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A First Look at Bishop Cider Co., Oak Cliff's Long-Awaited Cider House

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Over a year ago, Joel Malone and his wife Laura celebrated the full funding of their Kickstarter campaign. After a year of planning, they'd decided to go live and managed to raise $20,000 to start Dallas' first cidery.

All good, right? Wrong. Thanks to loads of red tape, centering on the fact that cider is technically considered to be wine (because it's made from fruit, not grains), Joel and Laura weren't able to obtain the necessary permits to open until two weekends ago. Even then, due to delays in a shipping schedule, brewmaster Laura wasn't actually able to start their first three batches of Dallas-made hard cider until last week. She's been brewing cider for three years and decided to start with three original recipes -- Cideways (a hopped cider with lemongrass), Suicider (a spicy, autumnal cider) and Cat Scratch Fever (cider flavored with jalapeno and catnip). Catnip? Catnip.

But now everything seems to be moving along. It's safe to say that their own brews, gloriously displayed behind the bar in shining tanks, are going to be the most heavily featured. While we wait for yeast to do it's magical thing, the Malone's have put together a rotating menu of nearly 50 ciders from around the world to start Dallas' cider-ducation. For cider-novices who want to try a few different things but don't want to think very hard, Joel and Laura have put together four sets of pre-selected "flights" -- three or four ciders for one price. Beware though, that instead of a few ounce sample, you'll get a whole can/bottle of each. For less than $20, I had a cherry cider from Original Sin (12 oz bottle), a William's Sir Perry (16.9 oz can) and a surprisingly not-terrible mint-flavored Woodchuck (22 oz bottle).

Joel told me that they're working to expand their menu with harder-to-get cider releases, as well as consulting with a mixologist to come up with cider cocktails. They're already offering cider-mosas to the Bishop Arts brunch crowd, but are hoping to make a workable cider-ita and a cider-centric take on a Moscow Mule. The space itself is pretty tight; four or five tables line the wall opposite the bar, which spans the length of the room.

Bishop Cider Co.'s official grand opening party is scheduled for July 19, just after their original ciders will be ready to drink. Until then, they'll be open Wednesdays and Thursdays 5 p.m. - midnight, Fridays 4 p.m. - midnight, Saturdays from 10 a.m. - midnight, and Sundays noon - 6 p.m. You'll find them in a storefront just south of Lockhart Smokehouse on Bishop Ave.

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