Bites: Mt. Defiance opens its Cider Barn on Saturday

In addition to its rotating selection of ciders, the Cider Barn will also sell vermouth and pommeau.

Photo courtesy of Mt. Defiance
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Mt. Defiance’s cider and distilling operations used to fit under the same small but artistically steampunk-outfitted roof in downtown Middleburg. This Saturday, the cidery wins its own space just a half-mile up the road.

The Mt. Defiance Cider Barn is “a fancy barn,” says owner and cider-maker Marc Chretien: 8,400 square feet, two floors, seating for 200, a wood-burning fireplace and even more steampunk details from Peter Ahlf, who also designed and built the bar and is the company’s distiller. (The distillery’s newest release is a wheated, single-barrel straight bourbon whiskey.)

Licensed as a farm-winery, the Cider Barn can sell the distillery’s vermouth and pommeau, plus its rotating selection of ciders. Ciders on tap and ready for Saturday include the 19th century-inspired Farmhouse, Old Volstead (a crisp, dry ale yeast), Toasted Pecan and Summer Shandy, plus more varieties by the bottle. There will be flights, cider by the glass and growler fills to go.

Chretien also plans for a single-variety cider with Gold Rush, which should be ready late this year.

The 12-acre plot features a patio with outdoor seating, an herb garden where the distillery grows almost all of the ingredients for its absinthe and a cider apple orchard with antique varieties like Ashmead’s Kernel and Grimes Golden. The orchard should produce for the first time next year, with hopes for more single-variety ciders.

For Saturday’s grand opening at 11 a.m., there will be live music and Parallel Wine Bistro’s food truck. In the future, Chretien plans for local cheese and charcuterie plates and opening the space for private events—though technically, there’s already been a party at the barn. “My daughter got married in it,” says Chretien. “That was our unofficial opening.”