Take a few windy roads through the neighborhoods of Bellingham toward the freeway, duck under I-5 and into a business park that seems to be only office buildings. To the surprise of many Bellingham beverage connoisseurs, there’s a new hidden gem at 1200 Meador Ave.
In what looks like a typical brick warehouse on the east side of town, now lies what will be a brand new local cider hub, Lost Giants Cider Company.
Lost Giants, made up of three previous members of the team at Kulshan Brewing Co., Abraham Ebert, Brad Wilske, and Chris Noskoff, has been making strides towards a strong opening in late spring. This could mean early May, give or take a month, but for now, they are focusing on making a quality product and integrating into the growing local cider industry.
You may be thinking, ‘what local cider industry???’ For years, the only cider available in Bellingham was Ciderhead cans, from our dear friends at Honey Moon. Now, you can find local cider at Bellingham Cider Company, which opened in February and has been making small-batch ciders and serving delicious local food for the last two months.
Now, a new kind of cidery is opening in town. Lost Giants Cider Company is planning on primarily being a production cider maker eventually, starting with their tasting room opening this spring.
Head Cidermaker, Abe Ebert, was the head brewer at Kulshan Brewing Co., and has dabbled in the world of cider for years. About a year ago, Ebert, Wilske and Noskoff decided that in the booming industry of craft brewing, Bellingham could use a quality cider maker. Thus was born, Lost Giants Cider Company, named after majestic Washington old-growth forests appreciated by all three owners, each of which are avid bikers and hikers.
“The sky is the limit with cider”
“We all left Kulshan at different times and each played a different role there. We worked really well together and decided to partner up and do our own thing, the way we wanna do it,” Wilske said.
Cider wasn’t familiar territory for the Lost Giants trio. Ebert had made small batches of cider at home over the years, and dove deeper into cider making last summer. With breweries opening seemingly every 6 months in Bellingham, Ebert, Wilske and Noskoff decided to use their combined industry skill sets to see how they could impact the local cider scene.
“[We want] To bring some of the beer mentality to cider in a way,” Wilske said of their business model and wanting to mirror the supportive nature of competition between breweries, but instead within the growing cider industry.
With two cider companies opening within six months, the opportunity for healthy competition is abundant.
“We saw what happened in the beer scene. As more breweries opened, the scene grew and only supported each other, so we knew if they came in and had a strong product, that would only help us,” Ebert said of Bellingham Cider Company. “We’re gonna work together to grow the general education about cider in this community.”
While there will be a bit of overlap between the two cider companies, in the sense that most cider makers produce a dry and semi-sweet as their flagship ciders, the biggest separation between the two is the difference in business model.
Lost Giants will open their tasting room up late spring, where they will have their flagship ciders among specialty small batches and a variety of other tricks up their sleeves, and eventually will begin to focus on canning and distribution around summer time.
For now, their focus lies on their tasting room, with a bar made of locally harvested maple and a concrete slab top. On the other side of the bar is 10 taps, all of which will be occupied by their own cider.
While that’s a lot of taps to fill with anyone’s own product, Ebert is already thinking of exciting ways to keep things interesting. Dry and semi-sweet cider, categorized as “modern” will be their flagship ciders. Eventually Ebert will be implementing a barrel program, as well as exploring old school varieties of cider apples, like Heirloom and Heritage.
What the Lost Giants guys seem to be the most excited about is likely unfamiliar to many of us on the Tap Trail, the Randall.
A Randall is an attachment for a tap system, filled with the ingredients of the brewer or cider maker’s choice. When the tap is opened to pour a glass of cider, it flows through the Randall and adopts flavors and aromas of the ingredient it’s flowing through. For example, putting hibiscus in a Randall would make a semi-sweet cider have hibiscus tasting notes or aroma. This provides a lot of opportunity for playing with flavors.
“The sky is the limit with cider. There is tradition, but it’s also kind of modern now so we can do almost anything we want and it’s okay,” Wilske said of their approach to using different cider varieties to educate Bellingham on their product.
For the beer drinkers who haven’t converted to trying cider yet, there will be beer in the Lost Giants tasting room. The catch, is that in order to make it all-ages, Lost Giants can’t feature other people’s beer, wine or cider on tap. The plan is to have mostly local bottled and canned beer to satisfy those who want to take the beer route.
Before they even open, Lost Giants will have a collaboration released with Boundary Bay. To further your cider education, a blend of beer and cider, or hops and fruit that fermented together, is called a graff. Ebert teamed up with Boundary to make a collaboration graff, to be released during Bellingham Beer Week. Lost Giants has a scheduled brewer’s night at Elizabeth Station on April 23 to show off the collaboration. In fact, you’ll be able to find Lost Giants at April Brews Day on Saturday, April 28.
While you have some waiting to do, Lost Giants is producing and opening quicker than you think. Renovation of their Meador Avenue space is cruising along, cider making begins in a matter of weeks, and now you have some answers to what that clever red logo is you’ve been seeing around town– an apple head with a beard and white glasses, which will change styles to represent each cider Lost Giants produces.
The logo ties in the trio’s love for outdoors, sense of humor and passion for their newest cider project and was designed by Greg DeVeer, a friend of Wilske’s who he had wanted to work with for a long time.
Whether you’re a beer drinker waiting to try your hand at drinking cider, or a cider-lover who has been waiting years to take your pick of places to go when it comes to going out for a drink, your list of options is growing, and while the anticipation is growing just as quickly Lost Giants Cider Company has thus far received a warm welcome.