BELFAST— The addition of Perennial Cider Bar & Farm Kitchen is exactly what Belfast needs right now.
The grand opening at 84 Main Street (formerly the yarn shop) took place in a cozy basement space dominated by a copper-topped bar. Chef-owner Khristopher Hogg took turns serving the dozens of curious apple lovers who came to see what a cider bar is all about.
With plenty of seating at the bar, several surrounding two tops and a nook that can seat up to six people, this small place can pack them in and still feel lively and comfortable.
On the liquid side of the menu, Perennial offers traditional and heritage hard ciders from Maine, New England and beyond. Each cider they’ve chosen is distinct and they offer upwards to 25 different ciders, from the bottle, can and on tap. See who they source from here.
Cider by the glass (8 oz pour) ranges from $6 to $9 and cider on tap (8 oz and 12 oz pours) range from $4.5 to $7.
Along with several ways to enjoy a flight of cider tastings, there are also ice ciders (served neat on ice) for $5 and cider apertifs, along with a non-alcoholic kombucha and a cider vinegar shot.
Most people are not cider connoisseurs and that problem is solved with The Pommelier’s Choice on the menu (a riff on Sommelier), allowing the taster to be interviewed on one’s beer, wine and spirit preferences, before the knowledgeable bartender determines the customer’s palate and picks the best flavor combinations in the form of a three-glass flight (three ounces each) for $9.
A flight of Rocky Ground Dahlia, Cornish Common Fruit and Whaleback Traditional Dry from Lincolnville, for example, ranged wildly in flavor. Whereas the Rocky Ground was more of an earthy, honeyed flavor reminiscent of adult apple juice, the Cornish, Common Fruit, with its ripe strawberry and oak, was effervescent, bright and sweet. Then, the Whaleback knocked it out of the park with hazy tartness and an overall harmony that made the third sip feel like the last act in a third-act play.
Though Perennial does not make its own cider (yet) Hogg is a cider enthusiast himself and wanted to create a space for others to appreciate this burgeoning scene. Over the past decade he’s managed farm-to-table kitchens in Boston, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington state where he started Perennial as a traveling supper club. The food side of the menu, as website describes, was inspired “in the tradition of the tavernas, tapas bars, farmhouses, and street corners” with the best available local ingredients. Small plates such as coppa (cured pork shoulder, fir-infused honey and chamomile mayo) run you $4.5 to $6, along with snacks such as deviled eggs, charcuterie boards, small comfort foods and a cold-frame salad.
This cider bar fits in perfectly with Belfast’s character and is sure to be a local’s favorite, along with a hot spot for visitors this summer.
Open Wednesday to Saturday, happy hour is 4 to 6 p.m. Dinner and full cider program goes from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Check their calendar regularly for upcoming tastings, talks, and other events.
Photos by Kay Stephens, who can be reached at email@example.com