Garden and Gun’s Virginia Cider Tour

I love hard cider. It’s something to do with the Irish in me (I figure cider is the next best thing to Jameson and Guinness). I’ll go through cases of it at a time, and we tried to get a keg of Strongbow imported from London for our graduation party. On my tour of Ireland I came home from pubs with Bulmers and Magners pint glasses that now fill my cupboard. And someday I would love to try my hand at making it. Bonus: Kate and Will are fans of homemade cider.

So I was very excited to find a list of five “ciderys” in my home state of Virginia featured on Garden and Gun.

This tour is definitely going to be on our to-do list. We’ll even end the day at my friend Nicolette’s family farm in Zion’s Crossroads, just a stones throw from Castle Hill in Keswick. Her parents imported an 18th century stone house from Pennsylvania and use it as their kitchen – complete with an open fireplace. We’ll continue our taste tests over a bonfire by the lake, Virginia perfection.

Aside from the first stop in Timberville, Virginia (quite near Lurray Caverns), all of the ciderys are within 40 minutes of Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place if you ever have the chance to go. The downtown area is charming and you’ll find lots of good food and friendly company.

So here are five ciderys to check out the next time you’re in Virginia.

Castle Hill‘s flagship cider is called Levity. The recipe calls for a 7,000 year-old method of fermentation. That’s one way to draw on one’s roots. I can’t wait to see the terra cotta jars they use.

Albemarle Ciderworks is focused on bringing back the tastes of our Founding Fathers. Ciders used to fill American’s tables with hundreds if not thousands of varieties. With their collection of heirloom and historical apples, Albemarle Ciderworks invites to you take a sip back in time.

Bold Rock Cider is what happens when you combine a Southern gentleman from Virginia and a cider expert from New Zealand. Add in some of the finest apple-growing land and a stream filled with rubber duckies, and you have Bold Rock. This cider is also the only one on the list which comes in regular old beer bottles, and now with a twist-off top.

jen darling by j.k.h. nelson

Potter’s Craft Cider

While the duo behind Potter’s Craft Cider isn’t our favorite wizarding family from Godric’s Hollow, these two friends did meet at Princeton University, where they brewed beer in their dorm rooms and have tried just about everything. After graduation, one went to work on an 18th century plantation to help restart a sustainable farming initiative, while the other started experimented with apple farming. Now they’ve partnered up again and are taking the sustainable and local food movement head on.

Old Hill Cider is so popular, they’ve sold out for the winter. But with new varieties scheduled to appear this spring, I just hope they save some for November’s Virginia Cider Week (conveniently held over my birthday!). I can’t wait to taste their Cidermaker’s Barrel which is aged in bourbon casks.

As soon as we can get a weekend down in Virginia, you can bet we’ll be stopping at these ciderys and picking up a few bottles for our housewarming party.

What are your thoughts on ciders?

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