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Original 13 Is Opening in Kensington This Summer

There’s more hard cider coming to town

Original 13

Original 13 Ciderworks is opening a cider brewery and tasting room in Kensington in a converted industrial building dating back to the late 1800s. The new cidery, at 1526 N. American Street, will be brewing its flagship Sir Charles Hard Cider, based off a recipe from company founder John Kowchak’s grandfather, Charles. Kowchak plans to open the Original 13 brewery this summer, with the tasting room opening later.

This isn’t the first go-round for Sir Charles. The cider was first brewed in 2014 in a space rented out from a winery. A year later, the winery was sold and cider operations were shut down. If they were going to try again, Kowchak and director of operations Travis Frehafer wanted their own production facility. Brewmaster Clint Holmes joined the team this year.

The new Kensington address was originally a coal yard for the Isaac K. Wright and Son company in the 1870s, according to Original 13, before later becoming the site of an ironworks manufacturer and other industrial tenants. It’s been empty for a few years.

John Kowchak, in red, gives guests a tour of Original 13

Once things get going, Original 13 will be adding three new ciders to its lineup: Strawberry Valkyrie, Deep Blueberry Sea, and On Wings of Cherry. Those three and Sir Charles will be sold at local bars as well as in the tasting room, which will also have a full kitchen. Limited edition “heirloom ciders” and meads (the ancient fermented honey drink) will also be available, but in the onsite tasting room only.

Kowchak currently has a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a range for the tasting room.

Across town, Hale & True cidery is opening later this year, at 613 S. 7th Street. Commonwealth Ciders, an offshoot of Philadelphia Brewing Company, is at 2440 Frankford Avenue.

A (rough) first look at the tasting room