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Acreage Brings Cider and Wood-Fired Fare to a Hilltop in Lafayette

Inside the new food and drink destination along the Front Range

Acreage opens Saturday, February 24, at 1380 Horizon Avenue in Lafayette
| Jimena Peck

On Saturday, Stem Ciders will open its new 30,000-square-foot cider house, featuring an ambitious onsite restaurant, set on 12 acres, with views across the Front Range, from the perch of a 140-foot hilltop. And those are just the initial specs at the aptly named Acreage. In the works are also a farm and an orchard — somewhere to grow the food and take the family for a day, an apple source for the cider, and also a place to hold an anniversary or wedding party.

This is how Stem Ciders co-founder Eric Foster thinks about his growing business. After four years in a 3,000-square-foot RiNo facility, Foster and partner Phil Kao are thinking big. At the new Lafayette cider house, they’ll be able to increase cider production to as much as 60 or 70,000 barrels a year (comparable in size to Avery Brewing or Left Hand Brewing in the beer world). They’ll be able to distribute in more U.S. states (Stem is in five now including, most recently, California). And they will eventually be able to expand the cidery and restaurant outside of this first spot to replicate in other markets. That’s the long view. The short of it starts in Lafayette above an industrial park.

Acreage, Stem Ciders’ new cider house and restaurant, opens Saturday in Lafayette
Jimena Peck

There, visitors to Acreage can walk in and order a whole wood-grilled fish or a marble slab of canned and preserved finger foods from the kitchen counter. They can go straight to the bar to choose from 24 Stem cider handles. Or they can hit the southwest-facing deck and pack in at oversized cider hall tables. There’s a walkway around the three-story vaulted cider production room, so customers can look down on the barrel aging, the canning line, bright tanks, and two tanker truck-sized fermenters. There will be staffers to answer questions about the alcohol and others to clarify what’s gluten-free (much of the menu) and what’s cooked in cider (even the condiments). With all its moving parts and expansiveness, Stem is certainly shooting for cohesion from one to the next element.

To carry out these big plans, Stem’s owners knew they had to bring in big names in the worlds of food and hospitality. While Stem provides the vision behind the bar and the cider, the service and the food at Acreage come courtesy Id Est Hospitality, chef Kelly Whitaker’s consulting group, and Daniel Asher, the Boulder chef behind River and Woods and formerly of Edible Beats restaurants. The trio of Stem, Id Est, and Asher makes for one full dining, drinking, and educational experience. It’s also a likely good enough reason to trek from Denver and spend a full day indoors (for now) on the Lafayette hilltop.

Status: Acreage officially opens at 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 24, at 1380 Horizon Avenue, Unit A, in Lafayette. Normal business hours will be from 3 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Check the website for more information.

Stem, normally specializing in dry ciders, is branching out into semi-sweet territory with this hibiscus tea blend
Jimena Peck
A dozen Stem Ciders tap handles at Acreage in Lafayette
Jimena Peck
The taproom and cider hall at Acreage
Jimena Peck
Growlers, condiments, and water at Acreage
Jimena Peck
Led by Daniel Asher, the chefs at Acreage work in an open kitchen with a wood-fired grill at its center
Jimena Peck
Canned fish, almonds, and jamon at Acreage
Jimena Peck/Eater
The menu at Acreage leans Basque and Spanish but highlights fresh fish, grilled meats, and vegetables
Jimena Peck
Bottles of cider for sale at Acreage
Jimena Peck
The view from the deck, with firepits, outside Acreage
Jimena Peck
Jimena Peck
Jimena Peck
Jimena Peck

A whole Alamosa bass stuffed with citrus, tarragon, thyme, and rosemary

Jimena Peck
Jimena Peck
Jimena Peck

Wine and whiskey barrels for aging cider

Stem distributes around Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and California
Jimena Peck
Five types of sausage — bison, lamb, two types of pork, and venison — accompanied by sauerkraut
Jimena Peck
Chili and achiote-rubbed chicken
Jimena Peck
Branding the taster trays for Stem Ciders
Jimena Peck
Branding the burger buns for Acreage
Jimena Peck
Chefs talk shop at Acreage
Jimena Peck
Horseradish mustard and Elevation ketchup add to the lineup of craft products
Jimena Peck
A winter view from Acreage near sunset
Jimena Peck

Acreage

1380 Horizon Avenue, Unit A, Lafayette, CO 80026 (720) 443-3007 Visit Website

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