Hyperlocal: an apt descriptor for Brix Cider in Mount Horeb. Each moment you spend onsite feels like Wisconsin thanks to an array of goods made by locals that one can peruse walking through the retail area to the cozy ice shanties waiting for guests game to dine outdoors–even in frigid temps.
Owners Marie and Matt Raboin are intentional about incorporating other regional brands into their restaurant and cider business. “We make the molasses cookies in house using Meadowlark Organics flour. And the chocolate chip cookies come from Nectar Bakery in Spring Green,” says Marie. “The mugs (we serve tea and coffee in) are made just down the street at Center Ground Studios and the tea comes from Telsaan Tea House also in Mount Horeb. We really strive to feature locally grown ingredients in all of our menu items, and we try to source as much as we can directly from local farms.”
Such products are put to excellent use whipping up the main menu, in addition to rotating weekly specials like meaty burgers blazed in the house Maple Bourbon Cider, crisp flatbreads and vegan soups made from produce currently in season. “We go beyond just featuring a few items here and there by integrating these ingredients into the whole meal. When you order a burger at Brix Cider, for example, you are getting locally raised, grass-fed beef on a bun made with Wisco-grown, organic flour, topped with a local cheese,” says Matt. “Of course, our cider is locally made too, so I think we offer a unique dining experience that is truly rooted in the landscape and connected to the farmers in our community.”
This wholesome vibe also makes Brix Cider one of the few food-based businesses on the outskirts of Madison that can consistently accommodate customers with a variety of dietary preferences. The ciders–served on tap and also pre-packaged in bottles–are naturally gluten free, and there are several gluten-free bread and bakery items usually in stock. The Raboins confirm the absence of a fryer in the kitchen because they “didn’t want to be serving standard pub grub.”
Another novel component to the ambiance at Brix Cider is the ability to savor a meal outside in a private dome, ice house or a mini-greenhouse. Being able to embrace the fullness of winter—and stay toasty warm—sipping on hot cider as snow mobiles roll by is an enjoyable escape from being cooped up indoors. Plus, these options offer an additional level of care for guests and staff while the pandemic is still a major concern.
“We’ve kept our employees safe so far, and with all the precautions we have taken, we don’t think we have been a vector for spreading COVID in our community. We take pride in that, but we do miss the more lively community vibe we had when people intermingled,” Matt says. “I think we’ll start back with outdoor music this spring and summer, and once our employees are vaccinated, (gradually) begin indoor seating. It’s hard to know just how the future will play out, so we’ll have to improvise as we go. We’ll certainly keep safety as a priority, and hopefully, be able to be a very social space again too.”
Brix Cider is open Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit brixcider.com.