Bristols Cider, part of the Lone Madrone wine family, has just opened a super-cool pub and tasting room in Atascadero which features their line of hard apple ciders.
When Neil Collins – winemaker at Tablas Creek, and proprietor, with sister Jackie Meisinger and his wife Marci, of Lone Madrone – first moved to California in the early 80s, he was disappointed to find none of the most beloved traditional beverage of his home, of which he had been known to partake on occasion.
Jackie and Neil grew up in the city of Bristol, in the cider-loving West Country of England. To stave off homesickness, Neil began making small batches of cider from local apples under the name Bristols back in 1994. (Take note: this is by no means murky apple juice, but rather the exciting, fermented version.) Since that time, Bristols’ offerings have evolved into an eclectic and tasty lineup of different ciders.
The ciders are all made from select varieties of local apples, primarily from See Canyon and Paso Robles, although the group has played with fruit from Oregon. All ciders are 100 percent apple juice and fermented on the native yeasts of the fruit. Different ciders are fermented in different kinds of casks; some in retired bourbon casks, some in retired white wine barrels, but most in stainless steel.
Bristols may be found on draft at a number of the Central Coast’s finest watering holes and select restaurants. The more obscure and quirky bottlings may be discovered – when available – at the Bristols Cider House only. If you have the passion, it will be worth the trip.
The Bristols Cider House and Tasting room is located at 3220 El Camino Real in Atascadero. They are open Thursday through Saturday, 1-8 p.m. and Sunday 11-6 p.m. For more information call (805) 400-5293 or visit their website at www.lonemadrone.com/bristols-cider/