Ever since John Adams attributed his long and healthy life to a pre-breakfast tankard of hard apple cider, the fruity craft beverage has remained Virginians’ drink of choice. The Commonwealth’s booming cider industry has made their mark on cider history by producing a variety of wild flavored craft beverages that are dry, sweet and everything in between. From Nov. 10–19, cider lovers across the state will celebrate the 6th Annual Cider Week Virginia with tastings, workshops, dinner pairings and more from 11 Virginia cideries.
What is Cider Week?
Governor Bob McDonnell’s 2012 proclamation of Virginia Cider Week asserted Virginia as the first state to officially dedicate a full ten days to the fruity craft beverage. This year’s Cider Week features a plethora of events including cider tastings, cider-themed dinner and brunches, bottle release parties, exclusive pairings with cheese and desserts, tap takeovers and workshops for at-home cider making and apple growing.
These events will take place daily from as far south as Dugspur, to coastal towns such as Williamsburg and into the bustling cities of Richmond and Alexandria. Roanoke and Charlottesville will also host two weeklong events, the 6th Annual Roanoke Cider Cocktail Competition and Firefly’s Cider Takeover.
Why We Celebrate Cider
Virginia cider is not only celebrated for its wild popularity, but for its diverse usage of cider apples. Thomas Jefferson’s orchard harvested 18 types of apples, with Hewe’s Crabapple and Harrison being the most popular for cidermaking; both of which are still used in Virginia cideries today. During Cider Week, you can sample the fermentation of these cider apples in highly-tannic and astringent dry ciders, dessert ciders and the crisp, clean classics.
Perfect For Pairings
Like wine, cider pairs well with nearly every type of food. Thai and tangy barbecue dishes are complemented well by sweet ciders while smoky grilled veggies, and sweet fish pair nicely with an off-dry cider. You can learn more about cider food pairings at this year’s events, including oyster pairings at Richmond’s The Hof Garden, a pork loin dinner at Obrigado Restaurant in Louisa and a cider brunch at downtown Harrisonburg’s Joshua Wilton House.
Indulge in these signature events celebrating Virginia Cider Week:
Virginia Cider Smackdown
Virginia and California ciders go head-to-head in an East Coast versus West Coast cider smack down. Tickets to this blind tasting event cost $15. The event will be hosted at Albemarle CiderWorks in North Garden on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Old Town Alexandria Cider Festival
Relax on the historic garden patio of Old Town Alexandria’s Lloyd House and enjoy food, live music and a great selection of ciders from over a dozen Virginia cidermakers. Admission costs $45 and includes 8 tastings, a souvenir glass, live music and fall-themed activities. The festival will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 2–6 p.m.