Friday, March 31, 2017

New Long Island cider tasting room goes beyond the norm

A look at the main tasting and dining area. (photos provided)
Cideries may briefly have been a poor cousin to wineries and breweries that were more in the mainstream mind and adept at marketing through well-appointed tasting rooms, but that is changing.

Now that cider, which in colonial times and beyond was the go-to adult beverage here and in the UK, has made a tremendous comeback, more and more cideries -- sometimes offshoots of wine- and beer-making operations -- are paying attention to their public face via tasting rooms.

An example of go-big-or-go-home is the Riverhead Ciderhouse, an 8,000-square-foot tasting room that just opened in the Long Island community regarded as the gateway to the East End wine region.

Greg Gove, whose resume includes stints as a winemaker with Hargrave and Pindar vineyards, is the cider master for the operation that offers a wide variety of apple ciders and other apple products along with locally-made beers and wines. He is using New York-grown apples to produce three ciders -- Benjamin’s Best, Razmatazz and Reserve cider.

The tasting room, which offers 24 beverages on tap, has a pair of floor-to-ceiling fireplaces, retail space and a cafe, all with a rustic, brick-accented decor. In addition to the beverages, it offers local produce indigenous to Long Island as part of the “Farm to Fork Revolution,” as well as pizzas, sandwiches and seasonal fare.

The retail space offers local artists' merchandise and such boutique items as clothing, caps and sweatshirts and more. And, to complete the package, there is live in-house entertainment by a range of local musicians as well as two self-playing pianos.

This isn't your grandfather's cider house. And, it's located at 2711 Sound Avenue in the Town of Riverhead hamlet of Calverton. Hours: Open at 11 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday, 9 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday, and 6 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Phone: (631) 591-0217.

Lounge area near one of the fireplaces.

The twin self-playing pianos.

• Go here to visit the Capital Region Brew Trail
• Go here to visit Dowd On Drinks
• Go here to visit Dowd's New York Wines Notebook

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