Forget apple-picking, this upstate day trip involves free booze and (thankfully) zero ladders.
Angry Orchard, the most popular hard cider brand in America, has set up in Walden, about an hour and a half upstate in Montgomery County.
With a new cider museum and hard cider brewery, Angry Orchard plans to educate visitors on cider’s history, how cider is made and the diverse ciders that can be enjoyed.
While cider currently only occupies 1% of the U.S. beer market, it’s 15% of the U.K. market, meaning that there’s plenty of room for cider consumption and production to grow in New York and beyond.
Over the past few years, The Hudson Valley (known as the “Apple Belt” to some fruit lovers) has been establishing itself as a renowned cider region — New York is second to Washington in apple production. Angry Orchard, which is owned by Boston Beer Co. (Samuel Adams), hopes to help boost the region’s popularity. The company purchased the hundred-year-old orchard in Walden from a fourth-generation farmer, who will continue to work on the grounds as they transform the space into a cidery.
Angry Orchard’s new cider maker, Ryan Burk, returned to his home state of New York after helping to found Virtue Cider in Michigan. Burk says the response to Angry Orchard’s expansion to Walden has been mainly positive and that he doesn’t want to compete with local cider makers. He wants people to better understand cider and appreciate the area, and hopes that being in the Hudson Valley will help grow the local and national cider market.
Angry Orchard’s hard ciders are currently produced and bottled in Ohio and Pennsylvania, with apples imported from Italy, northern France and Washington state, but Burk plans to use the new 60-acre orchard as a space to launch new recipes with local apples and homemade yeasts.
Much of what is produced at the cidery will be small scale, meaning it can only be tasted on-site and perhaps taken home in a growler, but you’re not going to find Burk’s impressive Bourbon cider (9.7% ABV) in a six-pack.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 6 will officially welcome Angry Orchard to the neighborhood, and cider maker collaborations as well as a cider trail for visitors are in the works.
During the first three weekends in November, you can visit Angry Orchard (2241 Albany Post Rd.) for a free tour of the new facilities and a complimentary cider tasting. Driving is the easiest way to get there, but a quick trip on Metro-North to Beacon and a 20-minute cab ride will also get you your last taste of fall.