The landscape of craft alcoholic beverages across the US has been an ever-growing organism. With this constant change and expansion the diversity of options grows as well. One trend that seems to be picking up steam in certain regions are breweries that also make cider. Typically this is to diversify the options to the consumer and control the process, but sometime it is a passion project. We were able to talk with the team at Benny Boy Brewing about their pre-opening offerings and get a glimpse into their world.
1) Tell us more about your brand, yourself and your area.
Chelsey Rosetter — We’re opening this winter in Lincoln Heights, minutes from Downtown Los Angeles. Benny Boy Brewing is all about elevating the craft beverage experience and uniting beer, cider and wine lovers in one super fun, outdoor urban beer garden. My co-founder (and husband) Ben trained in Belgium for brewing, and everything we produce is made with Old World Brewing techniques. This means we only use whole flower hops, no filtering, and natural carbonation for cleaner, less-processed beer and cider.
We want every visit to Benny Boy Brewing to be an epic, delicious experience. When you walk in, the Cider House is on your right with barrel-aging, cider and wine on tap, a tree in the middle of the tasting room, fermentation tanks and a little bar. On your left is the brewery, where we are pouring directly from tanks behind the 60 ft. bar. There’s penny tile under the barstools and a hanging glass rack above the bar. In between the two buildings is a landscaped beer garden with fire pits, cozy seating and pop-up food vendors.
2) Why make cider and beer?
Chelsey Roseter — We always wanted to produce both beer and cider at our brewery — we love the UK culture where beer and cider co-exists, and we want to bring that vibe to LA, where there still isn’t much of a cider scene . Craft cider is a very complimentary beverage to craft beer, and it will bring in different groups that might not visit a beer-only brewery otherwise. It also offers seltzer lovers something less-processed and natural to try, made with 100% fresh-pressed apple juice.
3) How do you experiment with cider flavors?
Ben Farber — We get fresh-pressed juice from a local orchard and do test fermentation batches in carboys with all sorts of different variations. We’ve also added fruit juices, and blended different apple varieties in order to balance tannis, acid and sweetness.
4) Does your beer influence your cider?
Ben Farber — I would say that our brewing philosophy definitely influences our cider making — using unprocessed ingredients and letting nature do the work (and in cider’s case, letting the apples shine). Also, we aim to make approachable ciders that are served in a pint glass, like you would a beer. We want cider to be less of a special occasion beverage and more of a casual social drink.
5) Do you see your team adding more ciders moving forward?
Ben Farber — Absolutely. We will always have a range of dry to semi-sweet in the tasty room, and we will be adding seasonal fruit juice blends, single-varieties, and barrel-aged ciders to our lineup throughout the year.
6) How do you think your clients feel about having both? Do you win over beer lovers with ciders?
Chelsey Rosetter — Well, since our doors are not quite open, we can only gauge this by the enthusiasm we’ve received from those who have been following along with us on our long journey to opening, and let me tell you, people are STOKED for both options at one place! We’ve heard so many people say that at least one friend is left out when they plan to go to a brewery with a large group (that person doesn’t like beer, is gluten-free, etc.). We know how special it is to experience tasting a beverage right from the source — a drink that was created on premise — and we’re bringing together the groups that might go to either a winery or a brewery and giving them an opportunity to go to one spot together.
7) Any cool or fun stories to tell in your cidermaking history?
Ben — I will say getting to press fresh-harvested apples on a traditional rack and cloth cider press at Gregg’s Pit Cider & Perry in the middle of the gorgeous rural countryside in Herefordshire, UK, was a pretty special experience. We were out there during harvest season, and we got to tour the orchards, press the fruit, witness keeving in action, sample distilled perry, and generally fall in love with the whole process from an orchardist’s point of view at his own home.
To get updates and information about Benny Boy Brewing visit their website here: https://bennyboybrewing.com/