6 Hudson Valley Hard Cider Houses to Visit
When it comes to locally crafted hard cider, the farm-to-bottle movement is alive and well. Hard cider has been a Hudson Valley commodity for years, often made in small batches or at family farms.
As hard cider has increased in popularity, local production has increased, as well. Now, cider-lovers seeking an authentic farm experience can sample fresh, local cider at numerous farms and orchards across the Hudson Valley. Here are just a few of the region’s working orchards with tasting rooms where you can get your farm-fresh fix of crisp hard cider.
Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider (Staatsburg, Stone Ridge)
Elizabeth Ryan, owner of Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill (Staatsburg) and Stone Ridge Orchard, has used European techniques to create hard ciders for decades. These award-winning farmhouse-style brews can be found at restaurants and farm markets around the Hudson Valley, or at the Stone Ridge location’s tasting room. There’s Maeve’s Hudson Valley Cider — a dry pub cider, with a floral, slightly citrusy flavor and almost 7% ABV; a bourbon-barrel-aged cider; traditional semidry; and others.
Naked Flock (Warwick)
Cider making is a centuries-old technique, so why not sip some at a farm that’s just as historic? Located at Applewood Winery — the oldest working farm in Orange County — Naked Flock’s hard ciders focus on pure apple flavors. Try the Original, which is fermented with Champagne yeast and sweetened with local honey, the Pumpkin Cider for a fall twist, or the Draft made with Belgian Trappist Ale yeast.
Bad Seed Cider (Highland)
Known for their canned dry ciders, Bad Seed’s upstate taproom operates alongside Wilklow Orchards, known by generations of visitors for its apple and pumpkin picking. Bad Seed canned ciders contain no added sugar and are naturally gluten-free; flavors include unsweetened dry, hoppy IPC (India Pale cider), and tart raspberry.
Brooklyn Cider House (New Paltz)
Don’t let the name fool you — although this cider maker originated in the City, after purchasing Twin Star Orchards in 2015, BCH began operating the farm as sustainably as possible to harvest their own apples and provide gathering space for cider lovers. Taste dry or half-sour ciders at the orchard, which also offers wood-fired pizza and locally or NY-sourced foods and alcoholic beverages for purchase.
Orchard Hill Cider Mill (New Hampton)
Artisanal, small-batch and French-style hard ciders can be sampled at the Orchard Hill Cider Mill tasting room, located at Soons Orchard, a favored Dutchess County U-Pick and farm stand. These extra-dry ciders are crafted with apples grown at the orchard. The Red Label Hard Cider is light and dry, similar to Prosecco; the Gold Label (bottled like Champagne) is aromatic with a toasty apple taste; and the Ten66 is aged in French oak barrels with notes of vanilla and spice.
Angry Orchard (Walden)
Angry Orchard made waves in 2015 when they set up shop at a 60-acre, century-old orchard in Walden to open their popular Innovation Cider House. They craft small, experimental batches on-site, which you can sample in their tasting room. On tap this fall is Wooden Sleeper, a warming cider of bittersweet and sharp apples fermented in Bourbon barrels; the funky, dry Understood in Motion 03; and the Knotty Pear, which blends apple and pear juice with cardamom.