It All Stems from Here: A Visit to Stem Cider

Feb 19, 2019

WW Beer team members Cameron Brown, Stephanie Jensen and Daniel Gonzales took a visit to Stem Ciders in Denver, Colorado. 

Cameron Brown, Beer Specialist

Perched in the hills above Denver, with incredible views of the Flatirons and the Rockies, Stem’s new Acreage location is remarkable. A stripped-down cider bar and eatery, featuring Basque inspired dishes and Stem’s downright tasty ciders. As if their core lineup isn’t impressive enough, you can get flights of ciders that really showcase the creativity that got them here. Zinfandel barrels, whiskey barrels from local distillers, cherries, pears and heritage apple varieties. And on a hot day (or any day), cider slushies!

The production facility here is state of the art. Walls of barrels for aging, pallets of wood for smoking the food upstairs, and 30 foot tall fermentation tanks fill the space, with plenty of room to expand. A testament to how savvy Stem’s cider makers are: they can actually halt fermentation just through filtration. This lets them dial in the exact sugar content they want without adding any sulphites to stunt the yeast.

Acreage really showcases how passionate the people at Stem are, not just for their ciders, but for every facet of their organization. Coming soon is an onsite farm with all the produce going straight to the restaurant. A few years after that, the team plans to farm seven acres of cider apples, and create their own estate ciders, making this truly an orchard to glass operation.

After seeing the size and scope of Acreage, a visit to their original facility is humbling. It’s tiny. Postage stamp tiny. It’s a how did they even make this much cider here kind of tiny. And the vibe is fantastic, right in the heart of the RiNo Art District, packed full of people, with a stage where the canning line used to be. Seeing both locations gives you a great sense of where Stem comes from, and where it’s going.

Stephanie Jensen, Beer Portfolio Manager

Stem Ciders makes some of the most interesting ciders on the market with their creative use of different fruit and spices. While in Denver, we had the chance to preview their new seasonal release, chile guava. It is fantastic! Just the right amount of heat, a nice blend of tropical guava rounded out by tartness and a dry finish.

Their new Acreage location in Lafayette is impressive. With a full service restaurant cooking up fantastic eats like smoked pork spare ribs, a massive patio with amazing views of the mountains and of course, plenty of cider, Acreage is a cider and culinary mecca. All of Stem’s production occurs on site, from fermentation, to barrel aging to packaging.

Daniel Gonzales, Beer Specialist

Stem Cider Acreage is a true destination spot in Denver! I can see why it’s packed every night – I would make this my weekend hang out spot if I lived in Denver. At Stem, you learn how versatile cider is in terms of flavors and color. They have the most beautiful range of colors in their ciders, and you can tell each one is thought out. The ciders range from chile guava to a barrel aged fruited Rosé. I see this brand turning beer geeks and wine snobs into real cider fans! I didn’t realize how hard it is to grow fruit in Denver because of the poor soil quality. Stem is putting in a lot of effort to have good soil to grow trees on the Acreage location by adding nutrient rich, new soil around every tree.

The location in the RiNo (River North neighborhood) area of Denver is very unique. You can grab a slushy version of selected ciders and eat from a food truck while listening to a live band play inside the tasting room.

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