Earlier this year, I found out that Hye would have its own cidery. While most people may reach for a beer, Sean and I choose cider instead. When we heard about the cidery, we got excited. I waited patiently as I watched the cidery move closer and closer to opening. I had big plans to attend the Grand Opening—my back decided I was not going to attend. As soon as my busy schedule slowed a bit, I made time to finally visit Hye Cider Company.
Hye Cider is the newest venture from Travis and Cherry Graham. The two are not unknown to the Texas Hill Country. They perform with their band, Convict Hill, throughout the area—I saw them at William Chris for a wine club party. They are also professional chefs. The food truck, Pig Pen, at Albert Dance Hall and Ice House is theirs. Now, they focus on making Texas cider.
Hye Cider began six years ago with test batches. This led Travis and Cherry to take the plunge into craft cider. They worked on the entire process themselves. They built the cidery and make the cider. Even the art on display on the property is theirs. They have an Airbnb on the property too.
Travis and Cherry are already making plans for the future. The cidery will also have its own dedicated food truck, though that was not ready when I visited (but it is coming soon). They also want to be a live music venue (they are, after all, musicians). For now, they spin vinyls offering a diverse playlist. They have plans to build a greenhouse to grow herbs for use in the ciders.
Hye Cider’s offerings are small-batch, carefully crafted ciders. They use as many local ingredients as possible—the honey they use comes from the area and is for sale at the cidery. They have already begun partnering with other local producers and hope to collaborate more. They capture, clean, and use rainwater; the cidery is self-sufficient.
The small production area behind the bar houses their fermenter, kegs, and other materials. The apples are fermented at a steady temperature. When the cider is ready, it is carbonated and transferred to the kegs. The equipment on site allows them to complete this transfer without exposing the cider to oxygen; its first taste of air is when it comes out of the tap.
Right now, they have two ciders: Hye Styling and Hye Note. Both have a combination of the artisanal feel and the commercial. The ciders are approachable for the wary tasters and interesting enough for the connoisseurs. Both ciders can be enjoyed by the glass (on tap) or in to-go bottles (750 mL).
Hye Styling: Local honey is combined with juice from Washington. This has sweet notes but is dry and more like Champagne. Alcohol is 8.5%. This is the most popular of the two.
Hye Note: This is the sweeter of the two. It is 9.1% alcohol.
In the future, the ciders will often be more herbaceous (hence the greenhouse). One with bay leaf is already in production. They will also have cider cocktails.
Hye Cider offers a respite from the area wineries. They have lots of outside sitting beneath the trees. In fact, they stay open later than the area wineries. They currently offer something lighter and will also be another stop for food (Hye Market being the only regular location). Hye Cider offers a place to slow down, sit back, and take it easy.