Squamish’s craft cider goes far beyond the traditional apple.
While Cliffside Cider’s house cider is made exclusively from apples, and is their most popular, they also serve a pineapple cider with spices called Chicha de Piña and a ginger-apple cider called Tina Louise after the famous red-head on Gilligan’s Island.
Just in time for the colder months, there is the “Dark & Story” – a ginger-apple cider with dark rum and cinnamon sugar, served with cinnamon sticks and an apple slice.
“There are a lot of craft breweries, and our cidery fits right into that market,” says co-owner Rob Weys inside the small cidery on the south end of Second Avenue and Vancouver Street in downtown.
The cidery could be easy to miss – the front door is down a path along the side of a building. Inside, the small area is laid out as a lounge. No food is served, but bringing in take-out is encouraged and there is plenty on tap including seasonal ciders like cranberry. There is also talk about making a pear cider.
“We wanted to be close to the waterfront. There’s a lot of development going on around here so soon more people will be able to walk and bike here soon,” says Weys from behind the bar. “We really want to welcome the community.”
Children and, in true Squamish style, dogs are allowed.
His business partner, Boyd Folkard, works in the back, creating the latest batch of cider.
The fruit comes from farms in B.C., except for, of course, the pineapple, which can’t be grown in our climate, says Weys.
This past summer, Cliffside Cider joined Squamish’s Northyard Cider Co., as well as Backcountry Brewing, A-Frame Brewing Co. – all of which have opened within the last few years – and Howe Sound Brewing, which has been in Squamish since 1996.
The cidery was once going to be called Britannia Beach Cidery but the name was changed after Squamish was decided as the location. It’s named after Cliffside Neighbourhood Pub, which closed down a couple years ago.
“It’s a legacy name, and we overlook the cliff of the Chief. We’re also close to world-renowned rock climbing. The name fits,” says Weys, taking a mason jar off the shelf. The one-litre mason jars come free with the purchase of a take-home cider and can be refilled, in an effort to improve sustainability.
A-Frame beer is on-tap, and local Gillespie’s Fine Spirits are used for cocktails. Speaking of hard alcohol, “jager pommes” – a jager shot dropped in a glass of dry apple cider – is on the menu.
Right now, Weys, Folkard and their business partners are focusing on producing kegs of cider that they plan to have on-tap at restaurants, pubs and other establishments. A-Frame Brewing, located a 10-minute walk away, is the first to bring in their cider.
After that, they plan to eventually start producing bottles and cans to sell at liquor stores.
Cliffside Cider is open to the public on Wednesday to Sunday, and can be used by local groups on Mondays and Tuesdays. Search “Cliffside Cider” on Facebook for open times.