Cheers to Treehorn Cider
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what about a glass of hard apple cider? Well, once you’ve had a glass of Treehorn’s craft cider you may think so.
The first craft cidery to hit Atlanta, Treehorn launched in September 2015. Kind of like a real life “Friends,” Treehorn was formed by seven people: four men who have all known each other since high school and their partners. One of the founding men, Justin Pierce, went to Dunwoody High School, with the others also from the area. The idea for a cidery came to Davina Maraccini, one of the founders, while she was visiting Asheville for work and became smitten with their local craft cider. She realized that local craft cider wasn’t available here in Atlanta, so she convinced her friends to jump on board and Treehorn was born.
So why drink hard apple cider? Upon your first sip you’ll notice how crisp and refreshing it is. Atlanta is a beer city, but craft cider makes for a refreshing palette cleanser. There’s also a world of difference between local, craft cider and the larger corporate brands. Treehorn uses a lot less sugar than the big brands making it slightly better for you. They also use white wine yeast in their cider. This adds some esters from the wine while preserving the apples’ flavor.
Speaking of the apples, they play a huge role in making Treehorn’s cider so drinkable. “Most big companies use apples from concentrate, without character. In order to give it flavor they add a lot of sugar,” says ciderist Andrew Wheeler. Treehorn, on the other hand, has a partnership with Mercier Orchards, located in North Georgia. They gather the apples for them and press a blend of juice just for Treehorn. Since the apples vary by season, no batch is alike!
Being the first craft cidery in a beer town is not without its challenges. While they’ve found success among the gluten free crowd, the biggest hurdle they face with everyone else is just trying the product. People often associate cider with cloying sweetness, giving it a stigma as a “girly” drink. “You have to convince people to try it and sell it and once you do, it flies out the door,” says Wheeler.
Similarly to its fermented cousins, beer and wine, hard apple cider is versatile beyond just drinking it in a glass. Wheeler recommends poaching salmon in their dry cider, or pairing it with goat cheese and pork. It also makes a great base for a cocktail – perfect for patio season.
Besides being the perfect summertime beverage, Treehorn also has a culture of sustainability and understands the importance of minimizing its impact on the environment. Unlike breweries, a lot less waste is created by the production of cider. Growing apples is more sustainable than growing the barley, hops and grains needed for beer. After the apples are pressed, the remaining parts can be recycled as compost or animal feed. Ciderist Mallory Law, also explains, “No water goes in our product, so we use a lot less resources than a brewery.”
So where can you find them? You can’t visit Treehorn’s tasting room (yet), and it’s only available for purchase in kegs. You can find their dry and ginger flavored cider at several restaurants throughout the metro area, including Sandy Springs’s own Battle and Brew. While they did receive a permit for a tasting room in Marietta, the next big thing for Treehorn is getting their product into cans. Once the cider is in cans people can buy it at shops and enjoy it in their own homes.
Summer is in full swing, so there isn’t a better time than now to try Atlanta’s hottest beverage, Treehorn Cider.