I’ve come full circle… wine, craft beer (IPAs, stouts, sours…), Bourbon… now it’s time to take a serious look at some serious ciders. I’m not talking about Strongbow or something like that, I mean some of the best ciders in the world that are being made in our own back yard (assuming you live in/next to New York State).
There are two cideries up near Ithaca that I want to highlight: Eve’s Cidery and Redbyrd Orchard Cider. Both have been around a long time and are producing amazing ciders. Two that I had recently were Perry Pear from Eve’s and Starblossom from Redbyrd. Both made in the Methode Champenoise style, refermenting in the bottle to create the bubbles. Complex, tasty, interesting… and crazy value. In the $20-$25 range each, a bargain compared to other liquor. I highly recommend picking these up if you can. Ithaca is a 4.5 hour drive from Manhattan, but if you have a few podcasts backed up on your phone, it might be a good way to crank those out. The tasting room at South Hill Cider is also worth stopping by, as is Finger Lakes Cider House. (I prefer the producers I mentioned for their cider way more, but their tourist/tasting options are much more limited).
For my favorite West Coast Producer, Tilded Shed Ciderworks is doing great things, and their Wickson is my favorite. Again, a bubbly one, perfect for a Tuesday or the holidays given the price. Please don’t buy them all though, as I want more and they are running low.
For an easy day trip up to the Hudson Valley, doing the tour at Angry Orchard is worth the time. They have a 60 acre orchard doing some really cool experimental stuff…
All these ciders are fermented and bottled dry… these aren’t the sweet ones you might have remembered from college. Some have more funk than others, so those who like sour beers are more likely to like the funkier ones. I highly recommend trying them all and making your own decisions. I love finding value… the best Bourbon out there is around 1k a bottle, while a good one goes for $80… a GREAT wine might cost $500-$800 (or Harlan which is now over 1k), while a good one is around $100… the best cider on the planet right now can be had for just around $25. If that isn’t value, I don’t know what is!