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Our Hard Apple Cider Making Process

At Pennings Farm Cidery, we strive to let the apple speak for the cider. We grow 25+ varieties of apples on the farm, and have been spending the last five years learning about what each one has to offer for the profile of a cider. As we learn, we are beginning to discover which varieties can stand-alone (single varietals), and which have something special to give to a blend. Here is a peek at our cider-making process from start to finish.

1. Growing the Apples for the Hard Cider

We believe by growing our own apples we are able to craft a superior product. We grow a mix of traditional U-Pick apple varieties as well as some that are strictly for cider making. Our focus is on managing a section of our orchard in a way that supports the apples to be better suited for cider making.

2. Pressing the Apples

Unlike the other steps in our hard cider making process, in addition to pressing on site we also bring our picked apples to press at two neighboring orchards. At Ochs Orchard in Warwick, NY we use a rack and cloth press, which produces very rich juice. Nestled in the heart of Hudson Valley’s apple country at Minard Farms, in Clintondale NY, we also have access to high quality hudson valley fruit which we can blend with our own. When we press in house, we craft our specialty blends, which allows us to get crafty.

3. The Fermentation Process

In 2019, we enhanced our hard cider production equipment with a fleet of New York State fabricated stainless steel fermentation tanks. These allowed us to increase the stability of the fermentation process, as well as increase our annual volume of cider.

4. Filtration and Carbonation of the Cider

We selectively filter and carbonate based on the type of hard cider we are producing. When we are looking for a more refined, light, crisp, brite and bubbly product, we will filter. If we want to preserve some of the natural characteristics of the cider, we leave it unfiltered. Occasionally, for special hard apple ciders, such as our Wild Series, we will leave the cider uncarbonated for a slightly more sophisticated product.

5. Kegging and Bottling

In 2020, we expanded our to-go capabilities from just kegging & growler fills by beginning to can and bottle our hard apple cider for distribution and single-serve units. Our first line of bottled/canned products includes fan favorites Cold Crash, Bone Dry, The Wild Series, and Iron Mountain.

Special Hard Apple Cider Projects

Wild Series: Wild apples provide characteristics that cannot be found in culinary apples from cultivated trees. Our Wild Series Ciders come from wild seedling trees growing freely throughout the Hudson Valley. These specialty blends and single varietals will all be still ciders, which allows the tastebuds of the hard apple cider drinker to experience the full flavor profile of the cider. Learn more about the Wild Series, click here.

Single Varietals: Our Single-Varietal (SV) ciders are hard ciders produced from just one variety of apples and are available only on the farm. These ciders are a part of our ongoing research into learning exactly how each variety of apple affects the cider profile they create. The ultimate goal is that we will be able to perfect and develop signature blends with a bonus of finding some really tasty single varietals that we will keep around. The project includes ciders made from Braeburn, Rhode Island Greening, Golden Russet, Baldwin, Gold Rush, Pinata, Northern Spy and crab apples which make up our Wild Series. Learn more about our hard apple cider favorites, click here.

As you can see, we are constantly tweaking and refining our hard apple cider making process to create new, unique flavors. Come visit us to learn more about our production process, enjoy a cider tasting, click for information.