Pennings Farm Cidery produces cider crafted from your favorite apples, including Fujis, Galas, and red and golden delicious. They also create popular varieties by adding in-house fresh-pressed fruit juices for their Peach Fuzz, pumpkin cider and new watermelon cider – “summer in a glass,” they call it – introduced just this year.
For a more intricate flavor profile, connoisseurs should indulge in their ciders made from obscure apples. Yarlington Mills, Porter’s Perfection, and Cox’s Orange Pippin are excellent options. Some of these varieties may be too bitter to eat raw, but when used in cider-making, the tannins they contain add a unique character and dimension to the drink.
“They’re like cabernet sauvignon versus table wine,” says SJ Pennings, who runs the Warwick, N.Y., cidery with his sister Tori Cosimano and mom Jill Pennings
The Pennings name conjures images of days picking your own apples on the family’s 120 acres of orchards originally started by SJ and Tori’s father, Steve Pennings and his brother Jack Pennings Sr., and maybe stopping at the Pennings Farm Market, which Steve and Jill Pennings opened in 1983. When the craft beverage scene blossomed in the area, “it just made sense for us to start making cider,” SJ Pennings said.
The staff serves their varieties in a building built in 2014. Visitors sip the ciders and munch on brick-oven pizzas at the raw-edge bar or tables in the 12-tap taproom. From there, they can view the cider production area, with stainless steel vats as large as 2,000 gallons, which each can hold the juice of more than 10 tons of apples.
In pleasant weather, patrons can enjoy the beverages outdoors, where a second bar features another 15 taps, and seating offers splendid Warwick Valley vistas, including views of Mount Adam and Mount Eve to the west and even Sugar Loaf Mountain to the east. They also serve local craft beers, wines and spirits, as well as cider-based cocktails. A favorite is the cider sangria, which also includes Pennings’ apple-based vodka, distilled by Orange County Distillery.
Most of their ciders are made with fruits grown on their farm, including the peaches and pumpkins. The honey in Honey Hopped cider comes from the local company Sweet Things Wild Thyme, harvested at the farm. The beets in the earthy ginger-beet cider grow in the famously fertile Black Dirt farmland nearby.
SJ Pennings’ passion for apples and ciders is evident through his latest creation, the Upstate Series. This special cider on tap is crafted using apples he discovers during his travels in the North. Every batch boasts a unique flavor profile that depends on which apple varieties are available. Pennings loves to serve this cider alongside the ones made from Pennings’ apples as part of his endeavor to promote apples throughout New York State and the cider scene.
“It’s amazing to witness the explosive growth of craft beverages,” he remarked. “Being a part of this movement is truly exciting.”