Cider Week kicks off with local tastings and pairings

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Keswick's Castle Hill. Photo: Nick Strocchia Keswick's Castle Hill. Photo: Nick Strocchia

Step aside, pumpkin beer and full-bodied red wines. This week, it’s all about the ultimate fall-inspired beverage: cider. Cider Week Virginia kicks off Friday, November 15, and runs through Sunday, November 14, with events like tastings, classes, and workshops every single day.

The festivities stretch across the Commonwealth, from Roanoke to Virginia Beach to Fairfax. If you’re staying local this week, here’s a sampling of some of the events you should check out:

Friday, November 15

  • Cider tasting at Feast!, beginning at noon and running through 4pm. Browse gourmet cheeses and other local food while sipping on samplings from Foggy Ridge and Castle Hill.
  • Wine Warehouse carries more than just grape varietals, and is offering cider tastings all week.
  • If you’re curious about what dishes to pair with the your fermented apples, head over to Whole Foods at 6pm for a harvest cider and food tasting.

Saturday, November 16

  • If you’re willing to make the hour-long drive, head over the mountain for a pairing dinner at the Massanutten Resort. The meal features a five-course menu paired with five ciders from Old Hill Cider, the first hard cidery in the Shenandoah Valley, and the chefs will give introductions with preparation details before each dish.
  • Michie Tavern is also holding a tasting on Saturday, beginning at noon.

Sunday, November 17

  • Try your hand at making craft cider! Richmond’s Blue Bee Cider is hosting a cider-making workshop beginning at 12:30pm, $45 per person. Space is limited, so register ahead of time here.
  • At Meriwether Vineyards, event company Hill & Holler, along with Pippin Hill chef Amalia Scatena will bring you an array of dim sum-style small plates along with ciders from Foggy Ridge, Albemarle Ciderworks, Castle Hill, Blue Bee, and Potter’s Craft. The event, which includes live music, begins at 6pm, and is $65 per person. Reserve your tickets by e-mailing hill.holler@gmail.com.
  • Ever tried cider with breakfast? Make the trek to Harrisonburg’s Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint for a breakfast tasting featuring Old Hill Cider’s Cidermaker’s Barrel, which includes six beers or ciders for one price and a custom coffee mug to take home.

Monday, November 18 

  • Beverage professionals from chefs and restaurant owners to sommeliers and beer buyers are invited to a a Virginia Cider Salon, hosted by Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore. Chat with eight cidermakers, taste artisan ciders from across the Commonwealth, and learn how to bring ciders into your business. RSVP to info@ciderweekva.com
  • Every day starting Monday, the Culpeper Cheese Company will be offering a gourmet menu with a flight of three ciders, so stop by for your apple a day.

Tuesday, November 19

  • Recently opened farm-to-table restaurant Pasture is serving up southern small plates served with Foggy Ridge Cider all evening.
  • Swing by Market Street Wineshop, voted best wine shop for the last 12 years, for a medley of ciders from five different Virginia cideries.

Wednesday, November 20

  • Richmond’s Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market is holding a workshop on cheese and cidermaking, featuring ciders from Albemarle Ciderworks, Blue Bee, Foggy Ridge, and Potter’s Craft Cider. The event begins at 6pm and is $15 per person.
  • Starting at 6pm, Beer Run is hosting a tasting, which includes innovative cider cocktails.
  • Join Kitchen Catering & Events for a cider dinner inspired by Scotland. The $45 ticket covers a Scottish menu, whiskey, wine, cider, and a musical theater production.
  • Tim Edmund’s of Potter’s Craft Cider and Chuck Shelton of Albemarle Ciderworks are sharing their expertise at a free home cidermaking workshop at Fifth SEason Gardening Charlottesville, starting at 6pm.

Thursday, November 21

  • Gail Hobbs of Caromont Farms is leading a demonstration at Albemarle Ciderworks on the practice of washing local cheese in local spirits.

Friday, November 22 

Cider smackdown! Albemarle Ciderworks is hosting a refereed blind cider tasting with cheese on the side to determine how East and West Coast ciders compare. Reserve your $15 tickets by e-mailing fruit@albemarleciderworks.com.

Saturday, November 23

  • To wrap up the second annual Cider Week, Castle Hill is holding an all-day celebration beginning at 11am, with music from Love Cannon, cider tastings, and local food.
  • Bold Rock Cider will be celebrating with live music from Bruno Gastro’s Trunk starting at 1pm.

Sunday, November 24

  • Last chance to try a medley of Virginia craft ciders for this year’s Cider Week! Greenwood Gourmet Grocery in Crozet will be offering one cider from each Virginia cidery starting at 1pm.
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