Feeling a little stir-crazy? Every winter brings with it a housebound lifestyle, especially in northern locales, and sometimes it feels like hibernation-mode won’t ever end. The urge for a change of scenery can be strong, even if the weather isn’t especially accommodating to spending time outdoors!
If every weekend brings an intense longing for cider adventures, you’re in luck: Craft cider goes hand-in-hand with outdoorsy lifestyles, and plenty of cideries have been hard at work creating safe outdoor spaces to keep guests comfy, even in the depths of winter. Before you head out, make sure you’ve thoroughly read through the cidery’s guidelines/rules, and don’t forget a blanket!
Here are eight rad outdoor cidery spaces to visit while we wait for warmer temps to come:
*Just a quick note to say that if you have accessibility issues that make outdoor hangs uncomfortable or impossible, there are still plenty of ways to support your favorite cideries! Consider buying cider online or joining your local cidery’s cider club!
Midwesterners famously aren’t afraid of a little cold standing in the way of outdoor fun! For example, at Thor’s Hard Cider‘s farm and tasting room in Minnesota, you’ll find a full-on ice skating rink ready for action! Open Friday through Sunday, the rink is open to any guests (just bring your own skates!) and features benches for taking skates on and off, and a bonfire to stay warm. When you’re done skating, grab a cider in the taproom; for an afternoon pick-me-up, try Thor’s Nordic Press, a coffee-infused cider! 6428 Manning Ave. N., Stillwater, MN; (651) 278-8666.
Smack in the middle of Pennsylvania’s beautiful apple country, find Big Hill Ciderworks Taphouse. The rustic farm environment is complete with incredible views, cozy fire pits and plenty of Big Hill’s cider on draft. There are limited tent spaces, and guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets for increased comfort. You can even bring your own telescope for stargazing after dark! An outdoor screen projects sports games and movies, and on specific weekends, local food trucks and live music enhance the festive atmosphere. Current hours are Saturday, noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. 338 Georgetown Rd., Gardners, PA.
Please note that Ironbound’s Cider Garden will be closed for dining until March 2023. Guests can still enjoy ciders outdoor by the firepits.
Ironbound Hard Cider‘s Outdoor Cider Garden provides multiple “zones” for socializing. There are a number of firepits, surrounded by custom-made Adirondack chairs or tree stumps, which can accommodate up to eight guests. The Woodshed is a covered pavilion that allows guests to watch Ironbound’s chefs work around the Mother Fire, 30-foot Argentinian-inspired open-fire grills!
Reservations are strongly suggested for the firepits, the Woodshed is only available to walk-ups on a first come, first serve basis. The tasting room menu includes plentiful cider, of course, as well as cocktails, wine, warm drinks and non-alcoholic drinks. The food is eclectic, with snacky appetizers, hearty mains and a coq a vin dish for two that is a real treat. The current days open are Friday through Sunday. While you’re there, don’t forget to shop at the Ironbound Farm Market! 360 County Road 579, Asbury, NJ; (908) 940-4115.
Upstate New Yorkers are no strangers to making the best of long, cold winters. The Nine Pin Cider Tasting Room rewards those who are willing to brave the cold with epic firepit hangs. You can rent out its campfire space for private events (email firstname.lastname@example.org to make it happen), or stop by on the last Friday of the month for public campfire nights, which run from 6 to 8 p.m. Enjoy Nine Pin’s great menu, which includes tasty ciders and locally sourced sourdough pizzas around an expertly built wood campfire! This fun option is available all winter long. 929 Broadway, Albany, NY; (518) 449-9999.
Sociable Cider Werks is embracing winter to its fullest with its excellently appointed outdoor patio. Yes, there is an actual outdoor ice skating rink on site at the cidery, so after you enjoy some hot cider, food truck grub and s’mores around the firepits, strap on some skates for an open skate session (on Fridays only), or join a curling league! Bring a blanket or folding chair and get ready for a rad cider experience, Midwest-style! Note: Outdoor patio and ice rink hours may close due to inclement weather. You can also rent a private curling lane for groups up to 8 people. The cost is $50 for 50 minutes, with the option to add on hot cider service. 1500 Fillmore St NE, Minneapolis, MN; (612) 758-0105.
You can hang with your pod in a literal pod in the intimate igloos at the Two K Farms tasting room! Each geodesic dome-shaped structure includes comfy seating and twinkly lights for magical feels during nighttime hours. Reservations are suggested for the igloos! There are also firepits available on a patio overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay, as well as the opportunity to snowshoe throughout the breathtaking property, including rows of grape vines and apple trees. 3872 SW Bay Shore Dr., Suttons Bay, MI; (231) 866-4265.
Botanist & Barrel has recently unveiled its new private heated igloos at its farm in Cedar Grove, North Carolina, just about 30 minutes outside of Durham. Guests may reserve an igloo for 90 minutes (and the $60 reservation fee is credited toward your final bill) for parties of up to 6 people. The comfy spaces are set up like an outdoor living room, with carpet, a heated table, plants and party lights. It sounds to us like a lovely place to sip through the cidery’s wild and experimental pet-nat ciders. Reservations are offered Thursday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. 105 Persimmon Hill Lane, Cedar Grove, NC.
At Doc Waters Cidery, adventurous visitors can choose from three outdoor spaces: private igloos, firepits and picnic tables. Bring up to six guests to gather around a decorated picnic table in the igloo, which is not heated but gets nice and warm in the sunlight, and has windows that open if it’s a nice day! At the fire pits, Doc Waters provides all of the wood and will tend to the fire for you. Pack and extra blanket and stay warm with a hard hot mulled cider. The cidery’s winter hours are only on Saturdays and Sundays; reservations are required. Bonus: all of the outdoor spaces are dog-friendly! 22529 Wildcat Rd., Germantown, MD; (301) 972-1814.
Where have you been enjoying cozy cidery visits this winter? Let us know in the comments!
- Feature Photo: Sociable Cider Werks
- Big Hill photo: Big Hill Ciderworks
- Nine Pin fire pit photo: Nine Pin Cider