Long Road Cider

Get to know Tennessee’s first active cidery

By Jeff Hulett

Did you know that just down the way from Memphis you can find Tennessee’s first active cidery? That’s right. After two address changes and countless hours on the phone with every government office you can imagine, Long Road Cider has received the official declaration of Tennessee’s first active cidery.

Family-owned and -operated, Long Road is the perfect setting for a party, wedding, or concert –and it’s family-friendly. Long Road, only 20 minutes from downtown Memphis, is an earnest, down-home place with a front porch to die for. Cidery hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m.

Long Road owner Scott Patterson has been brewing beers for years but always had a thing for cider. Now he’s leading the charge in cider making across the region.

“I joke that my beer was mediocre at best and I could get better beer cheaper and easier by going down the street,” Scott says. “But this wasn’t the case with cider. My preference for dry ciders certainly didn’t help either, as they were virtually unavailable in our local market.”

When asked, “Why Barretville?” Scott doesn’t shy away from it – he buys fruit from a guy in the area and there’s a ton of history, he says. “We are only 20 scenic minutes away.”

As for business, it is so good, it’s hard for Long Road Cider to keep up. They also have plans for some fun special events coming up, including the second annual Bobby “Blue” Bland Festival on June 2. “Most people don’t know this, but Bland started his career playing tunes on our porch,” says Scott.

Other goodies are in store as well. Long Road Cider expects to introduce some limited releases from their sour cellar, a grape wine or two, and some fruited ciders. And don’t worry  crowd pleasers like Slingshot, Bourbon Slingshot, Rhonissippi, and more will also be available.


Good News!

If you can’t make it out to Barretville, you can enjoy ciders at the following restaurants and retailers:

Fill a Growler:

  • Miss Cordelia’s
  • Memphis Cash Saver
  • Buster’s Liquors & Wines
  • Cheer’s Wine & Spirits
  • Joe’s Wine & Liquors
  • Poplar Wine & Spirits
  • Stellar Cellar Wine & Spirits

Memphis

  • Rec Room
  • Central BBQ (Midtown)
  • Central BBQ (Downtown)
  • Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
  • Railgarten Diner
  • Loflin Yard
  • Hop Daddy
  • French Truck Coffee
  • Miss Cordelia’s
  • Lucchesi’s Beer Garden • Bosco’s Squared
  • Bounty on Broad
  • Porcellino’s

Cordova

  • Meddlesome Brewing Co.
  • Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
  • Stellar Cellar Wine & Spirits

Collierville

  • Cheers Wine & Spirits
  • Poplar Wine & Spirits

Germantown

• Corks Wine and Spirits


Wyile Cider & the Legend of Foxfire Mountain

By Rob Shomaker, Certified Cicerone®

The road meanders around corners, past farms, and into the mountains. Structure gives way to nature and one is left with the impression that this was how it was intended; serene and magical. From the rivers to the stone, the majesty is only found in the mountains of East Tennessee. Not far from the bright lights of Sevierville, a hidden gem sits on Foxfire Mountain.

The cider house is that of magic and whimsy, with turns and angles in its structure that make it appear it leapt from a children’s book. The door into the tasting room is large and wide. Once inside, ciders abound: growler jugs of the base cider, Mayapple, as well as 750ML bottles and mason jars of the fermented variety.

The intersection of the Wyiles and cider comes to life in a book written by proprietor Marc Postlewaite, “The Appalachian Wyiles of Foxfire Mountain.” Readers discover the whimsical story of how the Wyile people were found after two individuals mischievously cross paths with a Wyile named O’Klee.

Here the cider story begins. As Marc tells it, Fox- fire Mountain has been home to the Wyiles for generations. At 3-feet tall, these mischievous individuals are said to be descendants of leprechaun stowaways in the 1600s. The Wyiles might, perhaps, be that of legend, but at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park, the stories come to life in cider inspired by these folks.

Cider Master Shawn Breeden has brewed beer for many years. His tenure in cider began six years ago as a desire to find something for his non-beer- loving spouse to enjoy. His wife would often make apple butter and toss out the cores and rinds. Once Shawn placed these and some sugar in two vessels and left them to do as they might for a year. After he back-sweetened this first attempt, spark became fire and his adventure in cider began. This past January, Marc asked Shawn to join the team and help bring the Wyile’s cider to life.

Shawn pushes the quality and consistency of the cider through continual refinement. All ingredients are either natural or organic and are locally-sourced. The base cider, Mayapple, is a careful blend of five different apples. From this base cider, divergence begins in both still and sparkling – O’Klee, dry cider; Keeva, sweet cider, and Ilus – varieties.

Of the still cider variety, there are currently 18 different selections; everything from peach to elderberry to blood orange. Each is made with carefully-selected ingredients and blended to allow both the apple and the selected fruit to blend together in harmony.

The cider and the Wyiles are alive and well on Foxfire Mountain. Quality cider, adventure, and the beauty of East Tennessee are all there, waiting to be discovered.


Drinking Apples in Tennessee’s Original Craft Cidery

By Stephanie Carson

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then Gypsy Circus Cidery – Tennessee’s original craft cidery – is poised to be in good health for years to come. Just two years after opening, the Kingsport-based cidery is seeing exponential growth. Their cider can be found across Tennessee thanks to distribution agreements with Lipman Brothers and most recently Cherokee.

“We have surpassed our expectations and growth projections exponentially,” says owner Aaron Carson, a Telford, Tennessee native. “We knew hard cider was a grow- ing craft beverage market, but the response we’ve seen from people in Tennessee and beyond is incredible,” he says. People appreciate that Gypsy Circus’ cider is made and fermented with only fresh-pressed apples.

Gypsy Circus cans their two flagship ciders, the semi- dry Raindancer and semi-sweet Queen of Swords. They also release a quarterly seasonal can. The seasonal cider this summer is the Mountain Meditator made with lemon basil. Their spring cider was the Lotus Dreamer made with orange blossom, which was met with large demand from bars and stores. Suppliers even began to run low earlier than projected.

Carson says there was one only small problem with its popularity – they couldn’t replace the spring cider with the summer cider when it ran out. “We’re waiting on the lemon basil to mature at the Tennessee farm we partner with in Greeneville, Tennessee. We can’t speed up mother nature,” he shares.

And that problem underlies a core philosophy at Gypsy Circus. “If the flavor doesn’t naturally occur, we don’t make it,” says Aaron.

Meaning, the cidery does not use flavor extracts and they do not ferment without fresh-pressed apple juice. Their Love Potion Cider — a chocolate and cherry cider — tastes like chocolate and cherries because they use real cherries and cocoa from French Broad Chocolates to make the cider. Their Jack Tales cider uses Tennessee grown pumpkins and this list goes on.

All ingredients are mixed with fresh-pressed apple juice, which is another big differentiator.

Gypsy Circus’ dedication to its craft and the best ingredients is not going unnoticed. It recently took second place in Pick Tennessee’s Producer of the Year and it is the southeast’s most awarded cidery with awards from GLINTCAP, New York International Wine Competition, and East Meets West Wine Competition. Cidercraft magazine named Gypsy Circus’ cider Vaudevillain the best stone fruit cider in the world

For Aaron and his growing staff, it’s all about growing with the Gypsy Circus market and enriching the experiences and taste buds of loyal fans.

“Our best day is when someone comes to the taproom and tells us they don’t like cider. After a few samples, they often leave with a four-pack of something containing apples,” said Aaron. “That is why we’re doing this.”