Fall is my favorite time of year in Virginia, and I love that the weather stays pretty warm through November. There are plenty of excuses to be outside since we’re close to a river and not too far from gorgeous mountains. There’s also an abundance of wineries, breweries, and cideries nearby! While wineries tend to be the destination spot in Charlottesville, there are quite a few exceptional cideries to visit.
Looking to taste some local drinks? Here are three cideries you should visit near Charlottesville, VA!
1. Castle Hill Cider
Castle Hill Cider is in Keswick, VA roughly 30 minutes from Charlottesville, VA or just over an hour from Richmond. They have a large tasting room as well as a big patio with plenty of outdoor seating. The weather was gorgeous when we visited, so it was nice being able to sip our cider outside. The full tasting is a little more expensive than most ($12 for a full tasting), but it was an extensive list. (I lost count, but I think we tasted nine different ciders. Maybe 10?) The staff was very friendly and was able to accommodate our group of 10, which is no small feat!
My favorite: The Celestial Merret. It wasn’t too sweet, fermented (or I guess, “re-fermented” in the bottle) and it wasn’t too sweet. This one was really easy to drink, and it was perfectly refreshing!
2. Albemarle CiderWorks
Albemarle CiderWorks is in North Garden, VA, about 20 minutes away from Charlottesville. It has a large tasting room with plenty of space inside and out. We did a 6 flight sample of all of the ciders which perfect. I generally prefer flights vs. tastings because you can get a nice sample of each. I liked the cider at Albemarle, although their ciders weren’t as diverse as some of the other places. But if you want a clear, crisp, dry cider, this is the place to be!
My favorite: Jupiter’s Legacy. Tart, citrusy, and refreshing. This is their flagship cider, so it’s a good one to start with!
3. Potter’s Craft
Full disclosure, Potter’s Craft Cider doesn’t always have tastings available on-site, but they do pop-ups around the state so you might be able to catch them in a different spot! (Hint: follow #CiderStream on Instagram to see where they are!) We got lucky and managed to catch their pop up on site where they do the brewing. We piled into the air stream trailer to get out of the wind and we tasted 4 of their ciders. Although we only tried 4, each one was quite different, so it was fun seeing which ones people liked best.
My Favorite: O’Tannenbaum. There were debates among our group about which one was the best. I liked the O’Tannenbaum because, as the name suggests, it had a hint of a gin flavor. I thought it was delicious. Others preferred the Ryesap, but that one had too much of a scotch taste for me! They did have something for everyone, though.
If you’re looking to try these ciders but can’t make the trip to Charlottesville, most of them can be found across Virginia. Here’s a link to find each of them around Virginia: