in partnership
(Photo Credit Virginia Cider)

Hard Cider Tour: 4 Virginia cideries and festivals to visit this fall

Fall festivals abound this time of year, but if you’re looking for a good seasonal buzz and you’re of legal drinking age, Cider Week VA, which runs from November 10 -19, is one of the best way to sample the wide range of cider producers from across the Commonwealth.

Hard ciders, which are made from the fermented apple juice and typically have about the same alcohol-by-volume as beer, give off unique flavors that range from tart and funky to sweet, crisp, and refreshing.

There are dozens of cideries around the region, but now is the perfect time to plan a tour. In the next few weeks, there are several festivals, tastings, and tours that can help get you up-to-speed on cider 101 basics.

Here are four picks to pin down for your November cider tour:

Richmond Cider Celebration

  • Saturday, Nov. 11; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • 17th Street Farmers Market; Richmond, Va.

Richmond is an easy day trip or weekend getaway from DC, and it also happens to be the kickoff celebration for Cider Week VA. Tickets for Richmond’s Cider Celebration are $30 in advance and includes access to cider tastings, food pairings, live entertainment, and demonstrational workshops.

Mt. Defiance Cidery and Distillery

  • 207 W Washington St. Middleburg, Va.

One of the closest and quaintest cideries is Mt. Defiance Cidery and Distillery, which is located in the scenic town of Middleburg, Va. The tasting room is open on weekends and features several Virginia ciders, including a ginger flavored cider. The backroom features a distillery and tastings of rum, vermouth, and absinthe.

Virginia Cider Smackdown

  • Saturday, Nov. 18, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Albemarle CiderWorks; 2545 Rural Ridge Lane, North Garden, Va.

It’s east coast versus west coast at this cider smackdown at Albemarle CiderWorks, located just south of Charlottesville, Va. In a blind taste test, visitors can sample Virginia ciders alongside California ciders to pick their favorites. Each tasting is just $15 per person.

Old Town Alexandria Cider Festival

  • Sat., Nov. 18, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m
  • Lloyd House (220 N. Washington Street), Alexandria, Va.

For a closer-to-home option, Old Town Alexandria will host its own cider festival at The Lloyd House. Enjoy food and live music from the Folklore Society of Greater Washington and sample more than a dozen different Virginia cideries. Ticket are $45 and include eight tastings, served in a souvenir glass.