchards individually, we buy juice from a presser located in Grandview, WA who source their apples from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.”
On September 4, 2018, Meriwether’s newest venture, the Cider House, was born. This location is downtown on the corner of 9th and Bannock. Unlike the taproom, this location not only offers Meriwether cider but also a large variety of ciders from around the world. The menu is broken up into five different groups based on the specific styles of the ciders: modern, heritage, hopped, fruity, and spiced ciders. Molly said with the opening of the new cider house, she is most excited about the chance for people to be able to taste different types of ciders from all over and really find a cider that appeals to them. The new location offers cider tasting from 20 different taps and also houses over 40 different ciders in bottles for purchase. Every bartender at the Cider House is a certified cider professional and can answer all of your pressing cider questions. The Cider House has even streamlined the flight board, matching the symbols on the card you fill out to the symbols on the board, so you know what you’re tasting.
At the end of September Meriwether released their seasonal Pineapple Habanero cider and for Hoptoberfreshtival this year they are introducing a new Hopped Lemon Verbena and Lavender cider. Molly said we can also look forward to their festive Cranberry cider in early November and an American Apple Pie cider around Christmas. Cider may be an age-old tradition but Meriwether is giving the Treasure Valley a way to really experience and develop a new love for cider.