Brewery hopping may be in, but now (thankfully) our options are getting diversified. Charlotte’s premier “cidery,” Red Clay Ciderworks, will open its doors Saturday, July 18, to the public.
What you need to know before you go:
Opening hours: 1:30 – 10 p.m.
Founders: Jay and Deanna Bradish
Location: 245 Clanton Rd. (smack dab between The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Triple C Brewing in South End.) The building once housed the Englishman’s Outlet Centre.
Fun fact: People pledged $29,287 on Kickstarter to bring the cidery to life back in Oct. 2014.
— Red Clay Ciderworks (@RedClayCider) June 22, 2015
Who you will find behind the bar: Jamie Bradish (Jay’s sister) and Jonathon Repholz will pour a variety of ciders.
Layout of the building: Like Charlotte’s breweries, the front of the building will feature a taproom, and through glass visitors will see the stainless steel tanks in which apple juice is fermented and turned into cider.
And like many of the city’s breweries, the taproom is covered in rustic, warm lumber – much of it pulled from shipping pallets.
What to do: In addition to the bar seating, there are a variety of tables: long, communal ones that invite conversation, smaller ones perched atop wooden barrels, and a couple of leather couches in a corner.
For something a little more active, the cidery acquired a custom-built shuffleboard table. Also, tonight’s grand opening will have cornhole!
— Red Clay Ciderworks (@RedClayCider) July 7, 2015
What’s on tap: On opening day, visitors can try Queen City Common, a semi-dry cider, or opt for the South End Sweet. Additional ciders will be added in the weeks following.
What to expect: Jay Bradish plans to scale up some of the award-winning ciders he has brewed at home for years, with ingredients like tart cherries, blackberries, thyme and even hops making an appearance in future offerings.
-Red Clay will produce ciders ranging from bone dry to sweet. The alcohol percentage, too, will vary, though most will fall between 5 and 8 percent ABV.
-In their attempt to be a rising tide that raises all ships, Red Clay will add a cooler in the coming weeks that will stock bottles from other cideries as well.
Red Clay’s end game: The city’s breweries have played a large part in educating the drinking public about beer, and Red Clay wants to do the same with cider.
“We’re hoping to educate people,” said Repholz. “People can come in here and we’re going to have our ciders, as well as guest taps from other cideries. We want you to drink our cider, but we also want you to drink all cider.”
Photo by The Charlotte Observer.
Daniel Hartis is the digital manager at “All About Beer” Magazine in Durham and author of “Beer Lover’s The Carolinas” and “Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City.” Follow him on Twitter @DanielHartis.