celebrate cider

Celebrating Cider

With a history of cider drinking dating back to Julius Caesar’s days, the beverage has long been loved in Europe, and its popularity has now become entrenched in America as well. Not only can you easily find worldly ciders across the DMV, many cideries are popping up all over the east coast—especially in Virginia. The craft cider movement fits in nicely with farm-to-table food trends, and the vast number of heirloom apple varieties ensures many unique cider styles from which to choose. There are more than 7,000 varieties grown worldwide today; that means if you ate an apple variety a day, you’d be trying a different apple each day for almost two decades!

Ciders are delicious, refreshing and incredibly food friendly – sip a sparkling style as an aperitif or pair it with creamy, buttery dishes; or try a sweeter version with spicy Asian cuisine or tangy barbecue. Mix up your holiday beverage routine this year and serve a few ciders to guests. Virginia’s official Cider Week runs November 13 to 22 and offers a range of opportunities to taste and try.

Check out www.ciderweekva.com for all the details on special tastings, events and other cider happenings.

Finding Cider in the DMV

It’s easy to find cider at retailers and restaurants around the District—funky Basque cider, sparkling Normandy cider, crisp Virginia cider and everything in between.

ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar: A new addition to Truxton Circle, slated to open in early 2016, ANXO will be the district’s first urban cidery. They will produce their own Basque-style cider on site in collaboration with Millstone Cellars, a Maryland-based cidery. ANXO will also serve up pintxos—Basque small bites— to complement the cider. Read more at www.anxodc.com
Screwtop Wine Bar: This Arlington favorite featured a Virginia craft cider flight in October, and plans to keep several ciders on the menu this fall. Also not to miss is Screwtop’s Spiced Cider Sangria…what could be better to enjoy on a crisp autumn weekend? Visit www.screwtopwinebar.com for more information.
Thally: The folks at this hot Shaw restaurant are self-proclaimed cider fans, and promise to always have at least two ciders on tap and a few others by the bottle. Not ready to fully commit to only drinking cider? Create your own flight along with selections from their extensive beer list. Check out  www.thallydc.com
Cideries We Love
With the popularity of winery, brewery and distillery tours and tastings, it’s no surprise that many cideries open their doors to the cider-thirsty public.
Bold Rock: Not only does this cidery offer tours and tastings at their newly remodeled facility in Nellysford, you can also find their lineup of ciders at many stores throughout the area. Partners John Washburn and Brian Shanks continue to develop the Bold Rock label and now even offer a pear cider. Learn more at www.boldrock.com
Blue Bee Cider: Virginia’s first urban cidery is located in the heart of downtown Richmond, and has a tasty lineup of many cider styles—including classic dry, blackberry infused and a dessert version spiked with ginger eau de vie. True cider lovers should definitely join the Blue Bee Cider Club. Learn more atwww.bluebeecider.com
Potter’s Craft Cider: Potter’s cider is recognized as one of the top producers in Virginia, and you can find their ciders at several retailers in the area. They are currently in the process of renovating a trailer into a mobile tasting room, so keep an eye out for cider-on-wheels coming soon! Learn more at  www.potterscraftcider.com
A Cocktail a Day  Keeps the Doctor Away
While cider is easily enjoyed in its pure form, having some fun cocktail ideas in your playbook is always a good idea.
Apple Old Fashioned
2 orange slices
2 brandied cherries
½ oz. honey
1 oz. rye whiskey
½ oz. sweet vermouth
3 oz. hard cider (a dry style)
Directions: Muddle cherries, oranges and honey in glass. Fill glass with ice. Add whiskey and vermouth. Top off glass with cider. Pour ingredients into mixing cup and then back into glass. Serve.
The Bad Apple
3 oz. stout beer, such as Guinness
3 oz. hard cider (a sparkling style)
Directions: Fill Champagne flute halfway with chilled stout. Float the cider over the stout by pouring it slowly over the back of a spoon, making a two-layered drink. If making two individual layers isn’t working out, the drink is just as good with the two liquids simply mixed together.
Take a Fall Trip For Cider
Bold Rock Hard Cider
One of the fastest growing cider companies on the East Coast is located two hours south of DC. Virginia Apple is their refreshingly crisp Granny Smith Apple flagship and it is available throughout the DMV. Their facility is open for tastings and tours seven days a week.
1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Nellysford, VA; www.boldrock.com
Distillery Lane Ciderworks
Distillery Lane crafts dry ciders in the European and traditional American method.  They specialize in a variety of ciders, including one aged in whiskey barrels. The distillery offers seasonal cider making classes taught on premise and a tasting room on Saturdays and Sundays.
533 Gapland Rd., Jefferson, MD; www.distillerylaneciderworks.com
Faulkner Branch Cidery & Distilling Co.
Located at Blades Orchard, every cider produced by Faulkner Branch is crafted from apples grown on premise. There are 20 different types of apple varieties used, including some of the oldest cider apples grown in this country. The tasting room is open on Saturdays and Sundays.
4822 Preston Rd., Federalsburg, MD; www.faulknerbranch.com
Foggy Ridge Cider
Cider maker, Diane Flynt is involved in every aspect of the cider making process with the goal of revitalizing the American artisanal cider tradition. Foggy Ridge Handmade is a crisp cider made almost exclusively of Newtown Pippin apples and available in small bottles at specialty stores. Foggy Ridge is open Saturdays and Sundays from April to December.
1328 State Rd. 656, Dugspur, VA; www.foggyridgecider.com
Millstone Cellars
A rustic farmhouse cidery located outside of Baltimore that focuses on oak aged dry ciders, meads and cysers. Try Hopvine, an oak barrel aged cider that is dry-hopped with locally grown cascade hops. The tasting room is open Saturdays and Sundays and offers free tours every 30 minutes.
2029 Monkton Rd., Monkton, MD; www.millstonecellars.com
Potter’s Craft Cider
College friends, Tim Edmond and Dan Potter, transformed their love of homebrewing beer into professionally crafting artisanal ciders. Farmhouse Dry is an effervescent dry cider with hints of peach and a tart and crisp finish. They do not currently offer a tasting room but are working on the development of a mobile tasting wagon in a vintage Airstream Trailer.
4699 Catterton Rd., Free Union, VA; www.potterscraftcider.com
Winchester Cider Works
UK Native, Stephen Schuurman, could not find a cider that he liked in this country so he set out to make his own. Malice is their flagship cider made from a blend of five local apples grown in the Shenandoah Valley.  The tasting deck is open Saturdays and Sundays while they continue the construction of a proper tasting facility.
2502 North Frederick Pike, Winchester, VA; www.winchesterciderworks.com
Coming Soon: ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar
DC’s first cidery is heading to Truxton Circle within the year. Kyle Sherrer of Millstone Cellars is involved with what will soon be the production of small-batch, oak barrel aged ciders. Although the cidery is not yet open for business, the ANXO team has been hosting dinner parties around town to showcase their food and cider.
300 Florida Ave. NW, DC; www.anxodc.com

Tess Ankeny

Tess has been writing wine-related features for On Tap since 2014. She is a Certified Sommelier (CS), Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and a Certified Wine Educator (CWE).