The Ice Cave Cider House in Monument got its start in owner Julie Troudt’s family history.
Her grandparents moved here from Great Britain, the original home of the cold alcoholic beverage made from fermented apples. Troudt’s taste for hard cider filtered down through her family roots.
“We always drank hard ciders,” Troudt said. American hard ciders tend to taste sweeter than the family liked, so she started making her own.
Troudt and her husband David began fermenting small batches, one gallon at a time, for their own consumption. When they started sharing with friends, the batches grew to five gallons at a time.
And the business was born.
Anticipating an empty nest when their son went to college, the Troudts decided to grow their hobby into a business. In 2014, the couple began the process to obtain a liquor license. The business opened in August 2015 — “just in time for apple harvest,” Julie says.
Ice Cave Cider produces 200 gallons a month, selling it at a tavern at 174 Washington St. in Monument. They named the business after the ice caves and trails in the boulders behind Palmer Lake.
To run the cidery, David left his job as a draftsman and estimator, while Julie continues to work as an intellectual property specialist for law firm Holland & Hart.
“We just decided to do something fun and share with the world,” David said. “I’d be on that side of the bar if I wasn’t working.”
“We’ve had a lot of fun,” Julie added. “We’ve met a lot of people and kept smiles on their faces.”
Hard cider is made by taking the juice from freshly pressed apples of all varieties — Cider, McIntosh, Northern Spy, Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious and Cortland. The juice is allowed to ferment on its own or after adding yeast or other ingredients.
“When fermenting, it takes the sugars out and you can keep it dry,” Julie said. “We like the traditional English cider — less sweet.”
The Troudts obtain chilled pressed apple juice from Colorado growers in Cañon City and Palisade. They buy other ingredients, such as hops and raspberries, from area growers.
They sell their varieties for $5.50 per glass, $15.50 for a 32-ounce growler and $26.50 for 64 ounces.
The Ice Cave also offers a light menu of traditional English fare: sausage rolls, pickled onions, the ploughman’s platter of ham, apples and crackers.
A social place
The Troudts wanted to create a neighborhood pub culture, similar to what they experienced in Great Britain.
The couple had toured England’s Somerset area, enjoying the hard ciders, the people and the camaraderie they encountered.
“We also try to pride ourselves with talking with our customers,” Julie said. “and hopefully remember their names the next time.”
Last week, customer Chip Shepherd sampled some of the ciders, which bear the names of nearby geography — Henry’s Station Dry Hopped, Dirty Woman, Cascade Mosaic. Other flavors include Belgian Style, Raspberry Mountain and Classic Dry.
Shepherd learned about hard cider while stationed in England in the U.S. Air Force.
“This is exceptional,” Shepherd said of the golden beverage in the glass before him at the Ice Cave. “It’s probably the best cider I’ve had outside of Europe.”
He said he feels vestiges of European pubs at Ice Cave.
A video plays on a wide-screen monitor behind the bar — showing aerial views of Palmer Lake, Monument and Fox Run Park. The Troudts’ son and one of his friends created the video using a digital camera attached to a drone.
Beer, wine, cider, shine
David entered the 2015 Monument ‘-ery’ tour as a great way to launch the Ice Cave Cider House. The Dec. 19 Monument event featured a winery (Catriona Cellars), a distillery (3 Hundred Days of Shine), a brewery (Pikes Peak Brewing Company) and The Ice Cave Cider House as the cidery. Some called the event the “beer, wine, cider and shine” tour.
The publicity worked.
“The end of the year was great,” David said.
The business obtained its 32-ounce growlers in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which boosted the year-end bottom line.
Because the business is so young, future income is unknown, David said.
“Our goal really is just to have fun,” Julie said. “We want to stay a small mom-and-pop shop.”
The Ice Cave Cider House
In business since: 2015
Location: 174 Washington St. Unit C, Monument
Contact: 510-1636, facebook.com/theicecaveciderhouse