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Franklin County CiderDays: 2018 Cider Salon Recap

Franklin County CiderDays: 2018 Cider Salon Recap

The annual Franklin County CiderDays’ Cider Salon is a highlight of the cider event calendar. We attended last year’s Cider Salon and share our experience, as well as some basic information about the event, below.

Fancy tasting glass that we received

Fancy tasting glass that we received

What is the Cider Salon?

The Cider Salon is the longest-running hard cider tasting event in the United States. Representatives from dozens of cider companies throughout North America and Europe attend the event and provide samples of their ciders.

It is part of the annual Franklin County CiderDays, a multi-day cider festival featuring various workshops, talks, and tastings throughout Franklin County, Massachusetts.

When and where is the Cider Salon?

The Cider Salon is held annually during the first weekend in November in Franklin County, Massachusetts. Last year’s event was on Saturday, November 3 in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.

Inside of the Cider Salon tent

Inside of the Cider Salon tent

How long is the Cider Salon?

Last year’s Cider Salon was 90 minutes, with attendees having the option to attend a 3:30-5:00pm or 5:45-7:15pm session.

Is the event held inside?

The 2018 Cider Salon was held outside in a large, fully enclosed tent.

How much does it cost to attend?

Tickets in 2018 cost $35 per person, which included a souvenir tasting glass.

Graft Cider’s table

Graft Cider’s table

Is food provided?

While full entrees or hot appetizers are not provided, there are tables throughout the event with free crackers, bread, cheese, and water.

Are there bathrooms available for use?

There were a few porta-potties set up at the event.

What cideries attend the event?

According to the pamphlet we received upon entering the event, the following cideries attended the 2018 salon. Please note that the list of cideries can vary from year to year.

  • Aaron Burr Cidery (Wurstboro, NY)

  • Aeppel Treow Winery (Burlington, WI)

  • Albemarle CiderWorks (North Garden, VA)

  • Angry Orchard Cider (Walden, NY)

  • ANXO Cidery (Washington DC)

  • Artifact Cider Project (Everett, MA)

  • Bantam Cider (Somerville, MA)

  • Bear Meadow Farm and Cidery (Ashfield, MA)

  • Bear Swamp Orchard and Cidery (Ashfield, MA)

  • Big Fish Cider (Monterery, VA)

  • Carr’s Ciderhouse (Hadley, MA)

  • Ciders of Spain (Portland, OR; imported Spanish ciders)

  • Cornish Cider Company (Cornish, ME)

  • East Hollow Cider (Petersburgh, NY)

  • Eden Ciders (Newport, VT)

  • Embark Craft Ciderworks (Williamson, NY)

  • Eve’s Cider (Van Etten, NY) – not listed in pamphlet but at event

  • Fable Farm Fermentory (Barnard, VT)

  • Far from the Tree (Salem, MA)

  • Farnum Hill Ciders (Lebanon, NH)

  • Finnriver Farm and Cidery (Chimacum, WA)

  • Flag Hill Farm (Vershire, VT)

  • Graft Cider (Newburgh, NY)

  • Headwater Cider Company (Hawley, MA)

  • Kings Highway Cider (Millerton, NY)

  • Metal House Cider (Esopus, NY)

  • New England Cider Company (Wallingford, CT)

  • Nine Pin Cider (Albany, NY)

  • Ploughman Cider (Aspers, PA)

  • Pony Shack Cider (Boxborough, MA)

  • Prospect Ciderworks (Boston, MA)

  • Rocky Ground Cider (Newburgh, ME)

  • Shelton Brothers Importers (Belchertown, MA; included imported ciders from Spain, UK, and New Zealand)

  • Spoke and Spy Ciderworks (Middletown, CT)

  • Stem Ciders (Denver, CO)

  • Stormalong Ciders (Sherborn, MA)

  • Stowe Cider (Stowe, VT)

  • Tandem Ciders (Suttons Bay, MI)

  • Tilted Shed Ciderworks (Sebastopol, CA)

  • Trabanco (Spain)

  • Uncle John’s Cider (St. John’s, MI)

  • Urban Farm Fermentory (Portland, ME)

  • Vander Mill Cider (Grand Rapids, MI)

  • West County Cider (Colrain, MA)

  • Westwind Orchard (Accord, NY)

  • Whitewood Cider (Turnwater, WA)

  • Wrangletown Cider Company (Arcata, CA)

Our Experience

Now that we’ve covered the nitty gritty, let’s delve into our experience at the event.

Far from the Tree’s table

Far from the Tree’s table

We attended the 3:30-5:00pm session, as that was the one picked by our DDs (Mom and Dad-erprise). We arrived around 3:15pm, and there was already a line of people waiting to be let into the tent. The line started to move promptly at 3:30pm, and we were in the tent with tasting glasses in hand within a couple of minutes.

Entering the tent was a tad overwhelming, as there was table after table covered with craft ciders to sample. As our livers, however, can only handle so much liquor in a 90-minute timeframe, we had to be selective with the tables that we visited. We ultimately decided to sample ciders from Prospect (even though they are quite close to where we live, we embarrassingly had not tried them prior to the event), Nine Pin, Graft, Far from the Tree, Bantam, ANXO, Farnum Hill, Eden, Urban Farm Fermentory, Stormalong, Eve’s Cidery, Ciders of Spain (table that had various imported Spanish ciders), Uncle John’s, Stowe Cider, Tandem Ciders, and West County Cider.

Bantam Cider’s table

Bantam Cider’s table

All of the ciders that we tried were delicious, but some of our favorites were the Cider Maker Series - Erik from Far from the Tree, Cider Monster from Nine Pin, and Redfield from West County Cider. We also enjoyed Eden’s ice ciders, and the Seaweed Cidah from Urban Farm Fermentory was quite unique.

In between sampling ciders, we snacked on the free cheese and crackers, as well as walked around the tent so that we could at least look at the ciders that we wouldn’t be able to try. As tickets for each session were limited, the tent was not overcrowded, and it was relatively easy to move from table to table. Several of the tables, however, did have a line, but most had either no line or one person waiting to be served.

All in all, it was a great event. We enjoyed being able to try ciders from other states and countries that we might otherwise have never tried. We also loved having the opportunity to talk with numerous cider makers; it’s always fascinating to hear the stories behind their ciders. We’re already eagerly awaiting the next Cider Salon and can’t wait to try some of the ciders that we were unable to try this time around!

For more information on the event, please visit Franklin County CiderDays’ website.

Shacksbury: Apple Hill Cider

Shacksbury: Apple Hill Cider

Stowe Cider: Tuned Up

Stowe Cider: Tuned Up