Bad Seed Cider: From apple trees in Hudson Valley to taps in Brooklyn

Bad Seed Cider couldn't be more New York if they tried. Their apples come from orchards in the Hudson River Valley.

Because of that, their taproom in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, has a unique farm license, meaning they can only serve New York products. So every hard cider, every beer, and every wine there is a little slice of New York.

The taproom, which opened in October 2017, is located at 585 Franklin Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street. Bram Kinchelowe, one of the owners, says they built it from scratch from a totally bare space. They now have 20 draft lines with 12 different drafts of Bad Seed Hard Cider along with 8 New York State craft beer drafts. And they are all delicious.

Bram says they're the first company to can a truly dry, truly sugar-free cider. There are zero grams of sugar in every 12-ounce can (it's also gluten free!). So, he says, it tastes more like an apple champagne or prosecco.

The cider comes from Wilklow Orchards in Highland, which Bad Seed co-owner Albert Wilklow's family has owned for six generations, dating back to 1855. Every generation has done something different, Albert says, so hard cider is the direction he'd like to take the farm.

Albert and Devin Britton grew up together and started making cider casually in high school. They sold it to a few farmers markets in Brooklyn. About seven years ago, they decided to make cider full time.

Albert says one night at 11 o'clock he called Devin and asked if he thought they could actually start a cidery. Within a week they had a business plan laid out.

As that business grew, Bram came on to handle sales and marketing. Devin makes the cider from Albert's family apples, mostly using Empire apples. Devin says they ferment the cider cold so it has a real apple-y nose to it. That way, when someone puts the can or glass up to their face, they smell apple. That smell, Devin says, tricks your taste buds into picking up the flavor of apple without the addition of sugar.

But the flavors go well beyond apple. They've done a "hopricot" cider with apricot and hops, a Whiskey Joe Cider, and a Pineapple Express with dry hopped pineapple cider.

Bad Seed makes about 40 ciders throughout the course of the year, so you never know what will be on draft when you get there.

The taproom in Brooklyn (585 Franklin Ave.; 718-975-0690) is open six days a week (closed Mondays) all year round.

The Highland taproom (43 Baileys Gap Rd.; 845-236-0956) is open Saturday and Sundays all year round. Production facility tours are available there as well.

And the farm bar in Highland (341 Pancake Hollow Rd.; 845-389-3087) is open Saturdays and Sundays in September and October for apple-picking season.

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