Tucked behind Talleyrand Park, Good Intent Cider, with its small tasting room and picturesque patio, has become a staple watering hole in the area. Originally founded in Adams County, the cidery made its home in Bellefonte three years ago. It has had a warm welcome, thanks to the area’s bustling food and beverage scene, serving a clientele with increasingly demanding palates.
While interacting with farmers market-goers in Adams County, Good Intent cider maker and proprietor Adam Redding said it wasn’t uncommon for shoppers to ask for the sweetest variety, while Centre Countians are unafraid of the unadulterated and complex flavors he and his team produce.
He still sources the large majority of his apples from Adams County, though, and he said it’s a good thing he does.
“Adams County and that region of the state has the climate and the soil to produce high-quality, high-flavor, high-sugar apples,” he said. “There are varieties that I can get down there that I can’t get here, one, because that’s an apple-growing area and, two, because the climate here makes the growers a little skittish about growing them.
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“In other words, they’re apples that ripen late in the season and a grower here doesn’t want to grow them, because they may freeze on the tree. They may not ripen before we get a cold spell. I understand their reservations.”
While Redding could do what many cider makers do and just grow his own apples, he’s happy to stay away from that side of the industry.
“It’s a very different business, and by not growing, it allows us to focus on the cider,” he said.
Focus, he does. Cider isn’t just a fun side hobby for Redding — it’s serious science (which makes sense, as that’s where his professional experience lies). It’s this approach that sets Good Intent apart from some of the other options you may find.
“With the cider, we pay close attention to the chemistry of it; basic things like pH are very important. We’re also very consistent with the way we ferment and just the process (in general). That’s one of the big things for us, consistency,” he said. “While we do like to make things that are new and different, we like our standard product to be fairly consistent from year to year. Also, we don’t use artificially high levels of carbonation and high sugar levels to hide flaws that might exist in the cider or to cover for a lack of character. You can add sugar and carbonation to give a cider body, but really, it’s cheating.”
The current (and continuous) favorite at the cidery? North Meets South, a 10 percent ABV variety aged in bourbon barrels.
“People like the bourbon flavor ... . It’s the second type of cider we ever made and still the top seller,” Redding said.
Close behind is Hoptide.
“Because of the flavor of the hops and the cider ... it’s quite surprising to a lot of people,” Redding said. “It’s not very bitter — it’s very fruity, very floral. People who like IPAs would appreciate that to some extent. It’s not the same as a beer, but the aroma is there.”
Redding’s own personal favorite, though, is the Happy Valley Hodge Podge, which blends more than 20 local apple varieties for what he calls “a really complex, really delicious cider.”
“I feel like we misnamed it,” Redding said, “and we’ll probably change the name, because it makes people think it’s a collection of junk, when really it’s a collection of some really awesome apples.”
However, Redding attributes the cidery’s success to more than just good product.
“Part of what’s made us who we are is the experience of coming to the cidery, and how cool that space is,” said Redding, who also offered serious kudos to his staff of nine for helping create a warm, inviting atmosphere.
The tasting room can comfortably fit about 20 people, both at tables on the periphery of the room, and at a wrap-around bar. However, Redding plans to move his production area to a larger building next door, which will allow the tasting room to expand to fit closer to 50, with an added loft space for musicians to perform during winter months. He expects the changes to be finished by November.
Other things to expect from the cidery in the upcoming months include two menu additions — one being the Winter Warmer, which hasn’t been produced since 2014, and an updated variety of their perry (different from a pear cider, which can often be an apple cider sweetened with pear juice, while perry is literally made from fermented pears).
“The variety this year is quite different, still perry but a little bit edgier. It’s a bit tart,” Redding said.
He also hints at some new opportunities for picking up your favorite Good Intent products at other places around town.
“I don’t think that we’ll expand the number of products we make, but we’ll instead expand the number of places you can get the cider from,” he said. “We’ll likely begin to supply local bars and restaurants again with bottle or kegs.”
Regardless of your taste in cider, or your taste in alcoholic beverages in general, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something you like at Good Intent. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll be sipping on a beer, or of comparing ciders to many of today’s mass-produced apple ales.
“It’s like making a white wine,” Redding said of the cider-making process. “It’s a shame that many ciders are marketed like beers, because ... they’re more expensive to produce than beers and they really can and should be produced only seasonally, so they’re produced when the apples are ready, and once the apples are gone for that season, you have to wait for another year.”
Don’t like your first sip of cider? Redding urges cider newbies to keep trying different varieties, from the sweeter options to the totally dry, until they come across one they like, as there’s a cider out there for everyone.
“We get every slice of the population here, and I think that’s a testament to us not being pigeonholed as belonging to a group. Cider is totally undefined,” Redding said. “There’s a lot of room for cider to grow, whether it be our cider or any other.”
Holly Riddle is a freelance food, travel and lifestyle writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.