CT Cider Mills: Top 5 Most Unique | Stanton House Inn
coffee and cider at one of the best CT cider mills

CT Cider Mills: Top Spots to Imbibe

People enjoying a glass of hard apple ciderAs the leaves change and the crisp autumn air fills your lungs, few things satisfy like savoring the rich flavors and history of Connecticut’s cider mills. After a few decades of falling out of favor, the cider industry has taken-off of late. And where better to enjoy it than in New England?

 

CT cider mills offer the perfect balance of innovation and nostalgia.

 

So, what better time than fall in Connecticut to plan day trips throughout the state to see the various cider mills?

 

No need to pack a picnic, as you can gorge on cider donuts at every stop!

 

Added benefit, you’ll get to learn the intricate art of cider-making. It’s come a long way from the days of Johnny Appleseed planting trees throughout the Northeast. Who was born in nearby Leominster, Massachusetts, by the way.

 

Fall is why New Englanders tolerate the cold! And of the most classically autumnal activities, like:

 

 

 

 

Visiting CT cider mills just makes sense on the list. So follow along on our guide through some of the best cider mills in Connecticut. We’ll introduce you to the fascinating world of hand-crafted hard ciders. And we’ll even teach you how to pair these delightful beverages with your favorite foods.

 

Because the best way to learn is by teaching (hence the original source for this article)!

 

So, without further ado, let’s let’s dive into the world of Connecticut’s cider mills:

 

Quick hits:

 

  • Explore Connecticut’s oldest cider mills for delicious homemade apple cider and scrumptious donuts.

 

  • Visit the Connecticut Cider Mill Trail to experience beautiful scenery, pick apples, and taste ciders & wines.

 

  • Pair hard ciders with food to enhance flavors & create a unique dining experience!

CT Cider Mills Map CT Cider Mills: Top Spots to Imbibe
Map design by Stanton House Inn with elements from Flaticon

Discovering Connecticut’s Cider Mills

A glass of apple cider on a bar

 

Connecticut’s cider mills are steeped in history and culture. The state hosts some of the oldest operating cider mills in the US. These mills have been producing delicious homemade apple cider and scrumptious cider donuts for generations.

 

Go hiking along any of Connecticut’s hiking trails, and you’ll likely stumble upon a feral apple tree. Apples are not native to New England, but European colonists planted them with abandon centuries ago. And usually, the apples are gross to eat.

 

Historic image of an apple cider millThe reason they still exist? Connecticutians milled them into apple cider. Alcoholic cider was cheap to make, and safer to drink than the water.

 

Hand-crafted hard ciders have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. They offer unique and complex flavor profiles that range from dry to sweet. And some even feature fruit and botanical notes.

 

Farmhouse style hard cider is one of the popular types of hand-crafted ciders. It showcases traditional methods and ingredients that create a distinct taste that appeals to cider aficionados and casual drinkers.

Clyde’s Cider Mill: A Historic Gem

Clyde's Cider Mill

 

Close to Old Mystic, Connecticut, Clyde’s Cider Mill is a true historic gem. As the oldest steam-powered cider mill in the United States. This mill is a national historic landmark.

 

From sweet cider to hard ciders and apple wine, there’s plenty to try and take home here.

Sweet Cider and Cider Donuts

Sweet cider is a non-alcoholic beverage from apples. And it is a fall favorite at Clyde’s Cider Mill. The process of making sweet cider is quite simple:

  • Press fresh apples
  • Filter the juice

 

The end result is a delightful and refreshing drink.

 

But the deliciousness doesn’t stop with just the cider. Clyde’s is also famous for their mouth-watering cider donuts. These enticing treats are made by combining sweet cider with flour, sugar, eggs, and other ingredients. They then deep-fry the combination and coat it with cinnamon sugar.

 

Clyde’s Cider Mill doesn’t shy away from offering more than just traditional sweet cider and cider donuts. For something a bit more adventurous, they also produce a variety of hard ciders. It will be a unique taste experience enjoyed under their property’s beautiful fall foliage.

Farmhouse Style Hard Ciders

Farmhouse style hard ciders are made with traditional methods and ingredients like wild yeast. The final result is often aged in oak barrels. These ciders tend to be dry and tart. They boast a complex flavor profile that sets them apart from other hard ciders. Farmhouse style hard ciders are also usually lower in sugar and calories than other types of hard ciders. It’s what makes them a great alternative to beer or wine.

 

Interested in trying farmhouse style hard ciders? You can find them at many local cider mills, in stores, and online. Just make sure to read the labels to ensure the cider is made with traditional methods and ingredients. Otherwise, aficionados may question its authenticity.

Beardsley’s Cider Mill: A Family Tradition

Cheers with glasses of apple wine made into sangria

Another must-visit destination on your Connecticut cider mill tour is Beardsley’s Cider Mill. With a history dating back to 1849, this family-run mill has had its share of twists and turns. Beardsley’s was a dairy farm until a school bus crashed into the barn in 1973, burning it to the ground. The tragic loss led to a thriving cider mill after a rocky start.

 

Today, Beardsley’s Cider Mill is one of the few remaining cider presses in Fairfield County. They’re famous for their amazing cider, apple wine, and spiced cider.

 

Apple Wine and Spiced Cider

Apple wine, an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting apples, is a popular product at Beardsley’s Cider Mill. To make apple wine, you’ll need to:

  • Chop or crush apples and let them ferment with yeast
  • You can use fresh-pressed cider or store-bought apple juice
  • Add a sugar and water mixture to the fermenters until the apples are covered

The result is a delightful and versatile drink that can be enjoyed on its own or used as a base for various cocktails.

 

Spiced cider is another delicious offering at Beardsley’s Cider Mill. This is a non-alcoholic drink of apple cider and spices. This warm and cozy beverage is perfect for sipping on a chilly autumn day. It features a comforting blend of cinnamon, allspice, and other spices.

Pumpkin Spice Treats

At Beardsley’s Cider Mill, you’ll find a scrumptious array of pumpkin spice treats. Their rotating offerings include:

  • Pumpkin pies
  • Muffins
  • Bread
  • Cookies
  • Scones
  • And lattes

These delectable goodies are a delicious way to get into the fall spirit and enjoy the season’s signature flavors.

 

Beyond their irresistible taste, pumpkin spice treats offer a range of health benefits. Packed with:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • And fiber

These treats can help keep your immune system strong and contribute to a balanced diet. So go ahead and indulge, knowing that you’re also giving your body a nutrient boost.

Hogan’s Cider Mill: Crafting Your Own Hard Cider

A glass of hard cider with an apple slice for garnish

 

Now that you know the basics, want to take your love for cider to the next level? Hogan’s Cider Mill offers a unique opportunity to craft your own hard cider. Established in 1912 and owned by Chet and Theresa Clifford Dunlop, this historic mill has been producing hard cider for over a century.

 

Cider slushies, spiked with hard cider and topped with an apple cider donut, are one of the more unique offerings at this Burlington institution.

 

Hogan’s Cider Mill partnered with the New England Cider Company to offer workshops and classes. So, if you’re up for something unique, you can learn how to make their own hard cider.

The New England Cider Company Connection: Hands-On Workshops

Founded in 2013 by Miguel Galarraga and Seth Hart, The New England Cider Company is dedicated to producing delicious:

  • Hard ciders
  • Apple wines
  • And spiced ciders

 

Cider making workshopNew England Cider Company provides the necessary ingredients and equipment for the hands-on workshops and classes. Then, learn from the experts and create your own unique cider concoctions.

 

This collaboration is a fantastic opportunity to deepen your knowledge and appreciation for the art of cider-making. It doesn’t matter if you’re:

  • A seasoned cider lover
  • Or a curious novice

 

These workshops will provide you with the skills and confidence to craft your own delicious hard ciders. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the process and techniques involved in creating your own unique blends.

 

Don’t forget to bring a cooler so you can take your freshly crafted cider home with you to enjoy and share with friends and family.

Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market & Winery

Along with a creamery, a winery, a bakery and kitchen, a market, and a pick-your-own orchard, Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford, CT, also makes its own hard and sweet ciders. The farm offers canned hard cider in flavors like farmhouse style hard cider and button hard cider.

New England Cider Company

Aside from its collaboration, New England Cider Co. also has a long-standing taproom in Wallingford, CT. Cider flavors include:

  • Pumpkin
  • Cranberry
  • Blueberry
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Beet

The most unique flavor bears the name “Purple Rain” after musician Prince.

 

On October 1 and 2, the cidery hosts its annual Pumpkin Fest. Food trucks, live music, contests, games, and giveaways, as well as live screen printing, and glass blowing are all part of the festivities.

A few more unique cider flavors

Spoke and Spy Cider, one of the most unique cider producers, offers a chai-inspired cider perfect for a crisp autumn day. Alternatively, visit Yankee Cider Company, which specializes in drier, lower-sugar New England-style cider.

Touring the CT Cider Mill Trail

A map of the Connecticut Cider Mill Trail

The CT Cider Mill Trail is a beautiful route that takes you through some of Connecticut’s best cider mills. Stops include:

  • Beardsley’s Cider Mill
  • Clyde’s steam powered Cider Mill
  • And Hogan’s hard cider mill

 

On each leg of this picturesque journey, you’ll discover unique offerings at each mill. You’ll also have the opportunity to partake in fun activities like apple picking and hayrides, adding to the fall experience.

 

Fall is the ideal time to explore the trail, with ripe apples ready for harvest and stunning foliage providing a beautiful backdrop for your journey. That said, anytime of year is great to checkout Connecticut cider mills.

 

And added benefit other times of the year: fewer crowds.

Pairing Hard Ciders with Food

Enjoying a glass of sweet cider with pineapple and tart flavorsPairing hard ciders with food is an excellent way to enhance the flavors and overall enjoyment of both the cider and the dish. The unique taste profiles of hard ciders can complement a wide range of foods, from:

  • Grilled meats
  • Salads
  • And even desserts

 

For example, a raspberry hard cider with its smooth, sweet, and crisp flavor pairs beautifully with a light salad or fruity dessert. A semi-sweet hard apple cider like Fresh Blend, made with real apple juice and no added sweeteners, complements grilled meats. You can even use it as a base for savory sauces.

 

More Tour Opportunities to Explore Connecticut

Road trip tour of Connecticut

New England is a glorious place, especially in the Fall.

 

But anytime of year is a great one to explore Connecticut.

 

If you’re looking for a theme to plan a weekend road trip or two around, we’ve got you covered. Be sure to read our:

 

And be sure to read our full guide to activities, attractions, and unique things to do in CT with our CT Travel Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

And now, a bunch of fun facts about apple cider that didn’t make sense in the rest of our guide:

What is cider known for?

Cider is known for its sweet, apple-based flavor and refreshing taste. It’s typically made from fermented apples and has been enjoyed for centuries around the world.

 

Cider provides an alternative to beer or wine with its distinct taste and delightful aroma.

Where is famous for cider?

France is famously known for its cider production. Normandy and Brittany in the northern region are the biggest producers. These regions have been making cider since the sixth century.

 

Cider is made from apples, pears, or a combination of both fruits, and is fermented to create a sweet, bubbly drink. It is often served chilled and is a popular accompaniment.

How old is Clyde’s cider mill?

Clyde’s Cider Mill is an impressive 120 years old, established in 1881 and still going strong.

What is the place where cider is made called?

Ah, the cidery! As it turns out, the place where cider is made is appropriately called a “cider” or a “winery.” So if you’re looking to make a tasty pint of cider, this should be your destination of choice!

 

Cideries are a great place to learn about the process of making cider, as well as to sample some of it.

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