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Distillery Lane CiderWorks
by
Kathy Sullivan

Distillery Lane CiderworksSummary: Distillery Lane Ciderworks provides visitors the opportunity to taste hard ciders and fresh cider beginning Labor Day each year. The boutique cidery is family owned and operated. The cidery opened in the fall of 2010 and the cider sold out the first day. The apple orchards and cidery are on a historic Civil War property.

Distillery Lane Ciderworks was the first licensed cidery in Maryland. Since the cidery produces both hard cider and fresh cider they are required to have a food processing license as well as a winery license. Distillery Lane Ciderworks is a real working farm with the equipment, orchards and hard work in evidence.

Visitors to the retail/tasting room will note a vibrant apple aroma upon entering the facility. The tasting room is constructed of a shag tree which had fallen on the property during a storm. This boutique cidery is located on the former site of a dairy farm with a three floor brick home built in the 1840’s.

A large viewing window provides views of the cider making process. Visitors can see a sorting table, a conveyer belt, grinding machine and two traditional washing machines.

Curious as to why the interest in owning a farm property, Rob Miller noted that his grandfather had a small orchard. However, the property was purchased for the 19th century home.

Distillery Lane CiderworksThe owners while not interested in using the property as a dairy or crop farm wanted to make use of the land. Eventually they focused on planting apple trees with an idea to make hard cider. In 2001 they planted 1,200 trees and in 2002 another 1,200 trees were planted. Many family members from Pennsylvania arrived to help plant the trees. Ten years later a large celebration was held for everyone who participated in planting apple trees. The orchard currently has eight acres of apples. Numerous apple varieties are available including traditional cider apples and eating apples. Tremlett’s Bitter (pictured) is a bright red cider apple that originated in England.

Distillery Lane CiderworksAfter sorting apples on the table, the apples proceed to a conveyer belt and then a grinding machine. After grinding, the applesauce-like mixture is pressed in sheets of canvas to separate the juice from the pulp. The juice is then pumped into tanks. About 13 to 14 bushels of apples are pressed at one time. If timing is essential then hard cider can be produced in two months.

Distillery Lane CiderworksHard Ciders

American Still was a light yellow produced with a blend of apples. The cider had an alcohol level of 5-7 percent. The cider was dry, tart and with apple notes. This is an easy drinking low alcohol wine. Dry Sparkling cider was a light yellow with 5-7 percent alcohol. This sparkling cider was very aromatic of apples, crisp and refreshing. Celebration Cider, a sparkling cider, was yellow with 6.9 percent alcohol. The cider was slightly sweet, crisp with apple aromas. Classic Still was oak aged and semisweet. It was a golden yellow. The cider's aroma and taste were apple with a hint of caramel. It had a slightly sweet taste that dried on the finish. Kingston Black Premium was a sparkling single variety apple cider. There was a nice apple flavor and taste. The cider offered a long apple aftertaste.

All ciders are produced from the onsite orchards. Eventually Distillery Lane Ciderworks will produce 2,000 cases of hard cider.

Visitors to Distillery Lane Ciderworks can learn about the history of the property. The property is known for a Union encampment and views of Crampton’s Gap where the Battle of Crampton’s Gap took place. Be sure to ask someone to point out the Appalachian Trail in view from the apple orchards. Enjoy visiting a working farm cidery and tasting fresh and hard ciders.

Distillery Lane Ciderworks
5533 Gapland Road
Jefferson , MD 21755

GPS: N39º 23.217’ W77º 37.251’

 

 

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