Obscurity Mead Hall & Cidery unveils new line of ciders, credits new team members

Obscurity head brewer Carson Souza (left) and Zak Beckman, who recently started as cider and mead maker, at the Obscurity Mead Hall and Cidery in Elburn.

ELBURN – With new additions to the team, a new line of ciders on their shelves and a plan for expansion, owners of Obscurity Mead Hall & Cidery feel poised to take the cider market by storm in 2024.

Obscurity Mead Hall & Cidery is located at 21 S. Main St. in Elburn, across the street from Obscurity Brewing, its sister brewery and barbecue joint, and The Corner Grind, a local coffee and sandwich shop from the same owners.

Obscurity Mead Hall and Cidery in Elburn.

Obscurity recently launched a new line of ciders with the help of new head cider maker Zak Beckman and new sales director Doug Will. The line features three new flavors: Tart Cherry, Pineapple and Berry Rose, which are the first sweet variety of hard ciders released by Obscurity.

Beckman joined the team in December after the closing of 2 Fools Cider in Naperville, where he worked for four years. Will has been with the team for about six months and brought experience from his time working at 2 Fools Cider and Short Fuse Brewing in Schiller Park.

Obscurity Brewing owner Luke Goucher and Obscurity Mead Hall & Cidery owner Danny DeKing said the hiring of Beckman has given both the new cider maker and Obscurity’s line of ciders an opportunity to blossom.

DeKing said when 2 Fools Cider unfortunately closed its doors, he saw an opportunity to expand the Obscurity portfolio and fill the space they left in the market by bringing on Beckman. He said Beckman’s expertise in fermenting sweet cider profiles was instrumental in the development of Obscurity’s most recent line of ciders.

“I’ve had the pleasure of trying these new ciders and they’re fantastic,” DeKing said. “I’d say he blossomed very nicely in his new role.”

Goucher said Beckman’s experience from his four years at 2 Fools Cider already has helped improved their fermentation process and brought different flavoring techniques to the table. He said Will’s experience in the cider sales and marketing industries allowed him to start implementing sales strategies almost immediately and was a big part of putting out the new line of ciders.

Goucher said since joining the team, Beckman has worked closely with head brewer Carson Souza. He said their collaboration and exchange of skill sets will help both the brewery and cidery expand their lines and improve their flavors. Owners said the initial responses from those who have tried the ciders have been “a resounding thumbs up.”

“The addition of the new line of ciders allowed him to make everything his own,” DeKing said. “The input that Carson has just makes it that much better of an experience and flavor profile, but all-in-all Zak is getting to work on his own and be the mad scientist that he is.”

Obscurity cider and mead maker Zak Beckman hooks up apple juice at the Obscurity Mead Hall and Cidery in Elburn.

Souza said he had long been a fan of 2 Fools Cider, so when they had the chance to bring Beckman to Obscurity, it was a no-brainer. He said Beckman has been an awesome addition to the team and he has enjoyed the mutual exchange of knowledge between them during the training process.

As head brewer, Souza generally is in charge of the beer side and Beckman will oversee cider and mead. Souza said now that Beckman has gotten familiar with their brewing and fermenting processes, they can work collaboratively on brewing and fermenting everything from cider to coffee and Beckman can start sharing some of his responsibilities.

Obscurity Mead Hall & Cidery first opened in 2021. The owners said the first couple of years have been slow going, but they are ready to start expanding.

The lounge area in the mead hall is open, serving ciders and meads from Friday to Sunday each week. While it is closed to guests the other four days of the week, it is hardly ever empty. The space doubles as a fermentation factory where Beckman and other members of the team work to create their concoctions.

DeKing described Obscurity Mead Hall & Cidery in Elburn as Kane County’s best-kept secret. He said as they start to expand into a bigger market this year, they’re looking for a little more visibility to showcase Souza’s and Beckman’s talents.

Obscurity head brewer Carson Souza at the Obscurity Brewery in Elburn.

“I’m so excited for the future, to see what he can accomplish,” DeKing said. “There’s a lot of great minds between Zak, Carson and Doug and the sky is the limit. I don’t want it to be a secret anymore. I want people to see what we do.”

Beckman’s new line of ciders can be found at many local and independent distributors and restaurants in Kane County and soon will be available in several larger retailers around the Midwest.

Goucher said they have no plans to stop creating this summer, with more flavors and seasonal ciders planned throughout the year.

“I just love the excitement I’ve seen from the new guys,” Goucher said. “There’s a lot more flavors to come and a lot more fun and exciting offerings coming from the mind of Zak as we get into summer.”

Beckman said his first few months have been busy and he is excited to not be the new guy anymore, but he is keeping his nose to the grindstone, developing new flavors to release this summer.

To learn more about Obscurity Cider visit DrinkObscurity.com or follow on Instagram at DrinkObscurity or Facebook.