Somewhere between beer and wine, there’s an alcoholic option that seems perfect for fall: apple cider.
New Jersey’s alcoholic cider scene started gaining momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are now a handful of breweries across the Garden State, collectively marketing a wide array of unique, appealing flavors.
Some are available on tap in tasting rooms, while others are readily available in bottles or cans at local liquor stores. Here’s a look at some up-and-coming companies worth checking out.
Armageddon Brewing, Somerdale
Founded as a result of a misdiagnosis of celiac disease, Armageddon offers gluten-free alcoholic beverages, including cider and mead – which, if you’ve never tried the latter, Armageddon’s website describes it as “one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world.” . Water with honey in it that’s left to ferment.” Some of the available ciders are made with New Jersey raspberries and blueberries, in addition to changing seasonal offerings.
Beach Bee Meadery, long branch
Beach Bee also offers cider and (as the name suggests) mead available either by mail order or in liquor stores and bars in Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties. The latest cider offering is Apricot Sage, while the Cranberry Cinnamon Brew was awarded a Judge’s Pick at the 2021 Cidercraft Awards.
Burnt Mills Cider Company, Bedminster
A quick look at Burnt Mills’ Can Locator shows that their product is widely available in the northern half of New Jersey. Currently available in their tasting room is their own version of a blueberry-infused New Jersey cider, as well as a collaboration of sorts — the “Jersey Peach,” made with peaches from Melick’s Town Farm, which makes its own line of hard ciders (read more).
Ironbound Farm, Asbury (Hunterdon Co.)
The history of Ironbound Farm is tied to the history of hard cider in Newark, the famous neighborhood of the city for which the farm and cider house are named. Unique to the other ciders on this list, Ironbound also offers a seasonally rotating farm-to-table menu that complements its ciders, which come in both a traditional, beer-like form and a higher-alcohol, fortified variety.
Oldwick Cider Mill (Melick’s Town Farm), Oldwick
The versions of Melick’s Hard Cider’s Semi-Dry and King Street Hops, which advertise their beverage offerings as “fresh from farm to bottle,” were awarded double gold medals in a blind tasting test by “The Fifty Best,” according to Melick’s website. Cherry, ginger and lemon radler offshoots and a cider are some of the farm’s other apple alcohol products, and bottles can be found for sale throughout North Jersey.
Professor’s Hard Cider, Robbinsville
Professor’s is a name that has gained a following in the central part of the state, available from Sunrise Farm in Robbinsville. A dedicated website for tasting the cider is scheduled to open in the summer of 2022. Bottled varieties include superdry, semi-sweet, farmer’s rosé and semi-sparkling to match seasonal selections.
Artisan Orchard Hard Cider (Tomasello Winery), Hammonton
In addition to “regular” hard cider, Tomasello also bottles a blueberry variety (Hammonton is often referred to as the “blueberry capital of the world”) and a cranberry variety, and also bottles growlers of a pineapple version in a canned Hammonton vineyard. However, Tomasello tasting rooms can be found throughout New Jersey: Chester, Cranford, Freehold, Jobstown, Lambertville, Mount Holly, Smithville, and Wyckoff.
Patrick Lavery is a reporter and host for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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