Great Country Farms is expanding its line of fermented craft beverages with the opening of Henway Hard Cider—completing a trifecta that includes Bluemont Vineyard and Dirt Farm Brewing.
The new Henway tasting room is located on the Great Country Farms side of Foggy Bottom Road in Bluemont. Although the cidery production is currently taking place at Bluemont Vineyard because it falls under the winery’s license, creating the remote tasting room on the farm made more sense for the brand experience, according to Hailey Zurschmeide, general manager of Bluemont Vineyard.
“When we looked at where the (Henway) product line would fit, we really wanted to try to tie it to the agricultural piece of being able to pick apples, and then going to the tasting room and tasting fresh cider and the hard ciders we’re creating,” she said.
The refurbishing of the 1,000-square-foot barn near the fishing pond is almost finished. Once completed, visitors can enjoy their drinks in the tasting room, which seats about 100, or on the outdoor patio next to the pond.
Henway will hold a few soft launches in September, and an official celebration will take place Sept. 14 during a special Adult Corn Maze Night from 7-10 p.m. It’s an adults-only event that will bring together Bluemont Vineyard wines, Dirt Farm Brewing beers and Henway hard ciders under one roof for the first time.
“We’re looking to launch with three main (hard) ciders. We’re going to do a brut – kind of champagne-like – hard cider; a strawberry hard cider that showcases fruit that we’re producing here on the farm; and we’re going to have a semisweet cider as well,” Zurschmeide said. Besides the hard ciders, the menu will include Bluemont Vineyard fruit wines.
“Our opening flight is going to include our apple wine so that people can taste the difference between the wine and a cider product,” she said. “I think we’ll have some fun building flights and incorporating the products from Bluemont.” More labels will be added to lineup to showcase more of the 40 different apple varieties they grow on the farm.
With the addition of the cidery, winemaker Scott Spelbring has expanded his duties into the new venture, which is currently producing around 2,500 gallons of cider.
“He’s been such a good sport with our family and all our fun projects we like to take on – he’s been amazing,” Zurschmeide said. “We’ve been doing a lot of test batches of cider profiles and I think he’s really enjoying that aspect of it because it does give you a creative outlet. It’s very comparable to brewing, where you can look at a two-week process to create a beer, and you’re infusing flavors. I think the craft beer industry has just an amazing job of exploring everything from pineapple to jalapeno, and we’re seeing a lot of that with cider.”
For more information and to purchase tickets for the Adult Corn Maze Night, go to eventbrite.com/e/adult-corn-maze-night-tickets-69477183125