How do you like them apples?

Long Beach welcomes its first hard cidery

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How do you like them apples?

A flight of cider at the grand opening of Ficklewood

A flight of cider at the grand opening of Ficklewood

A flight of cider at the grand opening of Ficklewood

A flight of cider at the grand opening of Ficklewood

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Long Beach’s brewery scene is getting some new competition with the opening of the city’s first cidery in downtown.

Ficklewood Ciderworks celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 25., when a local best-friend duo finally introduced the dry cider tastes they had been experimenting with in their own backyard experiments, to the rest of the city.

Stefan Enjem and Joe Farrier have carefully curated 14 of their own apple-based alcoholic ciders for each tap at Ficklewood Ciderworks, with a variety of hops and fruit blends that keeps its all-cider menu from becoming repetitive.

For customers looking for a fresh, crisp taste, Ficklewood recommends Yonderhop, a cider brewed with citrus flavored Mosaic hop flowers, while those looking for a creamy finish can try Mallow del Sol, a fragrant brew of apple, pineapple and hibiscus.

The fruit blends offered at Ficklewood Ciderworks range from simple, like the apple and blueberry Moonmist, to complex ciders like Moodyroot, made with with roasted pistachio, blood orange zest and date and beet sugars aged in oak.

While people may associate hard cider with sugary commercial brands like Angry Orchard, Ficklewood Ciderworks focuses on brewing drier ciders that contain little to no sugar, good news for diabetics like Enjem.

Kristen Naeem | Signal Tribune
Community members flocked to Ficklewood Ciderworks with their friends and families on Jan. 25, to try its array of craft alcoholic ciders during the business’ grand opening.

“Great cider is an important part,” Farrier told the crowd at the grand opening, “but bringing the experience of cider is something that was really important to us, and making sure that people learn about cider because a lot of people didn’t know what to expect from cider. They have some sweet ciders that turn some people off. We really wanted to go back to the traditional dry cider and it’s been a fun experience learning about that, making it, making it better, making it good and great now.”

As an added benefit, cider is completely gluten free, since it’s distilled from apples instead of barley or wheat. This is especially important to Farrier, and others like him who have celiac disease. The autoimmune disease that causes diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating when gluten, which is present in grains like wheat and barley, is ingested.

Since cider doesn’t have the fanbase beer does, the number of cideries pales in comparison to breweries, with the closest one to Long Beach having been The Honest Abe Cider House & Meadery in Gardena, until now.

On the day of its grand opening, Ficklewood Ciderworks was open from 11am to 11pm, with Mayor Robert Garcia presenting a certificate of recognition to Farrier and Enjem inside before performing a ribbon cutting at the front entrance.

“It’s really important when a business opens up,” Garcia said, “especially one that’s taking a risk.”

The new business open floor plan allows guests to view the distillation process, with the large tanks and equipment visible through large glass windows.

Kristen Naeem | Signal Tribune
Mayor Robert Garcia samples some cider from a flight at the grand opening of Ficklewood Ciderworks in downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Jan. 25 before conducting a ribbon cutting ceremony.

“This change is really amazing,” Garcia said to Farrier and Enjem, “and you guys have obviously invested not just your resources, but you’ve invested your love and passion for cider, and for this amazing, growing economy which is in Long Beach. Our brewers, our beer economy, this cider that’s happening– all of this is a big part of what’s happening in Long Beach right now that we support, and we want you guys to support it as well. One of the best parts about our city is this growing economy.”