Apples: They’re not just for autumn anymore.
As the summer heats up, Alexandria’s first and only cidery prepares to open its doors with a two-day grand opening party this weekend. Lost Boy Cider, the brainchild of co-owners Tristan and Katie Wright, has been a long time in the making, but all the hard work is poised to pay off.
The idea for Lost Boy came into being in stages.
“Tristan has some allergies, one being gluten and another being soy. He realized that he couldn’t really drink beer anymore,” Katie Wright said. They thought back to their honeymoon in Ireland, where pubgoers drank cider instead of beer from taps, and considered the opportunities back home.
“It seemed like a hole in the market, something we didn’t really have here,” she said.
With that, Tristan Wright quit his commercial banking job and devoted himself full-time to the new cider venture. A 6,000-square-foot warehouse space in Carlyle was procured; farms were sourced. Piece by piece, over several years the cidery took shape into a reality.
And it’s coming out of the gate strong. Visitors to the cidery and tasting room during grand-opening weekend will be greeted by a half-dozen varieties of cider just waiting to be tasted.
“Our flagship cider will be called Comeback Kid,” Wright said. “It is apples only; it’s not flavored.”
Other featured ciders include Lemonade Stand, brewed with lemons and mint; Thai Rope Walker with strawberries and Thai basil; the Slasher, brewed with raspberries; and more. But perhaps the most impressive sight is the Pixie Dust – brewed with passionfruit and butterfly pea flower, the flower “turns the cider purple. If you add citric acid “ – say, squeezing a lemon into the glass – “it turns it magenta,” Wright said.
One thing visitors will notice about Lost Boy’s ciders is how dry they are, Wright said. A far cry from so many sugary-sweet commercial ciders found at the local grocery store, these ciders are apple-forward, without the copious amounts of sugar added to the more commercial versions.
And about those apples: They’re all sourced from Virginia. Winchester’s Glaize Orchard does the growing and pressing of the apples and then the juice arrives to the cidery in a tanker truck. Then Lost Boy’s on-site fermentation tanks do their job of turning the juice into something a little stronger.
“The arrival of Lost Boy Cider in the City of Alexandria will help strengthen Virginia’s reputation as a top destination for artisanal cider and build on the tremendous growth and momentum of our craft beverage industry,” said Gov. Ralph Northam in a written statement. “This investment from Lost Boy Cider, and their commitment to sourcing the Virginia’s apples that make ciders so distinctive, is a reflection of the economic impact that our agricultural and tourism sectors can have in cities as well as rural parts of the Commonwealth.”
Lost Boy’s grand opening event is from noon to 9 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Food trucks – Rocklands, Meggrolls and Basic Burger – will split time outside throughout the weekend from noon to 7.
If You Go
LOST BOY CIDER, 317 Hooffs Run Drive
Grand opening hours: Noon-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Regular hours: Monday, Wednesday-Friday 4-9 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday noon-9 p.m.; closed Tuesday.
Try this: The Slasher cider. “It’s kind of like a sour in beers,” says co-owner Katie Wright.
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.