Six Hard Cider Taprooms to Visit Around Boston
Get an apple-based buzz on at a waterfront bar in East Boston, an orchard-set greenhouse in the 'burbs, and more.
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Boston’s outstanding craft beer scene needs no introduction—though if you’re looking for one, you’ll find it here. As far as hard cider taprooms go, though, the area is perhaps surprisingly lean on options for popping a can or pouring down a draft of such a quintessential New England drink. Please allow us, then, to direct you to half a dozen local makers filling glasses with farm-fresh fermented fruit. They’re the perfect place to stop on a fine fall day, of course, but keep this cheat sheet handy for any season.
Time flies when you’re sippin’ cider. Somehow, this month already marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of Artifact’s taproom in Cambridge, a sibling to the Western Mass-based maker’s original draft destination in Florence. So swing by and raise a toast of northeast-sourced apples in a glass—say, the signature standby Feels Like Home, which ages its cider in rum-soaked oak chips. The flannel-patterned cans are perfect for taking back to your own home this fall, too, but you’ll probably want to stick around the taprooms for its autumnal additions: There’s currently a roving “pick your own” cart stocked with cider donuts from Union Square donuts, as well as caramel apples, s’mores, and more; outdoor seating with blankets and cider cocktails; and even a “rare apple share” that will send you off with a tote full of hand-picked fruit from one of the cidery’s favorite Vermont farms.
438 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-714-4076; 34 N. Maple Street, Florence, 617-544-3494, artifactcider.com.
Downeast Cider House
You can pair your drink with stunning views of the East Boston waterfront when you grab a seat at Downeast’s pop-up bar on a harbor pier, where a repurposed shipping container pours out highly seasonal varieties like Pumpkin Blend and Cider Donut alongside its staples. If you can’t decide, though, start with a flight across the street at Downeast’s brick-and-mortar taproom, which is currently open only for samples and cider to-go.
256 Marginal St., East Boston, 857-301-8881, downeastcider.com.
Far From the Tree
A word to the wise: You might want a drink before you deal with the droves of people who descend on Salem every October. In which case—or if you’re hankering for a refreshment any other time of the year—consider starting your experience at Far From the Tree, a cider taproom sited just a bit outside the Witch City’s downtown. Pull up a stool at the indoor bar or snag a patio picnic table, then tip back one of the special monthly releases, such as October’s Cranberry Herbed Cider or November’s Spiced Blackcurrant Cider. (With advance notice, you can even order a keg for your home bar.) Hungry? Here are the best restaurants in Salem for grabbing a meal afterwards.
108 Jackson St., Salem, 978-224-2904, farfromthetreecider.com.
High Limb Cider
On Thursday, October 14, doors will finally open to GPub, a huge (and very multifaceted) hangout in Plymouth: It’s got an eclectic gastropub, an arcade equipped with video games and skee-ball and air hockey (oh my!), and a speakeasy-style cocktail bar, all under one roof. It also has a cidery, which debuted last year ahead of the rest of the project, and which is filled with all sorts of must-try varieties—the Dutch Apple Crisp cider, for one, which is part of the brand’s dessert-inspired Freshly Baked series. Use one to wash down a charcuterie board or small snack from the taproom’s tidy lil list of edibles.
101 A5 Carver Rd., Plymouth, 774-608-7428, highlimbcider.com.
You’re already looking for a place to go apple-picking (hurry up, the season is nearly over). Why not pick a spot where you can also settle in with some cider made from the very same varieties you’ve plucked? That’s what you’ll find when you kick back at a picnic table or in an Adirondack chair on the picturesque orchard grounds of Lookout, where the apple-picking experience is rounded out with solar energy-powered creations such as the peach-invoking Saturn cider, as well as munchies like the Kilbeggan Kreme, whisky-glazed cider donuts. Come back even after apple season, though: In the colder months, Lookout transforms its covered greenhouse into a super-spacious and airy setting to eat and drink.
89 Pleasant St., South Natick, 508-745-3697, lookoutfarm.com.
Okay, this one is a bit of a drive away—but if you’re willing to hoof it to the tiny town of Boxborough, just within the 495 belt of Boston, you’ll find a true treasure in Pony Shack. The small-batch, family-owned cider maker in a small, unassuming building on a country lane. It warmly welcomes drop-in tours and tastings, and trust us: Pony Shack specialties like the cinnamon-inflected Orchard Spice and Moscow Mule-inspired Russian Donkey are absolutely worth the ride.
22 Littlefield Rd., Boxborough, 978-393-1653, ponyshackcider.com.