By Justin Grant, Tampa Bay Times correspondent
Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:33am
Two things I’m not really interested in: cider and mead. I don’t drink mead at all, and it takes a really unique cider to get my attention — Crispin’s Stagger Lee, Woodchuck’s Celler Series Smoked Apple and Domaine Dupont Cidre Bouché are good examples, but they are far from the norm.
That said, here’s a place I’m extremely interested in, especially after my first visit last week: Cigar City Cider and Mead.
Helmed by cider- and mead-maker Jared Gilbert, Cigar City Cider and Mead is the parent company’s latest foray into the “Let’s put Tampa on the map by breathing new life into a small burgeoning industry” category, and I have to say, it’s looking like a smart move.
Cigar City Cider and Mead (let’s just shorten that to Cider and Mead) is not a new name, despite the fact that its actual facility and tasting room opened just last month in Ybor City, in a spot once inhabited by Tampa Bay Brewing Company. The company’s Fight the Power sour and Homemade Apple Pie ciders have been in bars for months now. And these are really good ciders. The standard, base cider is not too sweet and not too dry; it’s about as balanced as one could hope for, with loads of fresh apple flavor in the finish. Fight the Power is crisp and tart like a Jolly Rancher sour apple candy. The Homemade Apple Pie? The name says it all.