01 of 07
Atlanta's First Cidery Opened This Year
Metro Atlanta is home to over a dozen breweries and brewpubs. But, it’s time to make room in our hearts for the latest trend: craft cider. This past March, Urban Tree Cidery opened its doors and became Atlanta’s first cidery, complete with a tasting room.
Urban Tree is the seedling of co-founder Tim Resuta, who made hard apple cider as a hobby in his basement. When Resuta and his wife, Maria, decided they needed a midlife project (and a distraction from his day job as a dentist), they decided to take his hobby to the next level. They retrofitted a former antique store into what is now Urban Tree Cidery, establishing an industrial farmhouse vibe with large, communal tables and a patio for outdoor chilling and games.
Urban Tree Cidery can be found at 1465 Howell Mill Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30318. They’re open Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.; Saturdays, noon to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. They offer complimentary valet parking.Continue to 2 of 7 below.
02 of 07
What Is Hard Apple Cider?
For those who think that cider is just apple flavored beer (or worse, sparkling apple juice!), let us set the record straight—unlike beer, cider is fermented (rather than brewed). The process is fairly simple.
Urban Tree starts with dessert apples. Cideries will typically use a cider apple, like the crabapple, but Resuta says that dessert apples are naturally sweeter, and more widely available in Georgia. The apples are pressed for their juice, which is then placed in a tank where it ferments with yeast (wine and champagne yeasts are popular for ciders).
As it ferments, the juice’s sugars get eaten up by the yeast, leaving behind alcohol. The yeast eventually dies (usually within seven to 10 days), and then it’s moved to a bigger tank where it gets flavored by the master ciderists. Resuta says, “making cider is a lot of science, but also a lot of art and creativity.”
Thanks to bigger brands that over-sweeten their ciders and target women, hard apple cider gets a bad rap as a “chick drink”, says Resuta. Many guys, though, are pleasantly surprised when they sip his craft cider, as each refreshing variety has its own nuances, just like beer or wine. So craft cider rarely tastes like sparkling apple juice.
Since each cider has different flavor notes, they pair up with different foods. In fact, according to Resuta, ciders were paired with foods long before beer and wine were. Urban Tree’s classic cider pairs great with soft cheeses and fish, whereas the “sweet heat” would wash down Thai food or barbecue nicely.
Also, did you know? If you have a gluten-free diet, then hard apple cider has your name on it! It’s naturally gluten-free.Continue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
Urban Tree Doesn't Operate Like a Brewery
Thanks to the Resuta’s family-owned orchard in Mountain City, GA, Urban Tree is able to operate under a “Georgia Farm Winery” license. Unlike a brewery, you don’t have to buy a souvenir glass and limit yourself to a few samples. Instead, you can purchase cider by the glass. They usually have five flavors on tap, including the classic, original, rum-barreled, and seasonal options. Each one has its own unique taste. The “classic” is similar to what you would buy from a bigger brand of cider – only less cloyingly sweet because there are no added sweeteners—while the “rum-barreled” cider is great for fans of Chardonnay with its strong, oaky flavor, which makes it more of a sipper. One of the most popular flavors is the “sweet heat,” a dry cider that’s been infused with ginger and habanero. It shocks you with a bite of spice from the ginger and habanero, but it mellows out with the sweetness from the apples. This one keeps the taste buds guessing.
A glass runs anywhere from $5 to $7. If you’re indecisive, you can grab a flight of their traditional ciders for $10 or a flight of the seasonal ciders for $14.Continue to 4 of 7 below.
04 of 07
You Can Purchase Booze and Beer
Don’t let that one difficult friend prevent a group outing to Urban Tree – they also have a liquor license! If anyone in the group doesn’t like hard apple cider (which you’d be hard-pressed after trying Urban Tree’s), they can grab a cocktail from the full bar – there’s gin, vodka, and whiskey behind there, too. For those who like liquor and hard apple cider, they can choose among the signature cocktails, each named after a neighborhood in Atlanta. Popular drinks include the “Sweet Auburn” with classic cider, vodka, and lemon basil bitters or the “Beverly Park” made with original cider, whiskey, lemon basil bitters and apple cardamom ($11 each). And for everyone else, there’s beer.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Urban Tree Practices Sustainability
Maria Resuta says that Urban Tree cider is “orchard to glass.” They grow 12 different varieties of dessert apples (Pink Lady, Gala, Red Delicious, etc.) all on their own orchard in Mountain City. They press the apples themselves, and after pressing, the apples’ remnants go back to the earth. Hogs love munching on them, and they also make great fertilizer. As Urban Tree gets more established, the Resuta’s are hoping to plant urban orchards to get apples even closer to the cidery.
Another factor in Urban Tree’s sustainability? Cider uses little to no water and relies on the juice from apples instead.Continue to 6 of 7 below.
06 of 07
They Support Local
Not only are the apples in the cider local, but so are many of the other products available for purchase at the cidery. The cocktails are all made with locally distilled liquors, like American Spirit Whiskey and Old 4th Distillery, and local bitters from 18.21 (based out of Ponce City Market). If you order a Bloody Mary on Sunday’s, you’ll find a piece of beef jerky from Biltong Bar as a drink garnish. They even worked with Lane Orchards when they created a peach-flavored cider.
The local support extends to the food they sell, too. Each Saturday you’ll find a different local food truck, like Buena Gente, slinging delicious Cuban food, or Atlanta Seafood Company serving up a Low Country Boil.Continue to 7 of 7 below.
07 of 07
Urban Tree's Cider Is "Pure"
When cider is produced on a massive scale by larger manufacturers, it loses a lot of its purity. Big hard apple cider brands like Crispin often times make their cider from apple juice concentrate. This means they need to add water into the mix, taking away the fresh flavor that craft hard apple ciders have. Most of the big brands also add sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup – no thanks! Urban Tree, on the other hand, rarely adds sweeteners. When they do, it’s in the form of locally sourced honey.
The cider from Urban Tree is also naturally fresher since it’s made on site and in small batches. It doesn’t wile away in storage tanks or on a truck that has to make a cross-country trip.
You can also expect Urban Tree Cidery to keep you entertained in other ways. The cidery hosts yoga classes one Tuesday a month and serves as a venue for the new Atlanta Cornhole League. With the Olympics and various other sporting events coming up, you can plan on catching the games there on one of their two TV’s or projector.