It’s easy to realize that the craft beer market has exploded– with it has come lots and lots of new microbrews to check out. Beer lovers heaven right? Well, not everybody is hot off the craft beer craze, so luckily, there’s another adult beverage that is sweeping the nation. That’s right folks, hard cider is on the rise! With open arms we welcome that orchard beverage of the adult variety to the craft market. Want to get your hands on some? Of course you do. So here are four local establishments that press their own cider within earshot of Boston:
4. Russell Orchards – 143 Aguilla Road, Ipswich
With seven different varieties of cider, you can spend the afternoon sipping away. They also have an extensive number of wines made on site too, all concocted with fruit from the orchard. Tastings start May 1, so plan one of your first spring weekends out to taste some local cider for five dollars including a sweet little glass. Tastings are held on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Directions: At North Station take the Newburyport Line to Ipswich. Grab a CATA bus for about $1.25 for a 20-minute bus ride that drops you off at the orchard entrance.
3. Far From The Tree – Salem
They have been kicking it in Salem since 2013 and focus on small batches of both traditional and flavored cider. Some of their products are only available seasonally and others year-round. They self-distribute throughout the state as far as Worcester. As of right now, they are working on a space for tastings and tours but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a hand on their local goods. Hit up one of their many sweet events.
Directions: Check out where they are sold and hit up an establishment close to you for a taste.
2. Bantam – 40 Merriam Street, Somerville
Using local fruits and natural ingredients, the people at Bantam make sophisticated ciders. Always trying to push the creative envelope of flavors, they take an opened minded approach to their beverages. Stop by for a tasting on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. or Saturday from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Directions: Hop on the Orange Line and get off at Sullivan Square. Grab the CT2 via Kendall/MIT. Take it for 2 stops and get off at Washington Street. From there, walk down Washington Street and take a left onto Merriam Street. Bantam should be on your right.
1. Downeast Cider – 200 Terminal Street, Charlestown
After graduating from college, founders Ross Brockman and Tyler Mosher spent some time at a family orchard in Waterville, ME. As big beer drinkers, they started playing around with the fresh apple juices at the orchard for an adult version. When they perfected this full-grown variety Downeast was born!
Using only apples from New England, Ross and the gang focus on high quality ingredients with absolutely no shortcuts. Unlike with beer, there is no brewing process. Cider making, come to find out, is more like wine making. Fresh-pressed fruit juice is fermented and mixed with yeast. The finished product is combined with CO2, and at Down East, never filtered. They want to maintain the fresh apple flavor. Not filtering the finished product keeps that fresh-from-the-orchard look with its cloudy demeanor.
With three ciders produced year-round and four seasonally there is always a reason to indulge. Tours and samples from the taps are free. When you have chosen your favorite, grab a pint and a growler for later. Drop by on the weekends to be in the thick of cider making. They open at 12 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. on Sundays. Tours start a half hour after opening.
They don’t just make cider at Downeast. Nope, they have much more going on. They have cider making classes, dry land booze cruises, mini music fests and so much more. These guys aren’t just creative with their cider. Join in on the fun.
Directions: From North Station walk down Canal Street. Take a left onto Valenti Way. Grab the 93 bus at the N. Washington St. at Thatcher St. station towards Sullivan via Bunker Hill. Four stops later get off at Chelsea St. at Fifth St. Follow Chelsea Street for 10 minutes. Take a right onto Moran Access Road. Follow the road under the bridge and to the right. Downeast will be at the end of the road.