It’s been a long three years, but Colorado Common is starting to see the fruits of their labor. Originally started in 2013, Colorado Common is finally readying their tasting room for the public next Saturday, May 7.
I had a chance just the other day to stop in and talk with Matthew Bonno, the man behind Colorado Common, Colorado Springs’ first craft cidery. After an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2013, Colorado Common reached out to friends and family for funding and has been hard at work building their cidery from the ground up ever since.
Colorado Common is located in the same complex that houses Axe and the Oak distillery and the temporary location for Local Relic (before Local Relic moves into the Lincoln School). Right off of Platte and Murray, it’s a quick trip from downtown or the east side.
The front of their location is fairly non-descript, a Colorado Common banner hung behind the heavily tinted windows, and words on the door indicating the Monte Cervino Beverage Company. Originally, according to Matthew, they started the business with intentions of offering custom wine blending for local restaurants, but ultimately decided to cut their teeth with cider.
Honestly, I know pretty much nothing about cider. I’ve attempted to make it once, creating a highly alcoholic liquid that I back-sweetened with lactose, and could barely get friends to drink it. Matthew gave me the crash course in cider apple sourcing.
He wouldn’t divulge their exact blend, but Fuji apples are too sweet by them selves, Granny Smith add a nice layer of complexity, and some other kind that I can’t remember gives cider its tartness. It’ll take me some time to wrap my brain around the ingredients, but it’s a interesting departure from beer. Naturally, when we’re talking ingredients, I ask about Colorado produce. Matthew says they would love to use all Colorado apples, but because of our wonky growing seasons, it’s hard to get a consistent yield.
Ultimately, Colorado Common settled on apples from Washington state. With a pressing facility just down the road from the orchard, Matthew says they’re getting extremely fresh juice.
Pro tip: Head around back for the locals entrance.
For awhile, Colorado Common took their cider to festivals on the Western Slope, consciously getting their name in front of people who were more used to seeing cider. Then came bottles, some labels, more bottles, some label changes, and Colorado Common was ready for prime time.
The tasting room is pretty spacious, with a nice ten-or-so seats at the bar and some picnic tables spread out. Being that they are a cider house, they don’t have near the amount of equipment one would usually see at a brewery. Tanks number one to five line the outside of a cooler and a lone brite tank sits beside their custom-fashioned bottling line.
Matthew says they can bottle three bottles per minute at their current capacity, all hand capped and hand labeled. It’s a labor of love at Colorado Common. One batch takes nearly a day to get ready for shelves. Kegs are a new thing too, just in time for a tasting room that will easily be filled most nights they’re open.
We tasted three of their ciders that should be available most of the time, as well as a few one-offs that could be tasting room only.
Original Cider: This is an incredibly drinkable, slightly hopped, cider. Colorado Common uses a blend of Hallertau, Tettnang and Cascade hops for an almost imperceivable hop character. The hops lend a slight citrus flavor and some bitterness, but also help to balance the sweetness of the cider.
Ginger and Mountain Elderflower: Don’t let the ginger scare you away. Colorado Common has artfully added just enough ginger without creating something reminiscent of ginger ale. While I didn’t taste a huge amount of elder flower, there is a nice floral character to this cider. This is a lawn-mower cider if there ever was one.
Summit House: Colorado Common’s wild-ale style cider. Of the three, this was the easiest to drink, surprising as it’s the highest ABV of the three. Matthew says it’ll appeal more to cider-lovers, but I think the wild-character will appeal to some beer drinkers as well. Supposedly, Colorado Common is canning this soon, so be on the lookout.
I also tried their Mango cider which should be available at the opening, but was still in the fermenter and hadn’t been back-sweetened. Nice mango flavor, but fairly tart and dry. Hopefully Matthew doesn’t get too crazy with the sugar.
Barrel-aged Cider: This is so good. Colorado Common has taken an Axe and the Oak bourbon barrel and added a blend of ciders to it. The result is a cider that wafts aromas of high-proof whiskey, yet tastes nowhere near as strong as it smells. If I could put this in an old fashioned, it would be amazing… #goals
Here’s the info for their grand opening, we hope to see you there.
Colorado Common Grand Opening | May 7 | Noon
4655 Town Center Drive, #130
KICK A** CIDER