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Steampunk Cider to shine through new Bar Cultivar in Barrel Factory

Steampunk Cider, as a hard cider beverage, has been produced since 2011, finding its way into bars and restaurants across the area shortly thereafter. A festival bearing the Steampunk name - with a science-fiction, cyber-punk bent - has graced the grounds of the Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, in Medina, since 2013.

But Steampunk will truly have its own moment in the sun on Dec. 8, as Bar Cultivar, a cider-focused taproom in the Barrel Factory (65 Vandalia St.), will open to the public at noon.

"It's a chance for Steampunk to put its stamp on the heritage cider world," explained Jerod Thurber, manager of Bar Cultivar. "We're not just a winery making ciders."

While the Steampunk Cider brand falls under the Leonard Oakes Estate Winery umbrella - Wendy Wilson, Jonathan Oakes and Thurber are heavily involved in both projects - Bar Cultivar will allow Steampunk to extend its cider offerings, focusing on "traditional fruit, growers, terroir and the sense of place," Thurber said.

A cultivar is a carefully bred or selected apple - possessing desirable traits - that runs in direct contrast to commercialized apple production. Through connected LynOaken Farms, now in its fourth generation of family ownership, Jonathan Oakes has worked feverishly - for nearly two decades - to refine the blend for Steampunk, as well as nurture cider-specific cultivars.

[From 2011: Read about Jonathan Oakes' attention to cider-specific apples]

In addition to the flagship Steampunk Cider blend, Bar Cultivar will begin by offering four single-variety ciders, with roots primarily in France and England but grown in Niagara County: Brown Snout, Medaille d'Or, Dabinett and Chisel Jersey.

Prices will range from $6 to $9 for a pour from the taps, while bottles - ranging from 16.9 ounces to 750 milliliters - cost between $13 and $25. Leonard Oakes' wines, select beers from neighbor Pressure Drop Brewing and a handful of cocktails featuring Lakeward Spirits will also grace the drink menu.

Thurber is excited for the chance to discuss the craft of heritage cider and the hard-cider movement in general informally at the taproom, but also more formally when guest growers and cidermakers visit for special events.

On the food side, Thurber explained that Bar Cultivar would source cured meats from across the globe, served in tandem with olives and cheeses for charcuterie-style small plates.

Again, the taproom will call upon another neighbor, Buffalo's Best Cucina, for a larger selection of food offerings through its kitchen, directly connected to the bar.

Additional plans for Bar Cultivar include live music on Thursdays, as well as a projector to air Sabres games.

INFO: Bar Cultivar, 65 Vandalia St. in the Barrel Factory. Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

- A Closer Look at the Barrel Factory
- Look back at a wild Cider Week in WNY
- Standout beef on weck pizza at Buffalo's Best Cucina
- West Coast brewing meets Buffalo at Pressure Drop
- Smiles at Pitch 10 in Lakeward Spirits


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