We drove to the middle of Long Island on T-Day morning at 7am. Not a car on the Taconic or LIE. We had a nice T-Day where we saw Anita and my family. Friday we had a small delivery to make at the New Rochelle store. On the way we visited Chris Seldon at his Mount Vernon Cidery, Diner Brew Co. It’s the first cidery there.
We followed directions through some shady areas. Finally we ended at a corner overlooking a set of train tracks. We weren’t quite sure we were there until we turned the corner. There it was in a renovated industrial brick building.
Chris welcomed us into his facility. Stainless and plastic fermenters were strategically placed throughout the room. There were lots of small test batches. Big test batches. Barrel aged batches. Carboys full of ciders in various stages of conditioning.
Despite the name, Diner Brew Co., it’s a cidery. Chris grew up in the area. Diner Brew is a nod to the area’s tie to diners, which were manufactured in Westchester. Chris spent lots of time in local diners, he says. Chris is applying to also make mead.
Chris gets his juice from an Orchard in the Bear Mountain area. He can specify various blends to make special ciders. One that he was particularly intrigued with was a rosé cider. It was made soley with Idared, which has a white flesh with a firm body, and generally considered to be tart and juicy and one of the top 15 selling apples.. What Chris likes about it is its rosé color. Another blended distinctive wine sap, tart granny smith, red delicious, and honey crisp for sugar. It comes in at 7% abv. He also had a test batch that he made from wild apples he picked at 1,000 Island Park in the St. Lawrence River.
Chris’ father is from the Sarcé, France region, near Le Mans. That’s in Normandy region. Cider-making in Normandy goes a long way back. The Greek geographer and traveler Strabo (64/63 BC-24 AD) mentioned “zythos,” a precursor of cider and the profusion of apple trees in the region. Later Emperor Charlemagne had standing orders for brewers to continuously provide him with cider, which involved expanding the planting of apple trees in the 9th century. Chris visited the family this past year. While there he spent a lot of time learning cider making French style. Now he’s putting what he learned into practice. Chris is an adventurous cider maker. Diner Brewing has its regular Farmhouse dry cider, but also offers a coffee cider. There’s also a lavendar coriander cider, still and carbonated. Most interesting though is the miso cider, which I haven’t tried yet. There’s a story there, but you have to ask Chris about it.
Chris is self distributing now and is available at about a dozen area locations. You’ll need to contact Chris to find out which establishments serve his ciders. Don’t just show up at the cidery though. You’ll need an appointment to get a tour. Check the following links for more info.