Photo by Jodi Miller

Mad Moon Rising

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

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Photo by Jodi Miller

According to the men behind Mad Moon Cider, that phrase, a Benjamin Franklin adapation of an old proverb, refers to drinking, not eating apples—and fermented ones at that.

“When [early Americans] got up first thing in the morning, they drank a glass of hard apple cider. Got their day going, settled their stomach,” said Peter Moon, co-founder (and namesake) of Mad Moon Cider.

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Photo by Jodi Miller

I think a glass of fermented fruit first thing daily is a tradition we should resurrect, and the new Columbus cidery certainly wouldn’t mind the business. Mad Moon debuted this fall with Unglued Caramel Apple Cider, and has plans for other varieties in the works.

“The caramel apple is all-natural caramel flavor without any fake flavoring,” said Joshua Dewez, the cidery’s other co-founder. “It’s got a semisweet feel to it and a hint of Mexican vanilla with a wash of caramel on the way out. It’s a thick mouthfeel.”

Dewez and Moon teamed up to start making cider as a business after discovering both were already home-brewing cider as a hobby.

It took them about six months to find a warehouse, get all the proper permits in place, and hire consultants to learn the ins and outs of crafting cider on a large scale. From there it’s a four- to six-week fermentation process to make hard cider.

“It’s a completely different [process] from [making] beer, to cider, to mead, to wine. There’s some crossover steps like sanitization, but cider’s its own unique process,” said Dewez. “Is it too tart, is it too sweet, is there too much sugar, does it make too much alcohol? You have to get the right apple blend so your specific gravity is within a region so you don’t have a 9 percent alcohol cider—the state of Ohio says 7 percent or below.”

Any cider above 7 percent ABV is taxed as a wine—at a much higher rate. An overcarbonated cider, even under 7 percent ABV, can also be taxed as a champagne. The two men hope to see more cider houses—bars that only serve ciders—as well as other cideries emerge in Central Ohio, as they have already on the West Coast.

“We’re trying to bring a little bit of Portland and Seattle to Columbus. A little bit of a different flare than another beer. But we welcome and love all the craft breweries around here. Columbus is a top 10 beer town,” Dewez said.

“Hopefully it can become a top 10 cider town,” Moon added.

Mad Moon Ciders are available in bottles at Crafted Drafts, grain + grape, and Savor Pint, as well as on draught at Bob’s Bar, The Pint Room, World of Beer (Easton), Yellow Brick Pizza, and Pies and Pints.

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Cheryl is way too into craft beer, sci-fi and board games. In addition to writing for (614), she is the editor of Columbus’ online source for booze news, DrinkUpColumbus.com. Cheryl has been voted one of the top three bloggers in Columbus by the readers of (614) Magazine for the past four years. (Despite writing for the magazine, she swears she did not rig the vote.)

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