Written and Photographed by Olivia Bauso

Fall in Western New York means a few things: apple picking, apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple pie, apple sauce, apple cake, apple bread, apple– you get the point. It’s really all about them apples.

Given the Upstate New Yorker’s love of the fall fruit, it shouldn’t surprise you that New York is the leading producer of hard cider, the alcoholic beverage made from– you guessed it, apples. Across the country, the United States has more than 800 cideries that produce at least one hard cider product for sale. New York clocked in at 72 registered producers at the end of 2018. 

For the love of apples and alcoholic beverages, we decided in true fall-in-Upstate-New-York fashion to day trip around Rochester and sip on a few local ciders.

To the East: Oak & Apple

About the cidery:

Located at 1600 Dublin Rd. in Penfield, NY, find husband and wife owned Oak & Apple. The self-proclaimed “farm to glass small-batch cidery” lives in a newly renovated barn overlooking a small orchard just around the corner from residential Penfield. Its cozy tasting room and outdoor seating are best experienced during golden-hour, where you can watch the sunset just beyond the glow of the city in the distance. 

Oak & Apple opened last September for just 6 weeks before completely selling out of product. This year, the cidery opened its doors in June and expanded its hours in July. Their tasting room will close for the year on October 31st, but retail bottles are still available through November.

What to try:

Go classic with the “Core,” their original-recipe hard cider. Core is made up of a blend of bitter sharp and dessert apples and is fermented using a semi-dry hybrid yeast. If you’re feeling a little more daring, go for the Tennessee Twig. Made from black twig and green apples and aged with French Oak, this cider is dry and bitter at first with a complex finish. Flights, half glasses, and full glasses available. While you’re at it, grab yourself a Bavarian pretzel or some salty bread from Amazing Grains in Fairport, NY.

In the City: Seed + Stone Cidery

About the cidery:

Seed + Stone is Rochester’s first urban cidery, located in the front of the Hungerford building near the Public Market District. Seed + Stone ciders are a “fresh alternative to many of the overly sugary concoctions masquerading as hard cider for years” which often contain concentrates, water, artificial flavors, food coloring, corn syrup, and forced carbon dioxide. Instead, the cidery uses traditional winemaking techniques to create their finished product.

Seed + Stone was founded in 2017 by a father-daughter team. While their bottles have been available since then, the team recently opened their tasting room and retail shop in September, offering beer, wine, guest ciders, cider cocktails, snacks (with vegan options!) and, of course, their own ciders by the glass.

What to try:

Heritage, the flagship cider, is a must-have. Traditionally dry, fermented slowly and aged over six months, this cider is made with a mix of American Heirloom, Bittersweet and Crab apples. Plus, it’s cold-pressed, bottled conditioned, unfiltered and unfined for a light effervescence. Stopping in on a Sunday? Grab a bloody mary or cider mimosa!


To the West: Blue Barn Cidery

About the cidery:

For all the westciders – their pun, not ours – out there, Blue Barn has quickly become a Fall staple. Located at 928 Manitou Rd in Hilton, NY, this tasting room features homegrown cider made from apples grown exclusively on Green Acre and West Wind fruit farms. Blue Barn also features other local ciders, local beers, and local wines made from New York State grown ingredients, a decent-sized food menu, and plenty of seating indoors and outdoors. Little ones are welcome here and can enjoy a fresh cider donut and some lawn games while the 21+ sip on their cider.

The tasting room at Blue Barn held its Grand Opening on October 7, 2017, with a local-first mission. They state, “We believe in buying local. We believe in supporting family farms. We believe in knowing where your food comes from. And we believe it’s time the beverage industry adopted these values too.” Blue Barn Cidery is a licensed Farm Winery and serves only products that are made with New York State grown ingredients. The property is also home to Pomona, a newly built wedding venue.

What to try:

Start with the Blue Barn’s classic, The Westcider. Semi-sweet and made from a blend of 6 apples, their flagship cider is fruit-forward! Then move onto the Blue Barn Cidery Blueberry. This cider has a perfect semi-sweet balance and is made with 1000s of pounds of NYS blueberries! Don’t forget to order some nachos and a garlic parm pretzel while you’re at it.

Share your fave Rochester ciders with us using #RiseROC on Instagram. Happy sipping!