The word “Waldschänke” may be a mouthful, but your mouth won’t be complaining after trying an unfiltered, Swiss-inspired cider at Waldschänke Cidery in Sunnyside near the Fox Street Station. Waldschänke, which translates to “forest tavern” in German, was inspired by the Dufresne family’s ties to a forest tavern in Europe. Today, John Dufresne, his son Keane, and their wives Ruth and Kelley are all involved in the business.
While cideries and breweries often get lumped in together, the beverages they produce are dramatically different and Waldschänke is the only one of its kind in the area. John Dufresne explained, “It’s unfiltered, lightly carbonated. It plays tribute to the original Waldschänke.”
The tap room is creating more of their own ciders, but in the meantime, the majority of their 16 taps sample other cideries from across the state. Once they have more of their own offerings, they still plan on keeping several guest taps to highlight other cideries. They’re also hoping to add a Swiss-inspired food truck and will soon be opening during the day as a coffee shop.
Denver’s Waldschänke may not be in the middle of a forest like the original, but it brought a bit of forest with it: a beautifully carved beetle-kill wood counter and other handmade wooden tables provide a comfortable atmosphere for guests.
Waldschänke also has trivia nights and the owners are exploring the idea of starting ping pong tournaments for bar attendees looking to do more than have a drink and chat.
The cidery’s location at West 41st Avenue and Jason Street means the owners are seeing a rapidly changing part of East Sunnyside. With the Fox Street light rail station finally open and highrise condos replacing warehouses and other industrial businesses, the neighborhood will likely look very different in the next few years, with hundreds, if not a few thousand, new residents and more commuters looking for a spot to grab a drink and a bite to eat from a food truck.
The Dufresnes hope to be the friendly face for those newcomers and longtime residents alike. Learn more at waldschankeciders.com.
Photos by David Sabados.