Sour Beer and Cider festival coming to the Gem City

With the popularity of sour beer and ciders the last few years it’s no surprise that they’ve have their own festival. The Gem City Sours & Ciders Festival comes to downtown Mesa’s Cider Corps on Saturday March 21st.  A nickname for Mesa, Gem City was once by city officials for its abundant produce, shaded streets and modern buildings. More than 24 Arizona breweries and cideries from the southwest will be pouring their beers and ciders.

Cider Corps co-owner and cider maker Jason Duren organized the festival after noticing the similarities between sour beer and cider. “We love how collaborative our craft beverage community is. We talk with other breweries about the science behind lactic acid producing bacteria and how they impact the final taste of the beverage,” Duren explained. “The festival is a chance for people to discover what these styles are all about and sample what our region is creating.” Duren has experience not just making cider but by planning successful Southwest Cider Festivals in 2018 and 2019.

Photo and logo courtesy of Angela Muniz at AMBA

The festival starts at 2 p.m. for VIP ticket ($50) holders and 4 p.m. for General Admission ($35). In addition to early entry VIP ticket holders get 20 sample tickets, a commemorative t-shirt and glass. General Admission gets 15 sample tickets and commemorative glass. There will be live music, pub games and food trucks on hand to entertain and feed festival goers. The festival ends at 8 p.m.

To purchase tickets head to the Eventbrite link. Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson, Mesa 85210.

12 West Brewing to open taproom in downtown Mesa

Gilbert’s 12 West Brewing will ring in 2020 in style when it opens its new taproom on New Year’s Eve. Finding 12 West Main Street should be easy as it’s the name and address of the taproom in downtown Mesa. The former event venue is owned by 12 West founder and Mesa native Bryan McCormick.

“12 West Brewing Company is crafted for the community. We know the bond formed when sharing a pint or sipping a cocktail at the bar–people meet, converse and make memories surrounded by good friends, tasty food, and great beer. We want to be a community space, where our guests are on their own time,” says owner Bryan McCormick, who also owns 12 West Brewing at Barnone in Gilbert. “I always wanted to put a brewery in here,” he said. “I waited for the light rail to get built and for Mesa’s time to come.” That time is now, he said, with downtown Mesa ready for growth. The 19,000 sq ft building has undergone extensive renovations recently, and there are plans to develop the basement into a music venue in the near future.

Beer, cocktails & food at 12 West

12 West Brewing beers will be poured along with beers it collaborates on with other brewers. Classic cocktails will use spirits of local distillers Arizona Distilling Company and Grand Canyon Brewing & Distilling. Chef David Linville has created a menu with small plates, flatbreads and salads. Signature dishes include the Bretzel, a Bavarian pretzel made with beer cheese with 12 West’s Wheat Beer. The Katsu Chicken sandwich is a Japanese style of fried chicken topped with Asian slaw. Linville sources ingredients locally and every aspect of the menu is made in house from fresh, whole foods.

12 West Main Street will be open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sun- Thurs. and 11 a.m. – midnight on Fri. and Sat.

Downtown Mesa to host 2nd annual Southwest Cider Festival

Over 300 cider enthusiasts including myself made their way to downtown Mesa last year for the inaugural Southwest Cider Festival. I’m happy to announce that tickets are on sale for the 2nd Southwest Cider Festival on Saturday October 19th at Cider Corps. Refreshing samples of local and out of state ciders will be poured along with live music, food trucks and more. People are still discovering this new and unique beverage according to Cider Corps co-owner Josh Duren.

“Craft cider is so different from mass produced drinks and even from traditional European ciders,” Duren explained. “We’re experimenting with flavor profiles and techniques that make this a really unique beverage without artificial flavoring or added sugars. The festival is a chance to sample the variety out there and really support the craft cider community.”

The festival goes from 4-8 p.m. and General Admission tickets are $35. Tickets include 15 sample tickets and a commemorative glass. VIP tickets are $50 and get early entry at 3 p.m., a t-shirt, 20 sample tickets and commemorative glass. Tickets can be purchased online at Eventbrite.

The event will be outside at Cider Corps in downtown Mesa at 31 S. Robson St.  85210. For updates check out the Facebook page.

Myke’s Pizza finds a permanent home in an expanded Cider Corps

If you’ve been to downtown Mesa at night in the last few years you’ve smelt delicious pizza being made. The aromas come from Myke Olsen of Myke’s Pizza, the pop-up who will soon have a permanent home inside Cider Corps. It’s part of Cider Corps expansion to accommodate the growing demand for the its popular ciders.

Myke's Pizza
Photo courtesy of Myke’s Pizza

From pop-up to fast casual at Myke’s Pizza

Myke’s pop-up is outside of Cider Corps and before was around the corner on Main St. Myke’s Pizza has received many accolades since he started making pizzas in 2016 with fans making the trip to Mesa.

Making pizza one at a time on a table top oven the new home will allow Myke to make five pizzas at once in the Renato wood-fired oven. Myke has only made pizzas at the pop-up but once the build out is done he will offer side dishes and salads.

Cider Corps expansion

When Cider Corps opened in 2017 brothers Josh and Jason Duren knew they were onto something but didn’t expect they’d need to expand less than two years later. They’re using 2,000 square feet to add a new bottling line fermentation tanks. Until now they’ve only been able to keg ciders and the bottling line will let customers take the ciders home. Bottles will also allow for retail placement on store shelves.

“We’re excited to have the ability to provide our cider not just to craft beverage bars but also to more restaurants and package stores,” said Cider Corps co-owner Josh Duren.

Myke's Pizza
Mango cider Slushie. Photo courtesy of Cider Corps

The new  tanks allow four times more cider to be made and the opportunity to experiment with fermentation styles and techniques. The expansion also includes a new patio along Robson St. that will seat 40 people.

“When we started Cider Corps, we wanted the taproom to be a place where people could gather to honor great sacrifice and discover great cider,” he said. “What we also discovered was an amazing culinary community that’s committed to showing off what’s local to our state.“

The new partnership is what Duren hoped would happen when he opened Cider Corps.

During the build out of Myke’s Pizza will be there Wednesday – Saturday nights and will add Tuesday once completed. When Myke isn’t making pizza Cider Corps will still have food trucks available.

Cider Corps has extended their hours during spring training to stay open later.

The cidery is at 31 S. Robson St. Mesa 85210  and information about Myke’s Pzza can be found on his website.

Southwest Cider Festival offers sips of local & national ciders

With the popularity of ciders the last few years, local cideries decided to showcase this refreshing beverage. The inaugural Southwest Cider Festival takes place on Saturday Nov. 10th at Cider Corps in Mesa. At the 5-hour festival Cider Corps will pour Arizona’s Stoic Cider & Crush Craft Cider and ciders from Colorado, Texas, Washington, California and New York.Operation Homefront

Guests will also be able to sample bites from local food trucks and enjoy live music.

“People are so interested to learn about and experiment with cider and that’s what this event is all about – a chance for everyone to continue to learn, sample and collaborate,” said festival organizer Josh Duren.

Brothers Josh and Jason opened Cider Corps last year and have produced over 70 ciders and have a loyal legion of fans. They push the envelope when it comes to making cider and helped put Arizona on the cider map.Tickets for the festival are $50 per with a portion going to Operation Homefront. A non-profit Operation Homefront helps local veterans and their families. Tickets include up to 20 cider samples and $5 food truck credit. The festival goes from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

More details are at their Facebook page.

Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson #103 Mesa 85210

 

Volstead Public House continues vegan menu as it becomes Nile Cafe

Update: The February 28th groundbreaking has been postponed. Stay tuned for when It will be re-scheduled. The $5 Reggie special & Free coffee w/ purchase of t-shirt will still be honored on the 28th.

The downtown Mesa music scene wouldn’t be the same without the Nile Theater. To keep going strong they’re going to give their vegan restaurant Volstead Public House a new name, Nile Cafe. The new name will begin efforts to re-brand and market the theater in the 21st century.

All photos courtesy of Boyd Harrington

Starting on February 28th renovations will begin on the facade outside the theater with a groundbreaking ceremony with Mesa Mayor John Giles and others in attendance.

“The logo and joining of the café and theater are final seal on the work we have been doing since taking over the space 7 years ago,” said Michelle Donovan of the Mantooth Group. “The rebranded ties all our efforts together into one complete package and gives us room to grow into what The Nile really has always been – a focal point of entertainment and community for Downtown Mesa.”

The Nile Cafe food specials

After the 10:30 a.m. ceremony the new Nile Cafe will offer an all day food and drink special from their all plant-based menu. Guest can enjoy a FREE cup of coffee when you purchase a new Nile t-shirt and the popular Reggie vegan grilled cheese sandwich will be available for only $5.The menu created by Donovan offers vegan diners dishes like The Squawker Texas Ranger ($9.99) with vegan chicken drenched in buffalo sauce, My Boy Blue Sandwich ($9.99) with blueberry BBQ fried chicken, and The Philly ($8.50) with vegan steak sautéed in green and yellow peppers, onions and the café’s special marinade. The café also has daily scones and pastries, coffee, tea and beer.

The Nile music scene

The Nile dates back to 1924 as movie and music venue with multiple music genre’s playing there to fans. 4 bands will return on the 28th to help solidify The Nile Theater as a cornerstone of downtown Mesa. Senses Fail, Reggie , The Full Effect and Have Mercy have played The Nile in the last 20 years and return to the stage to celebrate the day.

“These groups bring back a lot of memories from coming to The Nile when I was in high school and college, and now as the owner,” Donovan said

The Nile is at 105 W. Main Street in Mesa 85210 TheNileTheater.com

Arizona’s first cidery, Cider Corps to host Veteran’s Day Open House

I love a good cider as nothing beats it on a hot summer day and with the autumns seasonal foods and holidays. Just in time for the holiday season Arizona’s first cidery,  Cider Corps will open its doors for its first public event on Saturday November 11th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for its Veteran’s Day Open House.

Cider Corps open house

The veteran owned cidery is just off Main St. in downtown Mesa and the open house is two blocks from the finish line of Mesa’s Veteran’s Day Parade. From 10-11 a.m. guests a can come by and get a mulled cider or coffee to go so they can watch the parade.

Brothers Josh and Jason Duren will be showing off their small batch hard ciders, non-alcoholic mulled ciders and cold brew coffee during the open house. A food truck will be on hand to serve food to guests and tours of the cidery will be given.

Small batch “Pie Ciders” will be available for purchase in Cider Corps limited edition 32 ounce “crowlers” or you can bring your own growler. Cost of the ciders to go will range from $12- $20.

“Pie Ciders” will remind guests of their favorite holiday pies like mixed berry and pumpkin. Cold Brew cider will also be available.

Cider Corps ciders are currently available at over 30 bars and restaurants around Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott.

Veterans community spot

Jason is a retired Sargent in the United States Marine Corps and will be speaking about his time in the service and how he and Josh plan to help veterans through Cider Corps. The cidery is dedicated to be used by veterans and veteran organizations as a community gathering place.

“To open the taproom this way is the embodiment of Cider Corps’ mission: Drink great ciders, honor great sacrifice,” said Josh. “We want it to be a place for veterans to be honored through times of awareness.”

The parade and Veteran’s Day Open House are important part of the brothers devotion to cider and veterans as they started making cider a s a hobby when Jason returned home from Afghanistan with 2 traumatic brain injuries from IED blasts.

Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson Dr. Mesa 85210.