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These dry ciders are made like wine and packaged like beer

By REGAN STEPHENS

On sunny fall mornings, Sam Fitz takes his mild-mannered, 100-pound pitbull named Lexi for a walk in downtown Washington, D.C. When he finds a crab apple tree, Fitz ties her leash to the tree’s trunk, and climbs up to shake the ruby-hued fruit off branches, where they hang like swollen, elongated cherries. He uses the foraged apples to make micro-batches of minimalist, bone-dry cider. Fitz, along with his sister, Rachel Fitz, Cooper Sheehan, and Jason Burnett are the partners behind Anxo (pronounced AHN-choh), D.C.’s first cider house. And they’re doing things differently than most cider makers.

These small batches made with city-grown apples are only a small part of the story; the vast majority of Anxo’s cider is made using fruit sourced from nearby, family-run farms. In fact, the cider’s only flavorful ingredient is apple—in 2019, they used 35 different apple varietals—with either native yeast or wine yeast, making each cider naturally dry, gluten-free, and sugar-free. (The fructose burns off in the fermentation process.)

The cider [ANXO is] making is the antithesis of the mass-produced brands, pleasantly, but not overly, effervescent, minimalist, and bone-dry, with plenty of structure and nuance.

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