Cider Decider: NY Cider Week Picks

New York Cider Week is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, and we couldn’t be more excited! (Ex-cider-ed? Probably not.) New York Cider Week highlights skilled cideries across the entire state of New York, with plenty of tastings, tours, panels, and recipes to accomplish its goal. Unsurprisingly, this year Cider Week will be going virtual, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less joyous. In our beer case you’ll always find local breweries we believe to be the best in the business, and it’s no different when it comes to cideries. We asked beer buyer Brian Cullen for his cider picks to help you join the party! 

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NY Cider Co represents not just one, but two of Brian’s choices representing New York cideries! This Ithaca cidery believes in wild fermentation—that is, with no added yeast, letting nature take the wheel in deciding the final flavor of their ciders—using apples from trees that are as old as 125 years. Brian chooses their Hedgerow #2 and Smokehouse #2 ciders, which he describes as “both amazing, very champagne-like ciders. Hedgerow is a bit funkier, while Smokehouse is a great pick for something a bit sweeter and drier.” 

Just a hop and a skip away in Hamden, NY, Lindner’s Cider blends wild foraged apples, from trees that have been standing since before Prohibition, with cultivated dessert and culinary apples for a highly drinkable result. Brian likes their Mallory Cider, of which he says, “I find this one to be a little juicier, and a little sweeter than the NY Cider Co, but no less delicious.” 

While the state of New York is well known for its cider, Brian can’t help but add one import to the list; it’s just that good. Made in the Basque Country by the Astiazaran family cidery, Barrika Cider is a tart, funky, unfiltered cider with undeniable character. The Basque country is the heart of cider (or as it’s known there, sagardoa) tradition in Spain. There, cider is a way of life, with countless cideries that have been standing for centuries, which makes Barrika cider very special indeed!

Abandoned Cider brings the list back home, with apples sourced from abandoned orchards across the Catskills, from which the cidery gets its name. Established as a collaboration between a fermentation expert and a modern day Johnny Appleseed working on the perfect cider apple, Abandoned Cider also trades their cider for backyard apples that might otherwise rot on the ground, which Brian thinks is pretty cool, and we have to agree! He especially likes their Hopped Cider. “This one is very well balanced for a hopped cider, has a slight bitterness, but it doesn't overwhelm the cider,” he says.