While Virginia’s craft beer, wine, and spirits scenes have been booming for years, hard cider has slowly started gaining traction in the Commonwealth. With orchards covering thousands of acres from the Shenandoah Valley to the rural plains of Central Virginia, cideries in the Commonwealth have been able to use locally-grown fruit to create world-class hard ciders. Visit one of these cider tasting rooms spread across the state to sample fresh-pressed products, ranging from sweet, fruity blends to dry, tart ciders that will make you an official Virginia cider lover!
Wild Hare Cider House—Leesburg, Middleburg, & Warrenton
Wild Hare Cider House is a boutique micro-cidery with locations in historic Leesburg, pristine Middleburg, and the charming town of Warrenton. Using local fruit from their orchards in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley and modern fermentation techniques, the cidery produces classic ciders as well as ciders that reflect seasonal flavors; in the summer, you might get to try peach and watermelon ciders, while in the fall, you can get ciders made with spices and pumpkin.
The Shenandoah Valley is known for its fertile soil, producing excellent crops of apples that go into some equally high-quality ciders. You can try some of these at Winchester Ciderworks, where the cidermaster makes English-style ciders, a dryer, less sweet cider style using apples from a local orchard. Try their signature cider, Malice, and special blends like the bourbon-barrel-aged Wicked Wiles or the Pious Pear, made with 70% apple juice and 30% pear juice.
Lost Boy Cider—Alexandria
One of the newest cideries in Virginia, Lost Boy Cider in Alexandria, utilizes natural ingredients and fresh Virginia apples in their ciders, as well as a fermentation process that gets rid of nearly all residual sugar. In addition to the cidery’s mainstay dry cider Comeback Kid, be sure to try their blended ciders, made with ingredients like blackberries, hops, raspberries, cranberries, and spices, and their heritage ciders, aged in tequila, gin, and Kentucky bourbon barrels.
Cobbler Mountain Cellars—Delaplane
Opened on Big Cobbler Mountain, Cobbler Mountain Cellars pairs delicious ciders with stunning panoramic views at their Northern Virginia tasting room. Creating interesting flavors like the Smackin’ Orange, Ginger Peach, Maple Stout, and Wild Blackberry Hop (all made with fresh fruit!), the cidery is pet-friendly, allowing you to bring your four-legged friend along on a fall adventure in Virginia.
Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery—Middleburg
Photo Credit: Eric Weiss
Mt. Defiance Cidery is a small batch, artisanal cidery, crafting batches of hard cider using old-fashioned methods and only local apples. The resulting cider is unpasteurized, unsweetened, and refreshingly dry, and comes in a variety of flavors. The classic farmhouse cider is a staple at Mt. Defiance, but make sure to sample the seasonal flavors, like blueberry, ginger, and Summer Shandy, a balanced blend of lemonade and cider.
Corcoran Vineyards & Cider—Waterford
Corcoran Vineyards & Cider chooses their apples for their tannins, sugar, and acid, combining the best of each apple varietal to create sophisticated yet approachable ciders. Their pet-friendly tasting room serves their latest crisp, refreshing offerings like their Hop’n’Pop, an off-dry cider aged with locally-grown hops, or the Sinful Hard Cider, made with cinnamon and all-spice.
—SHENANDOAH VALLEY & VIRGINIA’S MOUNTAINS—
Stable Craft Brewing—Waynesboro
photo credit: Kyle Head, @thenomadmedia
Also a working farm and a brewery, Stable Craft Brewing offers four unique cider varieties. Head to the brewery/cidery tasting room to sample the newest offerings and plan on making a day of it; you can wander the property and visit with the horses, enjoy games of volleyball, beer pong, and cornhole with friends, enjoy a meal in the Party Igloos after dark for an awe-inspiring view of the starry night skies, and then stay in one of their on-site suites.
Big Fish Cider Co.—Monterey
Making interesting new ciders from locally-harvested apples and traditional techniques, Big Fish Cider Co. is a micro-cidery in Highland County near the West Virginia/Virginia border. Their ciders range from off-dry to semi-sweet blends, with seasonal offerings rounding out the menu of their year-round blends.
Old Hill Cider—Timberville
Located at Showalter’s Orchard, Old Hill Cider sources the fruit for their ciders from their own apple orchards, with the entire process from tree to bottle happening on-site. Their impressive lineup of ciders include dry ciders similar to wines, fruit-forward cider blends, and sweet ciders, providing options for every type of cider lover. The cidery offers scenic views of the surrounding Shenandoah Valley (especially in the fall) and is pet-friendly, welcoming well-behaved leashed pets.
Sage Bird Ciderworks—Harrisonburg
Located in Downtown Harrisonburg, Sage Bird Ciderworks is the newest addition to the cideries in the Shenandoah Valley. They use locally sourced fruit to craft their ciders, which tend to be more dry and include both a standard line of ciders available year-round and specialty seasonal blends. The tasting room is pet-friendly and welcomes leashed, well-behaved dogs.
—CENTRAL & COASTAL VIRGINIA—
Blue Bee Cider—Richmond
Virginia’s first urban cidery, Blue Bee Cider resides in the popular Scott’s Addition neighborhood of Richmond, where you can spend an entire day walking around and visiting craft breweries, cideries, and meaderies. The pet-friendly cidery produces seasonal, artisanal ciders from heirloom Virginia apples, which you can enjoy on their picturesque outdoor patio.
Blue Toad Hard Cider—Roseland
Blue Toad Hard Cider began in upstate New York, but after gaining popularity in the New England market, they decided to expand into Virginia. The cidery is located near Wintergreen Resort on a 28-acre farm, with a charming cider barn open Friday-Sunday for tastings. Flagship favorites like the Blue Ridge Blonde (a crisp and fruity cider made with a blend of local Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith apples) are served alongside current seasonal flavors like the Wahoo Orange Crush (a blend of three apples harvested from the Blue Ridge Mountains and orange peels) and the Harvest Fest (notes of clove, cinnamon, and spices) at the Roseland tasting room.
Bryant’s Cider Barn & Tasting Meadow—Roseland & Richmond
A small batch cidery in Roseland, Bryant’s Cider uses apples harvested from their own orchard, Edgewood Farm, as well as other nearby farms in Nelson County, in their craft ciders. Their pet-friendly tasting room is open on weekends, and they recently opened a second cidery in Richmond’s Historic Jackson Ward neighborhood.
Buskey Cider—Richmond & Cape Charles
Buskey Cider began in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition, opening in an old train car loading building that provided a unique atmosphere for their cider tasting room. Visit their Richmond location to learn all about Virginia ciders, sample their small release batches, and lounge with friends in the large warehouse space behind the tasting room, where you can play an assortment of board games. Buskey recently opened a second tasting room in the waterfront Eastern Shore town of Cape Charles, just a few steps from the Chesapeake Bay.b
Albemarle CiderWorks—North Garden
Producing ciders in traditional Colonial fashion, Albemarle CiderWorks pays tribute to Thomas Jefferson, who experimented with nearly 20 different varieties of apples at Monticello, only a few miles from their Rural Ridge orchard. The Albemarle County cidery grows over a dozen of the same apple varieties as Jefferson, blending the resulting juices to create full-bodied ciders that stand the test of time.
Castle Hill Cider—Keswick
Castle Hill Cider instills time-honored traditions and modern cider-making techniques into each bottle, resulting in award-winning Virginia heritage ciders. Using apples grown in their own 7,000-tree orchard, Castle Hill ciders are dry in style and free of additives. Visit the pet-friendly cidery tasting room Thursday through Monday to sample their latest cider lineup
Courthouse Creek Cider—Maidens & Richmond
The farm, production facility, and first tasting room location for Courthouse Creek Cider opened in Goochland County, where they grew their fruit in a 4.5-acre orchard, pressed it in their production facility, and bottle it to be served in the tasting room. They produce natural ciders that have not been filtered or had any chemicals added; instead, they ferment and age in barrels to get the most rustic and true flavors in their ciders. The tasting room is open on weekends, and while visiting, you can relax on a beautiful rural farm and pair your ciders with small plate food items prepared at the cidery. Recently, Courthouse Creek Cider opened a second pet-friendly tasting room in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood that is open Thursday through Sunday.
Bold Rock Hard Cider—Nellysford, Crozet, & Charlottesville
Part of the Nelson 151 Craft Beverage Trail, Bold Rock Hard Cider sits in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is open for tours and tastings daily. Their two flagship ciders, Virginia Apple and Virginia Draft, are provided for free in a complimentary tasting, while you can sample their rotating lineup of seasonal ciders for a small fee. Afterwards, get a glass of your favorite Bold Rock Cider and head outside to take in the gorgeous scenery from the patio or outdoor fire pit during brisk fall days. The cidery has expanded in recent years, with additional tasting rooms at Chiles Peach Orchard in Crozet and Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, and pets are welcome at any of their locations.
Coyote Hole Ciderworks—Mineral
Coyote Hole Ciderworks is a pet-friendly cidery that produces naturally gluten-free hard ciders using apples and other fruit that is all grown at nearby orchards or on-site. Their flagship apple cider is served alongside an array of limited edition seasonal ciders, such as their Sixteen-Thirty Pear Cider and Coyo-Tea Cider, infused with Chai tea. The cidery hosts several weekly events, including trivia on Thurday nights and live music on Saturday nights from May-October.
Potter’s Craft Cider—Charlottesville
Potter’s Craft Cider is made using nothing but the highest quality, traditional cider apples grown nearby in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Virginia Winesap and Albemarle Pippin apples in their authentic American Farmhouse ciders. The Charlottesville cidery tasting room is pet-friendly and open Friday-Sunday, with an outdoor seating area open when the weather permits.
Sly Clyde Ciderworks—Hampton
Photo Credit: Hannah Armstrong, @hannahelizarmstrong
Virginia’s first coastal cidery, Sly Clyde Ciderworks, produces innovative ciders just blocks from the Chesapeake Bay, combining Virginia apples with flavors like Blackberry and Mint or Rosemary and Habanero. Their ciders are unpretentious and approachable, and they offer tours of the Cider House to give a behind-the-scenes peek at how their ciders are made. On weekends with fair weather, sip your ciders in the back courtyard while dining on tasty fare from local food trucks. Sly Clyde Ciderworks is both family-and-pet-friendly, welcoming the entire family to come spend an afternoon at this easy-going coastal cidery.
Ciders From Mars just opened last summer in Staunton!
We will have to come out and visit next time we are in the area, Staunton is wonderful!
Cider lovers can also make the trek to Old Hill Cider in Timberville, Virginia, located 80 miles northeast of Charlottesville near the West Virginia border. This cidery operates out of the Showalter’s Orchard, a working farm that offers pick-your-own apples, a greenhouse, and lots of fun festivals and events in a stunning mountain view setting.