IT ALL STARTED IN THE FOOTHILLS of Urnieta and Hernani in the Basque Country. Peter Yi, a wine buyer, took a break from tasting wines to visit a sagardotegi. It was a gastronomic experience like no other: simple, farm-fresh menus paired with natural cider caught straight from the barrel. It was a thunderbolt moment and not long after his trip, driving north on the FDR on an unusually clear spring night, he told his sister Susan, “We need to make a cider house in Brooklyn.” He was dead serious, and within weeks Peter walked away from a business he built for 25 years, and Susan quit teaching to study apples and hard cider.
That was the spring of 2014. They didn’t know a bushel from a bin of apples. What they did know was that they wanted to make a wildly natural cider.
In early 2015, the Yi siblings purchased a neglected 200-acre apple orchard in New Paltz, Twin Star Orchards. And with no time to waste, they pulled out 50 acres of trees to plant heirloom dessert and hard cider varieties. They made cider in the farm’s old warehouse with a rented glycol cooler and a DIY counter-pressure filler, built from parts purchased from a home brewing shop and the local hardware store. In the fall of 2015, they opened the farm to the public for cider tastings, apple-picking, and wood-fired pizzas and burgers.
In December 2017, the siblings realized their dream to open their flagship Brooklyn location, which housed a full-scale cidery, restaurant, bar, and tasting room after more than two years of arduous construction and DOB red tape. Though the cider house enjoyed a short, exhilarating stint in Bushwick, the Yi siblings woefully shut down the 12,000-square-foot cider destination during the 2020 pandemic.
Despite the setback, the siblings are grateful that their ciders are continuing to grow in popularity and the farm is proving to be a popular destination for those seeking outdoor entertainment and dining. Now, they are excited to reinvent the cider house experience at the orchard. The tasting room, farm store, and pavilion at Twin Star Orchards are open from April through the first weekend of November, serving wood-fired pizza, burgers and barbecue. They offer free cider tastings and live music. They also offer pick-your-own “ugly apples” in the fall.
At Brooklyn Cider House, one simple ingredient is used to make ciders – apples – so the structure, aromas, mouthfeel, and any residual sugar are definitively tied to the quality of their apples. All of their ciders are made from freshly harvested apples and are fermented in stainless steel tanks with wild or wine yeast. They make their ciders with minimal intervention and strive for balance, depth of structure, and drinkability, “We want to make ciders that we ourselves want to drink all the time.”
BROOKLYN CIDER HOUSE
Twin Star Orchards
155 N. Ohioville Rd.
New Paltz, NY 12561
Nov 7, 2022–Mar 30, 2023