Virginia Cider Week, a celebration and showcase of some of the Commonwealth’s best ciders, begins today and runs through November 19th. The week will include a bevy of tastings, workshops, and other events for cider lovers to experience this historic craft firsthand while fostering economic growth and tourism.
This year marks the sixth annual Virginia Cider Week, made official by Governor Bob McDonnell in 2012. The Virginia Cider Week Proclamation made Virginia the first state to have an officially proclaimed “Cider Week.”
If you’re into cider and looking for a fun way to celebrate this craft drink, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a look at some of the signature events taking place, some of the state’s best cideries, and a look at the most popular styles.
Richmond Cider Celebration
- Sat, Nov. 11, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- 17th Street Farmers Market, 100 N. 17th St., Richmond, Virginia
- Kickoff CiderWeekVA with workshops and a tasting pass that includes ciders from across the commonwealth. Food pairings will be available for purchase. $30 in advance, $35 at the gate includes tasting tickets, glass and entertainment.
Virginia Cider Smackdown
- Sat. Nov. 18, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
- Albemarle CiderWorks, 2545 Rural Ridge Ln. North Garden, Virginia
- It’s Virginia v. California this year with a blind cider tasting for the ages. You be the judge as east coast and west coast square off. $15, includes tastings.
Old Town Alexandria Cider Festival
- Sat., Nov. 18, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m
- Lloyd House, 220 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA
- Sample ciders from across Virginia in the setting of the historic Lloyd House’s garden patio. Enjoy food and live music from the Folklore Society of Greater Washington with a selection of ciders from more than 12 Virginia cideries. Ticket are $45 and include eight tastings, a souvenir glass, live music, and fun fall activities. Reservations recommended. Alexandriava.gov/Shop.
For a full calendar of events and ticketing information as available, visit http://ciderweekva.com/events/
The beauty of consuming farm beverages rather than factory beverages means you can experience different flavors. Just as wine and beer offer a near infinite range of styles, cider styles run the gamut from dry to sweet, still to sparkling, simple to complex and clean to funky.
For cider drinkers used to six-pack factory cider, dry cider will be a revelation. High tannin apples provide the structure and mouth-feel for dry cider, which can have as many complex flavors as dry wines. Expect some astringency and deep rich flavors such as leather, oak and mushrooms. Virginia cider makers craft a range of balanced dry cider that will delight your palate.
The best way to find out the cider style you most enjoy is to experiment—enjoy Virginia cider, pair it with different foods and share the wide range of cider styles available in the Commonwealth with all your friends.
One can make cider from any apple, but just any apple won’t make good cider. Think of a three-legged stool—tannin, acid and sugar (preferably from fruit and not from a bag) balanced in an aromatic beverage full of complex flavors…that’s what we mean by well-crafted cider.
There are four groups of cider apples:
- Sweets: grown for high sugars
- Sharps: grown for high acids
- Bittersweets: grown for high tannins plus high sugars
- Bittersharps: grown for high tannins plus high sugars
Through cultivation decisions, fermentation approaches and blending techniques Virginia cidermakers create a wide range of cider styles and bring a variety of apples from the orchard to the glass.
- Albemarle County, Virginia
- Albemarle Ciderworks is a family-run Cidery and Tasting Room that produces hard cider from heritage varieties of apples that can thrive in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Big Fish Cider Co.
- Monterey, VA
- A micro cidery in Moneterey, VA making cider with traditional apples, traditional techniques and a completely new flavor.
Blue Bee Cider
- Richmond, VA
- Virginia’s first urban cidery, Blue Bee Cider is located in the heart of downtown Richmond’s Old Manchester district at the fall line of the James River. The cider is made with rare and heirloom variety Virginia apples that are prized for their tannin, acidity and flavor.
Bold Rock Hard Cider
- Nellysford, VA
- Bold Rock Cidery crushes Virginia apples at their farm cidery along Rt. 151 at Wintergreen beneath the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Tours, tastings and hard cider to go. Come drink in the scenery! Bold Rock six-packs are available at our cidery and a wide variety of stores and pubs/restaurants throughout most of Virginia and along the Mid-Atlantic.
- Richmond, VA
- Located in an architecturally-unique, old Richmond train car loading building in Scott’s Addition, Buskey has sought to marry the old Richmond industrial charm to sleek modern/minimalist design while focusing on up-cycling and reclaiming. Focusing on semi-sweet and off-dry ciders, the team’s background in brewing and winemaking influence the unique and innovative ciders and collaborations released throughout the year.
Castle Hill Cider
- Keswick, VA
- The famous ‘Albemarle Pippin’ first came to Albemarle County in a planting at Castle Hill, home of Thomas Walker, guardian and mentor to Thomas Jefferson. Albemarle Pippins and twenty-seven other varieties are now raised in accordance with the organic standard at Castle Hill Cider, which occupies a beautiful 600 acre portion of the original Castle Hill estate.
Courthouse Creek Cider
- Maidens, VA
- Courthouse Creek Cider follows a natural method of cider making, also referred to as a rustic style. Courthouse Creek uses minimal preservatives to barrel ferment and age all the ciders to add nuance and a layering of flavor that cannot be achieved any other way.
Coyote Hole Ciderworks
- Mineral, VA
- Coyote Hole Ciderworks is located in the town of Mineral, a town rich in mining history. Their mission is to make premium, naturally gluten-free hard cider from 100% Virginia apples.
Foggy Ridge Cider
- Dugspur, VA
- Foggy Ridge Cider reinvents cider tradition in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. In 1997, owner Diane Flynt planted the first 20th century southern cider orchard with over 30 apple varieties, all chosen for the tannin, acid and complex flavors necessary for excellent hard cider. Foggy Ridge Cider opened in 2004 and has consistently sold out of cider each year.
Old Hill Hard Cider
- Timberville, VA
- The Showalters sold apples on their family orchard before starting cider production nearly a decade ago. Using carefully selected apples including heirloom and cider-specific varieties, their artisan hard cider is
made from 100% apple juice.
Potter’s Craft Cider
- Free Union, VA
- Tim Edmond and Dan Potter met at Princeton and share a love for craft beer, and now craft cider. After
a few years in the corporate grind, Dan and Tim quit their jobs to pursue their passion for fermentation. Potter’s Craft Cider is a revival of authentic American farmhouse cider. It is made using nothing but high-quality traditional cider apples, including Virginia Winesap and Albemarle Pippin.
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