For many Minnesotans, fall is synonymous with apples. Not just U-pick farms and fresh donuts or juice, either. Over the past decade, Minnesota has become a key player in the country's growing craft cider scene.
With around 20 producers spread across the state, there are plenty of cider-centric destinations to visit for day trips. Or better yet, a whole weekend away. Here are eight, along with where to stay and what to drink while you're there.
With its views overlooking Lake Superior, Duluth is one of the state's most scenic fall destinations. After exploring places like Chester Bowl, Gooseberry Falls and Jay Cooke State Park, visit both Wild State Cider and Duluth Cider in the Lincoln Park Craft District. They’re within walking distance of each other and near fun local shops, including Free Air Life Co.
What to Drink: Duluth Cider’s Las Lajas coffee cider is incredibly popular, or try our favorite: the seasonal Chai cider. At Wild State Cider, sample the Raspberry Hibiscus alongside a giant pretzel and soft serve ice cream. Both places have great patios to hang out on, too.
What to Drink: At Number 12, enjoy the Black Market or a hot cider with a woodfired pizza alongside a bonfire on the patio. Try the Mango Habanero at Minneapolis Cider Co., the classic Freewheeler at Sociable Cider Werks and the Blackcurrant at Urban Forage.
A quaint town in Southeastern Minnesota, Lanesboro offers a lot including the Root River State Trail, boutiques and restaurants on the main street and is near a unique state park: Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. Also nearby is Four Daughters Winery. Reminiscent of gorgeous wine estates in places like Melbourne and South Africa, it also produces the popular Loon Juice Cider. Check the latest calendar for fun events like movies in the vineyards.
What to Drink: The Grow a Pear cider is the perfect combination of local apples and pears. Try it as part of a sampler with a brick oven pizza on the patio overlooking the vineyards.
In the land of 10,000 lakes, Otter Tail county has the most lakes in the state. There are plenty of water-based activities like fishing or kayaking in addition to land-based activities like hiking at Glendalough State Park and Maplewood State Park and shopping local boutiques. A stop at 1910 Sip House will certainly be memorable as it’s located in a grain bin.
Cider Recommendation: Try the Pickledilly – it’s uniquely made with a homemade dill pickle infusion. Plus, check their calendar for food trucks and live music nights.
Hiding in plain sight along a Brainerd highway — not far from its fellow resort town Nisswa — is the laid-back taproom of Minnesota's latest apple whisperers. Josh and Cami Gazelka opened Woodlore Cider over Labor Day weekend in 2022, bringing the couple's shared love of small-batch cider to a sleepy stretch of Central Minnesota far better known for supper club spots and #lakelife. Josh actually got into cider-making during the pandemic, and Cami is a yoga instructor, so Woodlore splits the difference between their two interests with bi-weekly classes that include a free pint.
Cider Recommendation: While Pear Ginger is a perfectly balanced pick from Woodlore's core lineup, beer fans should also look out for a hopped seasonal that's both spicy and floral.
Sara Lynch is a Minneapolis based corporate professional and travel content creator. She spends her free time exploring all over Minnesota by biking, paddling, hiking, skiing, attending local events and trying new cideries and restaurants. After traveling the world and living abroad, she knows there’s no place like Minnesota. Read her blog at www.PlanetwithSara.com for more adventure ideas.
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