In mid-October, Ironbound Hard Cider opened the doors to a new tasting room situated on the New Ark Farms property in scenic Asbury in Hunterdon County.
Ironbound Hard Cider, named for the historic Newark neighborhood, is crafted by Jersey Cider Works, the company founded by Montclair resident Charles Rosen in 2014. Much like the cider industry itself, the cidery has been growing ever since. Ironbound’s ciders are all made with fresh-pressed apples apples from its own orchards at New Ark Farms, as well as from orchards in neighboring states. The cidery is also working to revive the Harrison apple, an apple variety that originated in Newark, and one of the apples that was used in New Jersey to make cider during the 18th and 19th centuries.
A couple weekends ago, I stopped by to check out the new tasting room. Located in a beautifully restored barn, it’s charming and airy, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Despite being a weekend, it wasn’t too crowded, and friends and groups hung out at wooden tables, where they played games like mancala with pints of cider in hand.
If you aren’t familiar with Ironbound’s cider offerings—and even if you are—it’s best to start with a cider flight, available for $10. Choose four selections from the draft menu, which includes Ironbound’s flagship hard cider and other limited edition ciders. When I visited, the draft menu listed flavored ciders such as Devil’s Harvest, infused with tart cherries and wild cranberries from the Pine Barrens; Black Tea + Lemon cider; Gooseberry Ginger, made with fresh ginger and local gooseberries; Woods Folly, a hopped cider made with Cascade and Northern Brewer hops; and Cape May Rosé, a refreshing rosé cider made with Cape May beach plums and black aronia berries. All ciders are carbonated and sessionable, falling between 4.6% ABV and 6.2% ABV.
When you find a cider you love, order a glass (between $6-$8), grab a table, and play a few games. If you need a snack, a small selection of meats and cheeses are available in a fridge by the entrance. There’s also jars of pretzels at the bar, including gluten-free ones for gluten-free cider fans. Non-alcoholic beverage options include still and sparkling fresh apple cider (the kind that kids love), sparkling water and nitro coffee.
Six-packs and growlers are also available for purchase at the tasting room.
Tasting Room at Ironbound Farm, 360 County Road 579, Asbury; 908-940-4115.
Open noon to 8 PM on Saturdays, and noon to 6 PM on Sundays.