When Bryan Meyer started brewing cider with a friend, he heard a lot of opinions about the fermented fruit beverage. Mainly, “We don’t like cider.”
But Meyer’s cider was different, and the dryness and drinkability were quickly evident to anyone who took a sip. This summer, his team will start pouring that cider in Deep Ellum. Meyer is the business brain behind Trinity Cider, which is slated to open at 2656 Main St., across the street from Pecan Lodge. Meyer is confident his cider will stick out in the booze-heavy food and drink district.
“All of a sudden, everyone drank it and said, ‘This is amazing; why does it taste this this?’” Meyer says. “If you look at what’s out there, it’s so sugary. Even the dry ciders here are very sugary. They’re dryer than Angry Orchard, but they’re still sugary and considered dry.”
Trinity Cider’s product is more like a sparkling wine. Instead of sugar, you experience a pleasant carbonation and a simple, refreshing taste: apple.
“I’ve been to Seattle, Minnesota, I’ve been to the Northeast this year. And everywhere I go, I go to cideries, and they have unbelievable dry ciders because of the culture up there, and the apples are so much more accessible," Meyer says. "We were literally making our ciders because it was enjoyable, but we also couldn’t just go buy it, either. … Whenever we started putting the business plan together and the culture we wanted for the company, we were like, ‘It has to be Deep Ellum.’”
While Meyer has the brain and heart for this place, the person behind the cider's production is Jeremy Bridge, who has nearly two decades of experience making wine and cider.
“I remember, I think as soon as we were off the plane, both of us were pretty sure this is where we wanted to be,” Bridge says of himself and his wife, Nicole, who also works in Deep Ellum at Glazed Donut Works.
An endearing, humble cider-maker, Bridge, 35, started producing wine and cider as a nursing student in college.
“I was volunteering at a winery, [and there was] just sort of a moment where I realized, I hate medicine, I love being in the winery. So right when I was just about to finish my nursing degree, I switched majors and started college all over again,” he says.
“After I graduated," Meyer says, "I wanted to do production. I did have a harvest in [California's] Santa Rita Hills, where Sideways takes place. I really wanted to make pinot noir from that region.”
But life got in the way, and Bridge became a Level 1 sommelier working in wine regions from Napa Valley to South Africa. His title of head ciderist is new, but he’s been working with apples since he was in school.
“One of the nice things about being in [California Polytechnic State University] was right next to the campus was an experimental apple orchard — where I think [the operator] grew a hundred different varieties,” Bridge says. “I would get fresh juice, and I would take it home and ferment it for a few days and then stop it, let it carbonate by itself and put it in the fridge. And if it ever went flat, I would just leave it out and let it start up again, and that was like my go-to drink through all of college.
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“I was really into wine-making, but I didn’t want to make anything normal," Bridge says. "I was fermenting prickly pears, cherries, and then as I started to gravitate toward more normal things, I felt like cider was kind of the compromise. It was normal, but not too normal.”
That not-too-normal aspect of cider is what’s going to work for the spot in Deep Ellum, Meyer says, despite the many places nearby, such as Deep Ellum Brewing Co., where drinkers can get a decent carbonated alcoholic beverage.
“We’re so unique. We’ll be the second cidery in Dallas, and we’re in Deep Ellum. ... I think the craft push we’re going to be doing will hopefully draw people in," Meyer says. "Hopefully if we do it right, [Bridge] executes on his 20 years of experience, I think [we] will actually help expand that cider market to make it a bigger overall pull for everyone.”
Trinity Cider, 2656 Main St. (Deep Ellum) is slated to open this summer.