One road ends and another will begin this St. Patrick’s Day when GoodRoad CiderWorks opens its doors to the public.
“It’s been a long journey, without a doubt,” said founder Brian Beauchemin, who moved into the space at 117 Southside Drive in December 2015. “We are ready to be open.”
The cidery is located near Sugar Creek Brewing, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, Great Wagon Road Distilling Co. and Doc Porter’s Distillery in what many people are referring to as Lower South End. Several of those businesses have helped the cidery during its construction, with Sugar Creek and OMB allowing them to clean kegs on their equipment.
“When your neighbors are two breweries and two distilleries, it’s tough to complain about,” said Beauchemin. “Especially since we bring a different flavor to the street.”
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Indeed, GoodRoad CiderWorks is the first cidery on the block and the second in the city. Beauchemin thinks the cidery can fill a niche by catering to people who enjoy drier ciders.
“We like our ciders dry,” said Beauchemin. “There’s no doubt about it. We’ll offer a wide variety of options from ciders to fruits, but in general if you want a dry cider this is the place to be.”
GoodRoad CiderWorks will also set itself apart as Charlotte’s first meadery, with mead makers Kevin Martin and Rob Adams overseeing that aspect of the business. Beauchemin met both of them – as well as several other partners – through the Carolina BrewMasters homebrew club.
“When I decided to go down the path of ciders, it took me about an extra three seconds to decide meads were going to be part of the deal as well,” said Beauchemin. “Then another second to say, ‘Okay, I’ve got to go talk to Kevin to see if he’s on board.’ ”
Martin has been brewing since 1994 and has won several awards for his meads. He welcomes the chance to educate Charlotte about the beverage, which is essentially a wine made from honey. Of course, there’s much more to it than that.
“What people think of when they think of mead is generally something that’s really strong and really sweet,” said Martin. “I’m hoping to introduce the population to all the facets of mead, and not just what they’ve heard about or read about through Beowulf or the sci-fi/fantasy genre.”
To that end, GoodRoad CiderWorks will have a lower-alcohol mead in the 6.5-7 percent range that Martin hopes will become their “signature, everyday mead.” He plans to make some meads that focus on specific varietals of honey, like orange blossom or avocado honey, as well as blended meads. There will be some spiced and fruited meads later, as well as stronger meads in the 18-20 percent range that take more time to produce.
As for the ciders, to start GoodRoad CiderWorks will be pouring their Stayman single-varietal cider, Newton Pippin single varietal, as well as their Waymaker ginger cider and a cider hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops. They hope to also have a few cysers, which is a blend of cider and mead.
GoodRoad CiderWorks will open its doors this Friday from 3-11 p.m. for the soft opening; look for a grand opening to come later. Their hours are 4-9 p.m. on Wednesday, 4-10 p.m. on Thursday, 3-11 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Event of the week
Black and Blue 8 Pre-Party at Brawley’s Beverage
When: 5-9 p.m. Friday.
Where: Brawley’s Beverage, 4620 Park Road.
What: The eighth annual Black and Blue, presented by Brawley’s Beverage, should be the Event of the Week – but then that would be cruel to the many people who weren’t able to find tickets, which sold out online in just minutes. You can still pre-party at Brawley’s Beverage this Friday, when owner Michael Brawley will pull out several special kegs (including the first GoodRoad CiderWorks keg outside the taproom) and also auction off a pair of tickets to Black and Blue 8, with the proceeds going to charity.