Lookout Farm Taps Into the Growing Cider Market
The 364-year-old Natick farm unveils a new hard cider line and taproom this week.
This week, another intriguing newcomer enters the booming craft cider category, as the 364-year-old Belkin Family Lookout Farm in South Natick, one of the oldest working farms in the country, expands its operations with a new brand, Lookout Farm Hard Cider. Crafted from 19 out of the 25 apple varieties grown on the Belkin’s 180-acre property, Lookout’s debut offering, Farmhouse Blend, incorporates Jonah Golds, Cortlands, Empires, Galas, as well as locally sourced honey.
To head up the new cidery, owners Steve and Joan Belkin have hired their son-in-law Jay Mofenson and former Watch City brewer Aaron Mateychuk, who for 23 years spearheaded operations at the Waltham facility.
“The craft movement of cider is trying to evolve,” Mofenson says. “People are looking for new drinks to try and explore. There is a lot of interest now, something that is very similar to the craft beer industry 15 years ago.”
As part of the rollout, the Belkins are also debuting their 1,600-square-foot Lookout Taproom on the centuries-old property. Opening on Friday, June 5, the cozy taproom features apple crate paneled walls, a bar made from refurbished barn wood and weathered copper, a working fieldstone fireplace flanked by comfortable seating, and the centerpiece of the space, a retrofitted 1957 Ford Workmaster tractor that serves as the cidery’s tap tower.
In addition to the Farmhouse Blend, Lookout’s selection of draft ciders will include the 1651 American Aged Oak Barrel cider, an IPA blend, and the summer seasonal, Lazy Summer. While the cider-making duo is staying tight-lipped about the rest of their expanding portfolio, they admit they’re experimenting with heirloom apple varieties as well as unexpected adjuncts like green tea, pumpkins, and habanero peppers.
“Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” Mofenson says. “Habanero is really interesting—people have been raving about the flavor profile of that one—and the green tea cider is amazing! Those have worked out really well. They’ll definitely be on draft [at The Lookout Taproom] and maybe even in bottle in their future. ”
To complement their range of ciders, the Belkins will offer a small menu of locally made cheeses, flatbread pizzas, and charcuterie from Waltham standout, Moody’s Delicatessen. Later this year, Mofenson says he hopes to add soft pretzels, dishes utilizing Lookout’s variety of farm fresh produce, and other snacks.
The Lookout Taproom will be open Thursday and Friday from 2-8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Outside of Natick, Lookout’s Farmhouse Blend can be found on draft and in 12-ounce bottles at select Roche Brothers locations, Legal Sea Foods restaurants, and The Tavern Restaurant in Framingham.
89 Pleasant St., Natick; 508-651-1539 or lookoutfarmcider.com.