Let’s Celebrate Virginia Cider Week
Virginia grows a lot of apples. Not only are we one of the top apple-producing states in the country, but the Shenandoah Valley grows the majority of the trees! While lots of those apples are eaten, many more are turned into applesauce, juice, and, of course, cider. Virginia has celebrated this fall favorite with Cider Week each November since 2012. This year, it’s November 10-19, 2023. Order a Virginia cider with your next meal out, or visit a nearby cidery for a tasting.
- People have been drinking cider for hundreds of years. The Pilgrims drank it because water wasn’t always clean enough to keep them from getting sick.
- Cider is sustainable. Apple trees last for decades and require much less water, fertilizer, and maintenance than other crops.
- Cider is gluten-free and loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants.
- Hard cider contains 4.5 to 10 percent alcohol by volume.
- The length of time a cider ferments usually determines its sweetness. Ciders tend to get drier as they age. They also gain more alcohol by volume. Ciders can be sparkling or still and complex or simple.
Ciders from Mars
Located in downtown Staunton’s Wharf District, Ciders from Mars uses local apple varieties like Winesap and Gold Rush from area orchards to create delicious hard cider. Some varieties are flavored by co-fermenting with other Virginia fruits. Ciders from Mars ciders tend to have low sugar content and range from dry to semi-sweet. Enjoy cider in 9 oz. drafts, bottles, or flights of four flavors, which are presented in beaker-shaped glassware. Warm up after a chilly day with a hot, mulled cider or a seasonal cider cocktail.
The slick, modern taproom features a glass wall through which you can see the onsite production and lab space. On nice days, take a seat on the patio overlooking the Wharf. Ciders from Mars embraces the local art scene with a taproom gallery and a schedule of live music. The team will be releasing a new cider blend called “Maven” just in time for Cider Week. Stop in to try this super floral cider where the apples were grown in Southern VA and was partially fermented on native yeasts. Don’t miss the special cider and chocolate pairing event with Laurie’s Chocolates on November 15.
More Staunton Cider Sources
Ciders from Mars isn’t the only place to get cider in Staunton. Several other establishments feature permanent or rotating lineups that include the fermented drink.
- See what’s available at Second Draft Bistro, The Green Room, BLU Point Seafood, Zynodoa, Baja Bean, and Byers Street Bistro.
- Queen City Brewing always has a cider or two on its extensive tap list.
- Stop in at the Staunton Farmers’ Market in its final weeks for an order of apple cider donuts.
- And if you’re enjoying a day tasting beer at Stable Craft Brewing, check out the cider menu, too.
Sample even more of our local flavor by visiting other area cideries. Not only will you taste a delicious reflection of Virginia, but you’ll also get to meet the cider makers. Ask them to teach you about the trends and styles, the types of apples used, how cider is made, and what makes a Virginia cider so special. Here are a few other cideries within an easy drive from Staunton.
- Sage Bird Ciderworks, Harrisonburg
- Blue Toad Hard Cider Pub & Tasting Room, Afton
- Halcyon Days Cider, Natural Bridge
- Old Hill Cider, Timberville
- Bold Rock Cider, Crozet
- The Winery at Kindred Pointe, Mt Jackson
- Big Fish Cider Co., Monterey
- Showalter’s Orchard & Greenhouse / Old Hill Hard Cider
Virginia Cider Trail
There are even more excellent cideries and tasting rooms spread across the state! Check out the Virginia Cider Trail for maps, information, and a mobile app to help you explore them all!
- November 11: Lake Anna Cider Festival
- November 12: Smart Cookies Trivia at Ciders From Mars – Cider Themed
- November 14: 4 Course Cider Dinner at Sage Bird Ciderworks
- November 15: Cider and Chocolate Pairing at Ciders from Mars
- November 16: Vinyl from Mars
- November 18: Ciderpalooza Seafood & Cider Fest at Stable Craft Brewing
- November 18: Alexandria Cider Festival featuring a cider from Cider From Mars
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