The Vermont hard cider industry is a natural outgrowth of the local foods movement that kicked into high gear in the mid-2000's. While there are many things that don't grow well in our harsh New England Climate apples are not one of them. In fact, apple trees can survive in the wild without any attention for over 80 to 100 years. These are the trees that many local cider makers are really excited about today. Wild and heirloom apples have the potential to produce unique, tart and crisp hard ciders.
Tin Hat Cider
In the Mad River Valley, this is the most local of local ciders. Tin Hat's traditional dry ciders come from fruit grown in the Mad River Valley largely come from the orchard at Mountain Valley Farm in Waitsfield, but cidermaker Teddy Weber also hunts for and incorporates wild apples found in the area.
Champlain Orchard Cider
The Cidery at Champlain Orchards is a natural outgrowth of one of the oldest continuously operating orchards in Vermont. With over 100 varieties of apples, they produce a variety of cider styles and flavors from dry and crisp to ginger and spice. It is clear the folks at Champlain Orchards Cidery have fun fermenting not just apple cider, but also working with other fruits produced on their land.
Produced in the next ski town north of the Mad River Valley, Stowe Cider offers a range of styles of cider from their core line-up of super dry and refreshing High and Dry, semi-dry Tips Up and dry hopped Safety meeting to fresh seasonal offerings and barrel-aged specialty ciders.
Windfall Orchard Ice Cider
Windfall Orchard, located in Cornwall, VT is a small, 3 acre fruit orchard that boasts over 80 apple heirloom varieties thanks to grafting that enables multiple apple types to coexist on one tree. In addition to making a traditional hard apple cider as well as a very limited annual edition pear hard cider they produce an ice cider using classic Quebec techniques. Windfall Orchard ice cider represents a blend of over 30 traditional and heirloom apple varieties, 100% grown in their orchard. The result is a complex, elegant ice cider that tastes of fresh apple, peach and pear. Curious about ice cider? Check this out.