Updated: Nov 7, 2019
We did not realize hard cider could be so exciting or inspiring until we discovered Ironbound Cider. Not only are the ciders absolutely delicious, but we learned that the industry is deeply rooted in New Jersey agriculture & history. The name, Ironbound, pays homage to the city of Newark and its ties to cider making during the colonial era. While the tasting room is located in Hunterdon County, about an hour from Newark, many aspects of this cider company’s business plan has been thoughtfully designed with Newark in mind. It is also a goal of Charles Rosen, founder of Ironbound Cider, to employ formerly incarcerated individuals while bringing back an industry that was once integral to the community.
The New Jersey cider industry dates back to the colonial era and was made with a recipe that used four different types of apple trees that were indigenous to New Jersey: Campfield, Poveshon, Granniwinkle and Harrison. With a little bit of luck and dedication, Rosen and his team were able to bring varieties of these original apple trees together again at Ironbound Farm. The farm does not use pesticides and instead practices various sustainable farming techniques to protect the orchards and improve the health of the soil. While the orchards are currently too young to supply all of the apples required to make the cider, the cider is never made with apple concentrate and no sugar is added. Ironbound Cider makes a variety of different ciders, each with their own distinct flavor profile. All of the ciders we tasted were clean, crisp and absolutely refreshing. The Gooseberry Ginger Cider, made with ginger grown right on the farm, was on our our favorites along with the Woods Folly Cider, which is described as having a "subtle farmhouse funk" and made with locally grown hops.
The cider tasting room is in an 18th century barn, which has been meticulously restored with large exposed beams and a stylish rustic vibe. One of our favorite parts of the tasting room is the gym floor taken from an old gym in a Newark High School, which creates a symbolic connection between the communities. The tasting room and farm have a remarkable welcoming vibe that feels like it was designed with the intention of bringing people together. Stacks of playing cards can be found on the various tables throughout the room, while the lawn is full of picnic tables, chairs and various yard games.
Check out our video from Ironbound Farm below. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with our food and travel adventures! #TwoDopesFromJersey