Cider – sweet or hard (fermented) — was a staple drink by people of all ages in Colonial New England because both the water and milk of that time could wreak havoc on the digestive system. Besides, you can eat only so many apples, and cider tastes so-o-o good. Many cider makers in New England, often located at the orchards, are making and offering unique ciders in tasting rooms and tap rooms. Become a fan, or – fans – find new tastes. See below.
B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill at 1129 North Stonington Road in Mystic, CT – For six generations, Clyde’s has been grinding fresh-picked apples into cider since 1881. Clyde’s says it is the only steam-powered cider mill in the United States. The season is underway starting in September, with sales of hard ciders and apple wines, jams, honey, maple syrup, and fudge. Also: apples, gourds, Indian corn, pumpkins, candy apples, kettle corn and apple cider donuts. Hours: Open daily, September through late December. Cider-making demonstrations are held weekends, 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Phone: 860-536-3354. Map
Hogans Cider Mill at 522 Spielman Hwy. in Burlington, CT – Hogan’s welcomes families to come and taste samples of hot mulled cider, made on an antique press from sweet and tart native apples. Also available at tis old farm in the rolling hills of Litchfield is Hogan’s home-made hard cider, called Native Honey. Visitors may stroll through the original barn on the property and also buy tomatoes, pumpkins, and apple cider vinegar. Phone: 860-675-7320. Map.
Perennial Cider Bar + Farm Kitchen at 84 Main Street in Belfast, Maine — We don’t know if we’ve heard the phrase “cider bar” before, but here is is. Perennial calls itself a cider bar and farm kitchen, making the delicious beverage from wild apples and recently propagated new varieties. Most of Perennial’s ciders are dry or nearly dry, with a few semi-sweet versions also available. The food menu is fun, offering appetizer-like meat and cheese boards, pork and lamb sausage, and other intriguing combinations. Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 4 p.m.-closing; Saturday, 1-10 p.m. Happy Hour specials from 4 to 6 p.m. Menu. Phone: 207-808-1083. Map
Woodchuck Hard Ciders, 1321 Exchange Street, Middlebury, VT — Woodchuck starting crafting hard ciders in 1991. The company’s selection of core ciders are designed to bring an authentic and unique cider experience to cider-loving drinkers. The Cider House and Tap Room welcome visitors with self-guided tours, tastings, Woodchuck gear, and 20 ciders on tap. Each evening at the tap room has a theme: Wednesday hump day with $3 Gumptions, Thursday with pizza and pits, Friday with cider cocktails, and Saturdays with English soccer on the telly. Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m. -6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. -5 p.m. Phone: 802-385-3656. Map
Farnum Hill Ciders at Poverty Lane Orchards, 98 Poverty Lane, Lebanon, NH – This pick-your-own orchard produces ciders from heirloom apples whose taste might have been familiar to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. Each harvest season brings many varieties of apples to pick, taste, or take home ready-picked. Apples are squeezed for Poverty Lane sweet cider or squeezed and fermented for Farnum Hill hard ciders. Growler Day, usually on Thursday, is your chance to buy a $3 growler bottle, which you may refill on future Growler Days. In fall, the orchard is open daily to Halloween and you get $2 off each growler refill on Thirsty Thursdays. Hours: Weekdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; weekends and holidays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., through Halloween. Phone: 603- 448-1511. Map.
Bantam Cider Company, 40 Merriam Street, Somerville, MA – The producer and taproom wants you to know it is really serious about making ciders that start out with the best ingredients. Starting with locally grown apples, Bantam says it also uses real honey, and peppercorns and ginger crushed by hand – NO manufactured essences, extracts or concentrates. Bantam declares that the The best place to experience Bantam is in the company’s own taproom, where you can buy and taste pours, flights, and growlers, right where the cider is made. All the sights, sounds, and smells of the cider making process are always on full display. Enjoy communal tables and good company! Taproom Hours: Friday, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday, 1-10 p.m.; Sunday noon-6 p.m. Phone: 617-299-8600. Map