Daniel Haykin finds apples captivating. Not only will he tell you that but it’s readily apparent in the sole ingredients of the cider he makes: apples and yeast. Haykin explains that this simplicity follows the more than 1000-year tradition of cider-making originating in western Europe and brought to America by the Founding Fathers. Daniel and his wife Talia opened Haykin Family Cider in February, taking their in-home hobby into a commercial setting in an industrial strip just east of Stapleton. Their goal, besides making a beverage they enjoy drinking, is to honor the history, the variety of flavors and terroir of apples, specifically those grown in Colorado.
Even before they opened the cidery, the Haykins were winning prestigious, international awards in blind competitions which give small cider-makers like Daniel and Talia an even playing field. “When your wife and mother say they like it (the cider), that’s great, but it’s completely different when it’s coming from the judges (at these competitions). We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the competitions because we wouldn’t have believed we were doing something world class. It helped convince us it was true.”
When people visit their tasting room, the comment the Haykins and their staff hear most is “I didn’t know cider could taste like this.” This allows them an opportunity to show people, especially wine and beer lovers, what an apple can become with some warm days, cool nights and time to rest after picking to allow the sugars to develop. It’s also a chance to clarify the differences between wine, cider and beer.
“Cider is wine made out of apples and the best cider comes from the best apples,” explains Daniel. People often mistakenly ask the couple if they “brew cider,” but cider is never cooked and is, therefore, “live.” “Beer is heated which is where ‘brewing’ comes from,” explains Daniel. “Beer is made out of grain, cider is made out of apples. Beer is best enjoyed fresh while wine benefits from aging.” All of Haykin’s equipment is made for white wine-making, from the press to the bottling machine.
The purity of the apple is critical to the Haykins’ product. While some ciders play off of the beer-inspired trend to add flavors like hops, jalapeños and chocolate, for example, Haykin Family Cider won’t do that. “Historically, there’s the contention that there’s so much biodiversity in the apple world, such a tremendous palette of flavors and aroma, you don’t need to hide the apple behind anything. Just like a grape can stand on its own, so too, can the apples.”
The couple finds that both beer and wine lovers enjoy discovering their ciders. It’s most popular with beer drinkers who, they find, are more likely to have experimented with fermentation through home-brewing. When presented with a flight of seven ciders in the tasting room, both wine and beer drinkers are surprised how different each one tastes and that each is from apples. They are also surprised by the cider containers, champagne bottles ordered from Quebec. They can withstand the high level of carbonation pressure,which at 60psi, is just under that of Champagne.
Located a few minutes away from Stapleton’s Eastbridge restaurant area, Stanley Marketplace and the Anschutz campus, visitors are welcome to bring food to the tasting room from home or area restaurants. Cheese boards will soon be available for purchase as will pints of ice cream based on their cider flavors from Sweet Action Ice Cream. The location has proven to be ideal. As Daniel has observed, “Once there’s a product and something really, really unique, turns out people will drive for it.”
Haykin Family Cider is located at 12001 E. 33rd Ave., Unit D in Aurora. For more information visit haykinfamilycider.com/ or call (720) 242-7292.