What's a better fall beverage than locally brewed hard cider? This autumn, we visited Arsenal Ciderhouse & Wine Cellar in Lawrenceville, and we can't wait to go back. Arsenal has about 10 varieties of cider on tap every day that customers can purchase by the glass or one liter growler. Guests can take their growlers to go or enjoy indoor and outdoor seating full of Civil War decor. According one of Arsenal's owners, Michelle Larkin, there used to be an active arsenal across the street from their brewery, which inspired their name and theme. Even their tap handles are replicas of Civil War era pistols!
Arsenal celebrated its 5 year anniversary this past June. Michelle and her husband, Bill, began brewing cider as a hobby and were able to turn it into a full time business. They've been so successful that they're working on acquiring larger production space to keep up with the ever-growing demand. Moving forward, they also hope to bottle their cider and sell it at distributors around the greater Pittsburgh area. According to Michelle, they would love for Pittsburghers to say, "Who drinks Angry Orchard or Woodchuck?"
Arsenal's cider is sourced locally from Soergel Orchards in Wexford. They ferment the cider right in Lawrenceville in stainless steel tanks. Michelle told me that the process of making cider is more similar to that of wine rather than beer. Their two most popular ciders are the Fighting Elleck, a classic apple cider that's right in the middle between sweet and dry, and Archibalds Ado which has a more distinct apple flavor and is semi-sweet. As well as their apple ciders, they also have other fruits such as pear, plum, grape, and cherry. Their Symingtons Sour Cherry Union is Michelle's personal favorite. Arsenal also features seasonal flavors like Grants Flying Pumpkin for the fall and Snowbound Cinnamon for the winter.
There's several breweries in Pittsburgh, but Arsenal is the only one that exclusively makes cider. Head down to 300 39th Street in Lawrenceville to check it out!