By Evan Matsumoto
Durham, N.C. — In a time when craft beer was booming, John Clowney helped open a cidery.
Clowney, one of the owners of Bull City Ciderworks in Durham, knows his ciders are good. They can be slightly sweet and a bit spicy; crisp and easy drinking; or dry hopped and tropical.
A hard apple cider provides a clean, delicate background that lets other flavors bloom. Ferment the apples with cranberries for a more tart finish, or use pumpkin puree and vanilla bean for a cider that tastes like fall. If that’s not enough, mix a couple of the flavors for something entirely new.
The creativity flowing through taps at Bull City makes the cider as varied and interesting as craft beer.
The craft cider industry, though, is still in its infancy, and it’s trying to crawl out from under the shadow of bigger brands, such as Angry Orchard and Smith & Forge. Taproom manager Melissa Chieffe said those brands have left a sickly sweet flavor in some people’s mouths, which might have turned them off from other ciders.
But, she notes, most people are quick to change.