Hard cider — fermented fruit juice that falls somewhere between beer and wine — is not only America’s original alcohol but also the perfect fall drink: flavorful, refreshing and typically pressed from a variety of apples that are at their ripest in autumn. Ready to imbibe?
Foggy Ridge Cider
Cider-maker Diane Flynt crafts distinctive blends from more than 30 American, English and French apple varieties, including the bittersweet Dabinett and the tart Roxbury Russet, which results in traditional ciders with modern twists. On weekends through December, stop by for tastings of Sweet Stayman Cider and Pippin Gold — a hard cider mixed with apple brandy from Laird and Company, the country’s oldest distiller .
Blue Mountain Cider Company
Using fruits grown in the Northwest, Eastern Oregon’s family-run business recently expanded its offerings to include Peach Hard Apple Cider. While the artisan blend sold out quickly, guests can sample seven additional varieties — such as the lightly carbonated Dry Creek and an invigorating Raspberry — at the facility’s tasting room, then purchase wine-size bottles of their favorites.
Fox Barrel Cider Company
Greater Sacramento’s award-winning cider produces English-style drafts using all-natural ingredients, including apples grown in the nearby Sierra Foothills . Specialties include the French-inspired Pear Cider and Black Currant, a traditional dry cider flavored with a splash of currant juice . Tastings are held daily.
Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar
Named for the neighborhood’s 19th-century former arsenal, Lawrenceville’s new Civil War–themed winery boasts a variety of small-batch ciders, along with fruit wines and mead. Visit the in-house tasting room — which occupies the renovated ground floor of the brewer’s residence — Wednesday through Sunday for such samplings as Symington’s Sour Cherry Blast and Picket’s Bone Dry Hard.
Left Foot Charley
Traverse City, Mich.
Along with pinot, riesling and gewu¨rztraminer, Northern Michigan’s urban winery specializes in handcrafted ciders made from 100 percent Michigan apples. Sip pints of Sparkling Hard Cider and Cinnamon Girl Hard Cider on-site, or purchase refillable growlers to go.
PICK YOUR OWN APPLES
And brew your own cider.
Unlike store-bought fruits, cider apples are chosen for flavor over appearance. Choose among sweet and tart varieties at the following pick-your own venues:
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery