Levengoods: Lancaster’s first cidery

By on September 6, 2017

Fall is definitely in the air. And it’s a perfect time for ciders!

So, I took a trip into Lancaster to check out the city’s newest destination to its ever-growing libations scene: Levengoods of Lancaster. Lancaster City’s first cidery, is smack downtown at 104 W. King St., mere steps from the Spring House Taproom.

I’ve always been a proponent of cider after having tasted the apple-based beverages in England. It’s taken a while for U.S. producers to come up with something other than liquid candy, and it is taking even longer for American drinkers to embrace the spirit. But, alas, maybe Levengoods can change all that here in Lancaster County.

During my visit, Levengoods had six of their creations on tap. Let’s start with my crew’s favorite, the Dry-Hopped Cider. This dry-ish cider is finished with a dose of Mosaic hops. From the bouquet to the finish, this cider delivers the wonderful goodness of hops without being overly aggressive. Coming in a close second was the Dry Cider, and our least favorite was the Sweet Cider. We didn’t dislike the sweet, but it was more of a personal preference. For those who like commercial ciders like Woodchuck or Strongbow, this is a good choice.

The starting point of all these ciders is the Original Cider. For those looking for a more fruit forward cider, Levengoods offers a Blueberry Cider and a Cherry Cider, both of which are not overly sweet.

Samples of Levengoods hard cider products in front of the cider production area of the facility. Currently, all the ciders at Levengoods carry a 6.5 percent ABV. (LNP file photos)

Currently, all the ciders at Levengoods carry a 6.5 percent ABV.

I brought my friend Matt Shanks with me to Levengoods; he used to homebrew ciders years ago. He had a good question: how does Levengoods make a sweet cider with a moderate ABV? Usually, the increased amount of sugar will make the ABV spike; I’ve seen some homemade hard ciders get as high as 12 percent (and still be drinkable).

Lane Levengood, the owner and namesake of the Lancaster cidery, was pulling double duty as our bartender and broke down his process. The answer: It’s sweetened on the back end. So, basically, the sweet cider is sugared-up version of their Original Cider. Levengood said he was tweaking some production and working to create a sweet cider that will not have the added sugar on the back end, but still come in at a reasonable ABV.

As for the place itself, this is a great location for a hip destination. I hope Levengoods brings some more revitalization to the storefronts of King Street west of Prince. The interior is sharp and clean, like a good cider, and the food menu offers a simple selection of specials and easy small plates. I’ll be back again, for sure, especially when bringing out of town friends to the Red Rose City.

Oh, and for those who must have a beer, Levengoods currently has St. Boniface 3LB IPA and Springhouse’s oatmeal stout.

Food — or apples — for thought, I always associated the U.K. with cider, but that’s not really the case. The top cider producing country in the world is France, followed by Spain. The U.K. comes in third! Evidently in Northern France, cidermakers bottle a popular sparkling cider in the Champagne style, which uses apples, pears, or both.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

Seated at the bar of the new Levengoods site at 104 W. King St., Lancaster, are (left to right) Rob Tarves, Joe Mugavero, and Lane Levengood.

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