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Beantown Beer + Cheese: Downeast Cider


If there’s one thing I love as much as good cheese, it’s good beer—and living in New England, there’s no shortage of either. For my blog series Beantown Beer + Cheese, I asked local brewers about their signature beers and cheese pairing recommendations.


When Tyler Mosher and his friend Ross Brockman graduated from Bates College in 2011, they didn’t intend to found Downeast Cider House, one of the fastest-growing cideries in New England. But they loved apples and were used to drinking fresh apple cider that tasted like—well, fresh apples. Many of the ciders on the market at the time either tasted like “liquefied jolly ranchers,” Mosher says, or could actually be described more accurately as apple wines or champagnes. So the timing was, er, ripe to give cider a go: “We saw what was happening with craft beer, and how that was starting to happen with craft cider,” Mosher says. 

Brockman’s brother, Matt, joined the company, and over time, the cidery outgrew its original space in Waterville, Maine, and moved to a huge warehouse in East Boston in September (the company now has 37 employees). With the new space, Downeast has really ramped up its output. “We can do in 30 minutes here what used to take us several hours,” Mosher says.

Downeast strives to make approachable, universally appealing ciders for the casual enthusiast. “You could easily have Downeast with a burger,” Mosher says—or with the below cheese pairings he suggested. 

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Original Blend (5.1% ABV): Downeast’s crisp signature cider tastes so much like fresh apples you could forget it’s alcoholic—balance it with an aged cheddar. 

Try it with:

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Cranberry Blend (5% ABV): Downeast’s other year-round brew is as pure and fruity as the Original, but with a bit more bite. The cranberry’s sweetness and tart finish cuts through creamy fresh chèvre.

Try it with:

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Pumpkin Blend (5% ABV): Warmed brie is a good match for this smooth blend flavored with pumpkin pureé and chai spices.

Try it with:

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Winter Blend (6.5% ABV): This brew tastes like the holidays and offers hints of oak. “People sip this one slower, so a hard cheese to nibble on as you drink it is a good match,” Mosher says. He recommends a gouda to complement the drink’s tannins.

Try it with:

Make Downeast Cider House tour reservations here.

256 Marginal St.
Building 32
East Boston, MA 02128

Hours:
Thurs. 5–8 p.m.
Fri. 5–8 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Sundays 12–7 p.m.

Feature photo credit: Cambria Grace Photography

Casey Walker

​Casey Walker is a Boston-based writer, constantly scoping out new recipes and restaurants.