Cooler fall temps often have folks craving a steaming cup of apple cider. And while that’s a great way to celebrate the change of seasons, Wisconsin also has quite a few more adult options to warm you up a little differently. The same folks that are growing the apples you love to snack on and enjoy in cider form use their orchards to create some of the most delicious hard apple ciders you can imagine. Naturally gluten free, these ciders are an underappreciated beer alternative and they’re made right here at home. No longer overly sweetened, cloying drinks, hard cider has followed the craft beer movement and you can find as many flavors and options as you can dream up. Not only that, but these spots are gorgeous in fall, giving you an excuse to visit, sample and stock up!
1. Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery - Stockholm
The folks have a stunning 80-acre farm growing apples more usually found in England to make their old-school style ciders. They have nine different styles of cider in their repertoire, though some are only made seasonally. Located at W12266 King Ln., Stockholm, WI 54769.
2. Mershon's Cider - Stoughton
Meshon's makes cider that's very apple forward. They add wildflower honey as a sweetener, making this a mead-cider hybrid known as cyser. That honey gives a higher alcohol content. They focus on four core flavors that are all delicious, but try the Snowed in Cinnamon in the colder months for a special treat. Located at 280 Business Park Circle #7, Stoughton, WI 53589.
3. Island Orchard Cider - Ellison Bay
The owners have family in France and realized their Washington Island home was the perfect place for apple trees and set out to create dry, French-style brut ciders. Located at 12055 WI-42, Ellison Bay, WI 54210.
4. Aeppeltrow Winery - Burlington
This is a delightful family operation you have to visit. You'll feel like you've been invited into their home like friends. These folks also make some truly fabulous fruit brandy. They love fermenting and distilling fruit and the flavors shine through. Located at 1072 288th Ave., Burlington, WI 53105.
5. Forgotten Fire Winery - Marinette
These folks love to play with flavors and already were making lovely fruit wines when they ventured into the cider business. They always have rotating flavors available and the vineyard and you can take home a growler-full. Located at N2393 Schacht Rd., Marinette, WI 54143.
6. Captain's Walk Winery - Green Bay
Another winery already making good use of fermented fruit, Captain's Walk, you'll love sitting in their garden and then taking home so delicious cider. Located at 345 S Adams St., Green Bay, WI 54301.
7. Restoration Cider - Madison
These folks say they "fell in love with cider in Northwest Spain, where making complex, dry, refreshing cider and pairing it with spectacular food is a centuries old tradition." They saw the opportunity for that kind of attention to detail and pairing with food to work in Wisconsin. The apples come from the Driftless area, a region close to their hearts, so much so that 5% of their profit goes into stream restoration projects. Their ciders are semi-dry and light and basically perfect.
Located at 6001 Femrite Dr., Madison, WI 53718.
8. The Cider Farm - Mineral Point
With organically grown apples of unique varieties. This is small batch, craft cider is complex like wine. You'll also enjoy their apple brandy. Located at 7258 Kelly Rd., Mineral Point, WI 53565.
9. Brix Cider - Barneveld
Brix is owned and operated by a couple who love cider and now own 1,000 apple trees. They do it all themselves (with a little help from friends and family) and the whole thing is an ongoing experiment for them. Some apple varieties will stay, some will go and they'll keep making great cider. Located at 3120 County Road K, Barneveld, WI 53507.
10. Bayfield Winery - Bayfield
Great fruit wine makers know how to ferment and get the best out of the fruit, so making cider is a natural extension. Located at 87380 Betzold Rd., Bayfield, WI 54814.
11. Cider House of Wisconsin - McFarland
These folks do it all right on site. They grow the apples, press them and ferment them in McFarland. They started their orchard 30 years ago. They've just started making and Old Fashioned cocktail inspired cider that will wow you. Located at 4259 Mahoney Rd., McFarland, WI 53558.