Original 13, the only Cidery in Philadelphia, has been open less than a month, but their story goes much deeper than that, over 80 years in fact. It begins with a man by the name of Charles Steckel, a native of Philadelphia. Someone who spent most of his early life working odd jobs on local apple farms, and eventually learning to brew hard cider.
As the story goes after serving in the U.S. Marines, Charles married and settled down in Warren County, NJ. Every fall, he would work in his basement perfecting his hard cider using locally sourced apples. Eventually he began a family tradition of bottling the cider just before Christmas to deliver to neighbors as gifts.
Move forward many years later to 2012, and the grandson of Charles, John Kowchak, decides to start home brewing as a hobby. This hobby took on more of a passion as his grandfather taught him the art of making hard cider. After graduating from Drexel University with an MBA in Entrepreneurship, John formed Original 13 Ciderworks on July 3, 2013.
And that is the story behind Original 13’s primary product line: Sir Charles Cider.
We met with Jack, their head of sales (and a beer/cider enthusiast in his own rights), at their brewery and taproom on American Street. A location not just offering delicious ciders, but also somewhere you’re sure to have an amazing night, supporting a thriving local business. (More on all their offerings later).
The brewing operations behind this cidery are absolutely second to none. We have been to countless breweries and we have never seen a location with a crossflow filter. A machine that removes 99.9% of impurities from their cider. With Jack’s background originally in the Pharma space it was no wonder they have the equipment they do. After touring their brewery operations we were blown away with the kind of equipment that sits within the walls of this brewery.
The brewing equipment is obviously paying its dividends because this cider is some of the best we have ever had. Want to see ALL of their drinks for yourself? You’re in luck! We got a chance to try them all, check them out in the video below.
From start to finish you are seeing the following:
• Sir Charles Original – (6.5% Semi-Dry Hard Cider)
• Deep Blueberry Sea – (6.5% Hard Cider Flavored W/ Blueberry)
• On Wings Of Cherry – (6.5% Hard Cider Flavored W/ New York Sour Cherries)
• Strawberry Valkyrie – (6.4% Hard Cider Flavored W/ Strawberry)
• Ichabod Pumpkin Spice – (6.6% Hard Cider Flavored W/ Pumpkin, Nutmeg & more)
• Atacama Bone Dry – (7% Dry Hard Cider W/ No Added Sugar)
Each cider is brewed with their Hard Cider recipe and then flavored with delicious ingredients. Drinking glass after glass one thing was made very clear; Original 13 may be making some of the best cider you will find. Try for yourself and we are sure that you’ll agree.
This point cannot be understated, the food at Original 13 is a MUST HAVE! If you are looking for a night out for a date or to take the family out for a delicious meal you are in luck. Cider is not the only delicious offerings you will find here. With a FULL kitchen menu, local draft beer on tap and their house made cocktails everyone in your party is sure to find something they will love.
During our visit we enjoyed the Duck Confit (Duck Demi, Cheese Curd, Duck Fat Fries) and Beef Bavette (Made with Bourbon Apple Butter with a Malted Aioli). All we can say is we cannot wait to be back to try more! Each bite was as delicious as the last. See for yourself.
It isn’t good enough to just try the food. If you have time, ask to meet the chef. He is one of the most creative and brightest food minds any brewery, cidery, winery or any other local business has in their kitchen. We had the chance to speak to him about everything we ate, and we were absolutely blown away with his passion for food. While he says he is not classically trained, we still don’t fully believe him after the amazing food we had. Don’t believe us? Try for yourself!
Check out the full menu and be prepared to be blown away with flavor.
While we highly suggest you get to the taproom immediately, if you cannot you are in luck. Original 13 pours at most beer tastings in the area, so you are bound to see them very soon! However do your best to make it to their location on American Street. Everyone we met was welcoming and had a passion for what they do. From the cider to the food and everything in between, Original 13 is not a place to be missed.