Sipping cider at EsoTerra Ciderworks, Dolores’ newest tasting room

by Nick Gonzales

When it comes to local libations, we’ll drink pretty much anything you throw at us. So when we found out that a second cidery had opened in Montezuma County, we knew we’d have to pay it a visit.

EsoTerra Ciderworks opened on Sept. 25 in Dolores in what used to be the old Mountain Sun Juice factory. We imagine that much of the property is used for the production of the ciders themselves, which are made from local apples and other fruit, but it still has a pretty large tasting room and patio.

The tasting room’s drink menu had 12 items on it, including wines and guest ciders, but we decided to try what appeared to be the four flagship ciders on tap.

The first one we sampled hit our palate like a ton of bricks. This is probably why they named this particular cider “Ton of Brix.” We detected notes of honeydew and a distant strawberry, but they didn’t prepare us for the flavor. We knew that the cidery was modeling is ciders after wines, so we were prepared for some dry drinks. Instead, this one was a little bit sweet, noticeably effervescent, and carried a bold apple flavor. Sommeliers we are not, but if we had to compare it to a wine we’d probably have to go with a Moscato. Come to think of it, the name of the cider may also refer to its noticeably high gravity – it comes in at a higher-than-average-for-a-cider 9% ABV.

Our next sample was of the Crimson Gold. This one didn’t surprise us as much. Its flavor was bright, crisp, and a little bit floral. But it was also significantly more tart than the Brix, with a citrusy flavor that lingered on the tongue. If there is a Platonic ideal form of what cider is, this was the one at EsoTerra that probably most closely approaches it.

Third, we went with the Apre All Day, a cider flavored with wild apricots found around the region. It was easily the driest cider we tried that day, but boy did it taste like apricots. Dried apricots in particular. The carbonation even brought across a bit of fuzziness that reminded us of the fruit. We feel like if you love apricots, you’ll love this cider. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more apple-y, on the other hand, stick with one of the other ones.

Finally, we concluded with EsoTerra’s Chokecherry cider. If you’re looking for something tart, choose this. Whoa, Nelly, it was easily the most astringent cider we drank. Like with the apricot cider, the brewers very much captured the flavor of the fruit. We liked this one a bit more than the Apre All Day, but only for very subjective flavor-preference reasons. It may even last you longer than the other ciders, as sipping it makes you want to pucker up a bit.

We have a bit of a sweet tooth, so Ton of Brix ended up being our favorite. We’re looking forward to the next chance we have to visit EsoTerra, and next time we’ll have to try Zoe the Tail, the food truck stationed at the cidery which is apparently named after the cook’s short-tailed poodle.

Nick Gonzales


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