Connecticut’s New Hard Cider Renaissance Last Updated 9/19

Tasting cider can have a lot in common with tasting wine—some are dry, others sweet, with fruit or botanical notes. And like craft IPAs, hand-crafted hard ciders can have a character and uniqueness all their own. From start-up craft cideries to longtime Connecticut farms and orchards branching out into the business, here are few must-visit cider destinations in Connecticut. 

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New England Cider Company, Wallingford

Wallingford’s New England Cider Company features a cozy tasting room that’s a perfect weekend stop on your fall to-do list. Bring a picnic to share with friends at one of the outdoor garden tables or taste a variety of cheeses from a charcuterie menu that match perfectly with a flight of all six of their rotating hard ciders. Made from 100% local New England apples there are no added sugars or preservatives and the ciders are gluten free and vegan. Be on the lookout for fall varieties including Roasted Maple, Dark Cherry and Cranberry. Don’t forget to bring your growlers to take some delicious blends home. 

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Spoke + Spy, Middletown

Making their home in Middletown, Spoke + Spy Ciderworks is producing unique, award-winning, small batch hard ciders with a focus on local apple varieties. Their unique flavor combinations—all gluten free and vegan—embrace traditional cider production and current day trends. The 1,000- square-foot cidery shares its historic bicycle factory space with a tasting room that is currently open on Fridays from 4-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 12-5 p.m. for tastings, growlers, and tours, as well as with two unique breweries, making it a perfect destination for cider and craft brew fans alike.

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Stafford Cidery, Stafford Springs

Located on Main Street in Stafford Springs, Stafford Cider is committed to making hand-crafted ciders that are easy to drink, easy to share, and fun to talk about. With names like Sock Hop, Jitter Juice and Sanity, you’ll find a variety of interesting (and naturally gluten free) ciders on tap in their taproom, where you can purchase samples, pints and growlers to go. They don’t serve food, but you can bring your own. And be sure to check out their lineup of events, including live music and tarot card readings.

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Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market & Winery, Guilford

Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford produces cider with ties to the New England tradition. Their Farmhouse Style Hard Cider and New England Style Hard Cider are made from their own Connecticut-grown crop, have the crisp, light bubbly taste of classically fermented apples, and make a great alternative to beer. You’ll find hard cider on tap at Bishop’s on Saturdays and Sundays, in addition to the three hard ciders bottled for sale.

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Yankee Cider Barn, East Haddam

Awarded both Best Connecticut Cider and Best CT-Grown Wine at the 2018 Big E, Yankee Cider Barn’s hard ciders are also crafted in the colonial New England style, and made with a select blend of apples harvested right at the farm. In the tasting room you can taste their New England Dry, Honeycrisp Blend, and Captain Coit Blueberry ciders. In East Haddam, is open Saturdays and Sundays.

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Connecticut Grown

Some of the state’s most famous farm and orchard names are also producing hard cider, like Holmberg Orchards & Winery in Gales Ferry, B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill in Old Mystic and Hogan’s Cider Mill in Burlington. Want to sample some for yourself? Check the website links for tasting and tour hours. If you’re interested, our friends at CT Beer Tours are now offering Connecticut hard cider tours, too.