On the centennial anniversary of the start of Prohibition in the U.S., the Heurich House Museum and ANXO Cidery released a collaborative cider celebrating Christian Heurich’s accidental creation of the Liberty Apple Champagne. Heurich House, also called the Brewmaster’s Castle, is known for its lagers and beer garden. Their history with cider is not well-known, making this release a surprise to many Heurich House fans.
“It’s something that people from our community weren’t expecting because they’re used to seeing beer here,” says Kimberly Bender, executive director of the Heurich House Museum. “I think it expands the story of Heurich House.”
In 1920, Christian Heurich had intended to make a simple apple juice, even taking the care to scrub his fermentation tanks to ensure that no yeast could possibly ferment the apples. But, after leaving the apples in the tank for 18 months, Heurich found the apples had fermented themselves. Despite Prohibition, Heurich was able to sell the Liberty Apple Champagne for two weeks.
The people of D.C. flocked to his mansion to buy gallons of the drink, but in the end, he was still left with 60,000 barrels that he was forced to dump. Now, a century later, Heurich’s accidental cider is getting revamped with the help of the cider makers at ANXO.
“The idea was just to explore what cider can be, and so this was a really fun opportunity to do something that we’re qualified to do, but is also something new with Heurich House,” ANXO co-owner Sam Fitz says of the collaboration.
Bender and Fitz dove into their research to make the perfect homage to Heurich’s cider, and Bender was even able to find the exact apple that was originally used: Stayman Winesap apples. Fitz was pleasantly surprised by this, as his favorite apple as a child was the Stayman Winesap. In another twist of fate, the farmer Fitz found to purchase the apples from had a connection to Heurich himself.
“When I was tasked to buy the Stayman Winesap, I met a farmer at the Monroe Street Farmers Market who owns 78 Acres Farm in Maryland, and it turns out that his neighbors are Heurich’s descendants.”
D.C.’s response to the release of this cider now is similar to that of when it was first released 100 years ago; everyone loves it. The cider was released on July 21, and within days, Heurich House’s stash was almost empty. This time, however, consumers don’t have to buy it by the gallon and can enjoy it for much longer than two weeks. ANXO offers delivery and pickup options, because neither Prohibition nor pandemic can stop Washingtonians from enjoying a cool, crisp cider.
“I think Covid has shown that people are committed to drinking no matter what is going on in the world,” Fitz concludes.
ANXO Cidery is open for outdoor dining and contactless pickup at their Truxton Circle and Brightwood Park locations (300 Florida Ave. and 711 Kennedy St. in NW, DC respectively), and they are also offering delivery in the DMV area. Learn more at www.anxocider.com and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @anxocider.
The Heurich House Beer Garden (1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC) is now open on Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for socially distanced drinking. Reservations preferred. Learn more about Heurich House at www.heurichhouse.org and follow them on Instagram @heurichhouse.
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