New to Cider? Scion Cider Has Something For You

I won’t lie, I’ve never really enjoyed hard cider. I missed the first cider boom when it seemed to reach its peak in 2017 and my limited exposure since left me with a sour taste in my mouth (pun intended). But when a friend convinced me to give it another try at Utah’s only cider-focused bar, Scion Cider, I decided to look at the bright cider life (sorry, couldn’t resist). 

Stepping through the doors at the Central 9th location, the offerings at Scion can be overwhelming at first. The 20 ciders on tap had my brain in a frenzy before I even glanced at the other 200+ options available. Luckily, the friendly faces behind the bar were well acquainted with the telltale signs of disorientation and swooped in to offer their expertise. Instead of forcing a dry cider on me, they asked me what flavors and types of booze I typically enjoy. I ended up choosing one of their pre-built flights and thus my courtship with cider began. I was blown away by the range of nuanced flavors, colors and tannins. One sip I was registering notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, and the next my tastebuds were greeted by notes of funky earthiness and smoke. I was hooked, and I couldn’t fight this peeling anymore (seriously, there are like a thousand apple puns). 

Turns out, cider awakenings like mine happen all the time at Scion, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in November. “We knew coming into this business that most customers don’t know what they want to drink, what to be excited about, or what’s cool about all these ciders,” says General Manager and Head Cidermaker Rio Connelly.

Photo by Jon Barkiple

Connelly has an extensive brewing background. He helped open Epic Brewing, co-founded Avenues Proper and served as the president of the Utah Brewers Guild. Which made him the perfect mad scientist to start experimenting with cider in his own homebrewing and quickly fell in love. Steven Rosenburg, best known as the food lover behind Liberty Heights, Connelly’s friend and current owner and operator of Scion, introduced him to Elisabeth Osmeloski and Matthew Ostrander who all shared a passion for cider. Together with two more partners, the group decided to take part in Utah’s cider renaissance.

“It’s a really exciting time to be in cider right now,” exclaims Connelly. “Cider awareness is rising, people are curious.” Utah drinking inclinations often lag a few years behind national trends, both in production and consumption. Now, the Beehive State officially has four cider producers, including Scion’s recently released, small-batched pours. The sudden spike in interest can be attributed to several things. For drinkers, cider presents a lower-calorie alternative to beer with a range of flavor profiles suited to any taste. “We have such a massive selection, we can find a cider that will get you hooked and curious whether you’re a wine drinker, a whiskey drinker or an IPA fan.”

The terroir characteristics of cider and the ability to experiment are what’s caught the eye of craft brewers like Connelly. “Cider is taking a cue from the craft brewing industry and really going nuts with experimentation, for example, a category I’m really excited about is botanical ciders.” Now, every state in the U.S. has a cidery, and the crew at Scion Cider is determined to add one from each to their extensive lineup. 

In addition to beefing up its cider supply and releasing Scion’s own line, the group is excited to continue growing its community with weekly classes and neighborhood collaborations. Held every Thursday at 7 p.m., Matthew Ostrander (Utah’s first and only “Pommelier”) chooses a few products to showcase and offers a brief presentation. Scion will also offer more paired dinners with partners like Caputo’s and more future collaborations with distillers and craft breweries.  

When you’re ready to delve into the realm of cider, head to Scion located in the Central 9th neighborhood. Grab a sandwich at the nearby 9th and 9th market (A 2023 Dining Award Winner!) and try a few bites from Scion’s own Spanish-inspired menu with a pint of your new favorite drink.  

Find The Apple of Your Eye

For Ipa Drinkers

Highpoint Tram-Line 

For Whiskey Lovers: 

Oliver’s Dabinett

For Adventurous Sippers: 

Eve’s Darling Creek

916 S. Jefferson St., Salt Lake City @scionciderbar

See more stories like this and all of our food and drink coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah. 

Avrey Evans
Avrey Evans
Avrey Evans is the Digital and the Nightlife Editor of Salt Lake Magazine. She has been writing for city publications for six years and enjoys covering the faces and places of our salty city, especially when a boozy libation is concerned.

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