Erin Gilbert

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What’s in Stein’s Stein is a new biweekly feature celebrating the liquids made, sold, and served by underrepresented voices in the craft beverage industries.

Cider: Graft Cider’s Cloud City Amarillo District

Person: Erin Gilbert, assistant beverage director, Pizzeria Paradiso

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Price: $11 per 12 ounce

Taste: Amarillo District is the first in Graft’s “dreamsicle cider” series and is made with ingredients typically reserved for beer: pineapple, lemon zest, lactose sugar, and vanilla. The aroma is that of sharp pineapple, lemon pepper, and dusty Champagne, while the taste falls somewhere between orange juice and key lime pie. The pineapple cuts the acidity of the apples and wild yeast, leaving this complex cider at 6.9 percent ABV.

Story: Libations should be fun, says Erin Gilbert. “I don’t enjoy the pretension around it. It should be inclusive,” she says, adding that she likes to meet customers where they are. For example, if someone comes in looking for something that tastes like Stella, she matches the flavor profile without judgment.

Though Gilbert acknowledges that cider and beer drinkers come from all different backgrounds, she says there’s not enough diversity in the field. “It’s much more difficult to get into the brewing industry as a person of color or a woman,” she says. Gilbert often sees what she calls “a kind of token woman” at breweries. This is in sharp contrast to the work environment at Pizzeria Paradiso, where owner Ruth Gresser and beer director Drew McCormick are both women. 

“Being surrounded by passionate women has amazed me every day,” Gilbert says. But she recognizes that the scenario is rare. “It’s very different from what I’m used to in the restaurant industry and in the beer industry.”

Where to try: Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown, 3282 M St. NW; (202) 337-1245 or Pizzeria Paradiso Dupont, 2003 P St. NW (202) 223-1245; eatyourpizza.com