Tap That AZ Podcast

Ep. 39 Cider Corps.


For most of my beer drinkers out there when we hear “cider” we respond with “Oh yeah, my wife loves those”. For many of us, cider is just too sweet or tart and usually just too weak. We want a little kick with our drinks especially for us hop heads whose smiles get bigger as the ABV’s go up. So when my buddy Stefan, aka AZ Beer Jedi, said “hey, there is a cider house opening in Mesa soon” I was like “cool” but also secretly thinking “ok, I’ll probably never go there”. But also in the back of my mind I know that Stefan is a man of good taste so I hadn’t TOTALLY eliminated all chances of ever going. There was still a small thread of interest. Then I read the story behind Cider Corps. Jason Duren had been stationed in Afghanistan and suffered 2 traumatic brain injuries caused by 2 separate IED explosions in late 2012. When he returned home the adjustment was very difficult and a doctor recommended that he take up a hobby to help in the rehabilitation process. His brother John also wanted to do what he could to help his brother. The two decided to make cider. At first it didn’t go well. At all. The first batch went right down the drain. But over time they dug so deep into this that they started to understand just more than adding ingredients together. They understood the science behind what was happening. This in-depth understanding helped to catapult them to a level where now there is a waiting list for restaurants around the state to have their cider on tap. Ok Stefan, I GUESS I’ll check it out. I was super stoked to meet these guys and try this cider. And it did not disappointment. They had 6 different kinds including a pumpkin pie cider, a cold brew coffee cider and my favorite, Dead End Kettle Sour IPA. Yeah, you heard that all right. And all of them were amazing. And to hear the story straight from them? Even better. Just a couple of awesome guys doing great things. Their slogan is “Enjoy Great Cider, Honor Great Sacrifice” and they live by that. The taproom is full of military-related items including a HUGE flag that hangs and hand grenade tap handles. Even the bar top that are putting in will be made out of purple heart wood as a homage to Jason’s Purple Heart which they plan to embed into the bar top as well. Overall, one of my favorite interviews so far. Looking forward to seeing what these guys do. In this episode I sit down with Jason and Josh Duren from Cider Corps along with co-host AZ Beer Jedi. We talk about the challenges of making cider in a craft beer centric region as well as how cider making helped Jason deal with 2 traumatic brain injuries suffered while stationed in Afghanistan. One of my favorite interviews so far. Enjoy the show! Stay awesome, Eric Walters

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