If you’re in search of a cider house in our state, you’ll have to take a lengthy trip from SoCal. The nearest would be off the 101 just south of Thousand Oaks for 101 Cider or, along the same route, at Atascadero for Bristol Cider House—and even then, these establishments are cideries that only serve their own ciders*.
In fact, you’d have to to trek to San Francisco to Upcider to find a pub solely dedicated to serving the best cider around—and that is precisely why husband-and-wife team Otto and Brenda Radkte is working diligently on SoCal’s first cider-only pub right here in DTLB.
This is the Great Society Cider & Mead House, which has officially taken over the former Peppercorner restaurant at the northeast corner of Broadway and Atlantic. It will hosted its grand opening this past week with special releases including:
- Ace Premium Craft Cider Perry on Cask
- The Honest Abe Cidery Limoncello Cider
- Thistly Cross Cider Whiskey Cask Cider
- 101 Cider House Grand Opening Gose
Cider has, in many ways, grown up—at least for American audiences. An English staple, especially in the West Country, cider’s base is quite simple: take the juice of any apple—historically, it’s been the cider apple, hence its name—and add sugar or fruit before fermentation to give it alcohol. And while many think of cider as super sweet concoctions like Angry Bird or maybe the common Strongbow, the Radktes areintent on introducing the sophisticated, culinary side of cider to the SoCal masses.
“The great thing about the craft beer explosion is that it is really communally driven,” Otto said. “It’s experimental and dynamic—and cider is in the same place craft beer was a decade ago. I want to share that with people because, honestly, I think they’ll love it. Cider is this really fascinating alternative to beer.”
Ciders aren’t just sweet. No, no: they’re sour, they’re hoppy, they’re barrel-aged, they have ABVs that run from 2% to 12%. They’re just like beers and they’re just like wines, filled with complexity and varieties that are adjustable to different palates.
Despite cider’s ability to fit the mold of the booming craft cider renaissance, it would prove difficult to cider heads in finding spaces that are dedicated to one of apples’ greatest offerings.
“The flavor profiles of cider truly ran the gamut,” Otto said. “It was just pure happiness in my mouth when I started discovering craft cider… As I started discovering other people who loved it as much, Otto [Radtke, my business partner] and all of us struggled with one major issue: quality hard cider at beer bars were almost impossible to find.”
Come today, and following a soft opening earlier this month, Great Society is set to become SoCal’s first cider house while proving that Long Beach is (yet again) the place to experiment with culinary and drinking concepts.
“Stop in—I promise you that you won’t be disappointed, even if you haven’t had cider,” Otto said. “In fact, I’ll happily teach you about the wonderful world of cider.”
We’re game, Otto.
Great Society Cider & Mead is located at 601 E Broadway. For more information, visit: http://www.greatsocietycider.com/
*Note: Honest Abe Cider, a cider brewer out of Carson, has officially opened a tasting room that is opened to the public from 11AM to 2PM on Saturdays. For more information, click here.