Bear Swamp Orchard & Cidery

Craft ciders made on a farm, not in a factory, using our own organic apples.

Closed for the season. Call or email ahead if you want to stop in and pick up some hard cider!
Coming in 2019 Bear Swamp Orchard - Cidery AND DISTILLERY! Apple Brandy on the way!

Our Organic Hard Cider available at:

ALWAYS enjoy responsibly, and never drink and drive.


Cider Highlights:
Our certified organic hard ciders are unlike most of what is on the market at this point. People are often surprised by what it tastes like to just naturally ferment apples. They are dry (not sweet) and have a complexity from our apples and the wild yeasts (true cider yeast) we use that is not found in almost any commercial ciders. They can sometime be challenging for first time cider drinkers.
Our cider’s flavors, aromas, and complexities pair well with many foods. Particularly lighter meats, cheeses, salads, non-red pasta dishes, seafood, etc. They should be poured in a wine glass to fully appreciate the aroma and appearance of the beverage. Given that our cider is unsulfited, unpasteurized, and have no preservatives in them, we recommend storing them in a cool, dark place. That’s if you plan on storing them.

  • These are ciders for grown-ups. These are not your overly sweet, fizzy, soft-drink like beverages. These old fashioned ciders are dry, complex and deserve to be poured in a wine glass and contemplated.
  • The fruit - our own organic apples. We grow/gather, pick, and press all of the fruit that goes into our ciders. We take a very different approach to growing our cider apples compared with common eating fruit. Our focus is on fruit high in flavors, nutrients, and sugars, rather than a high yield of blemish-free apples. Our cider apples are grown with minimal input using only compost as fertilizer, kaolin clay for pest repellency, BT or granulosis virus (a targeted biological insecticide) for codling moth, and other cultural practices. This approach makes for trees that have to work a little harder to keep themselves and their fruit healthy, producing protective phytochemicals that increase complexity in flavor. The juice is then fermented, blended, aged and bottled right here on the farm in western Massachusetts. We also gather fruit from abandoned orchards and seedling (wild) fruit for our ciders.
  • Certified Organic ingredients - Maple syrup, hops, (both produced/grown on farm) honey and brown sugar used in our ciders are all certified organic.
  • Wild Yeast - True Cider Yeast. Most cideries use commercially available wine or champagne yeast strains. Wild yeast (the natural yeast that is in the orchard and on the fruit) is not often used commercially because conventional wisdom says that year to year differences can change the flavor profile and predictability of fermentation. This might be true of apples from an orchard setting that uses lots of commercial fungicides, etc, to manage diseases. In that environment, the yeast community is not intact, leading to inconsistent and possibly funky fermentation. In situations like that it seems likely that the yeasts doing the fermenting are often not orchard yeast but are just something else that were picked up along the way. After all, yeast is everywhere. In our orchard the majority of our trees receive no fungicides at all, even the mildly effective micronized sulfur we use only on a couple of varieties. We feel this gives us an advantage in being successful using native yeast because we are not constantly wiping it out with fungicide applications. For us this is one of the keys to embracing the terroir and genuine uniqueness of cider. Using a grape wine or champagne yeast can often leave the cider having a wine profile in the flavor and aroma. It should just be allowed to be cider. Would you use beer yeast for a wine?
  • Un-filtered. We don’t want to take anything out that might add to the natural complexity of the cider. Filtering can sometimes make it prettier (clearer), but it also removes components of flavor and mouthfeel in the cider. Yep, it might be a little cloudy some years, and that’s a little sediment in the bottle.
  • No Sulfites. Most cider makers use sulfites to sterilize the juice to have a blank slate for adding their commercial yeast strains. We don’t want to do anything to harm our native yeast, so we do not use sulfites.
  • Unpasteurized. No, we don’t cook it, it’s still a living bio-active beverage. Some cider makers pasteurize their cider in the bottle, again to stabilize the sugars in sweet ciders so they won’t keep fermenting in the bottle. This uses a lot of energy and can leave the cider tasting “cooked” (caramelized), kind of like supermarket apple juice. Not something we look for in a craft cider.
  • No Plastics - All our ciders are fermented/aged in stainless, glass, and wood. No worries about our ciders leaching anything out of plastics while fermenting or in long term storage.
  • Simple Packaging - glass and a metal cap, no plastic/foil wraps or other throw away stuff.
  • Gluten Free - Yes, no gluten in apples or hops.

Our cider varieties:

farmhouse 16

Farmhouse - oak barrel aged

    • A blast from the past - a true farmhouse cider. This cider follows the Colonial tradition of simply wild fermenting apple juice. Barrel aging adds oak tones to this, complex cider.
    • Fermented to dryness - not sweet, like a very dry wine.
    • 750 ml crown cap bottles
    • 2016 vintage tasting notes: Fruit aromatics, mild astringency, acid, soft mouth feel, overlaid with vanilla and wood. Apples - Rowe Crab, Howes, Henry’s Yellow Russet, Golden Russet, Northern Spy, Liberty, Baldwin.
    • Serve cellar temperature or lightly chilled

    NE 16

    New England Hard Cider -
    • 12% ABV
    • A New England tradition - More than a century ago farmers would often add sugar to the sweet juice and let it ferment. This would increase the alcohol level and change the flavor depending on the type of sugar. It was also common to add raisins or other dried fruit, for sugars, nutrients, yeast, and flavor.
    Our N.E. style - We add organic brown sugar and organic raisins to ours, creating something close to the first cider we ever tried. This strong cider ages in oak barrels to mellow and take on character from the wood. Off dry.
    • 750ml crown cap bottles
    • 2016 vintage notes:
    Molasses and fruit aromatics, intense full-bodied character. Apples -Liberty, Northern Spy, Baldwin, Cortland, Mann, Goldens.
    • Enjoy lightly chilled or cellar temperature.

    Hopped 16

    Hopped Hard Cider-

    • 6.9% ABV
    • Hops - We use our own organic Goldings and Cascade hops to dry hop our cider. We simply add whole dried hops cones to the cider and allow it to steep. Adds a refreshing, flowery aroma without the bittering of cooked hops.
    • Bottle conditioned - Lightly sparkling
    • Fermented to dryness - not sweet, the body of a dry wine
    • 750ml crown cap bottles
    • 2016 vintage tasting notes: Very dry, crisp, classic hoppy, flowery notes, a little hop bite, fruity, wood overtone, light acid, mild astringency. - Apples - Howes, Henry’s Yellow Russet, Golden Russet, Northern Spy, Liberty, Mann, Goldens.
    • Enjoy chilled.

    -Past Vintage Hard Ciders-


    Ice Cider - sold out - 2012 -2016
    10.5% ABV - 12.4% (124 g/l) residual sugar

    • Limited availability, a very unique dessert wine, very flavorful sipping beverage, ice cider is in a category all by itself.
    • The Process - We make it by freezing freshly pressed juice, and removing the ice (water), which leaves behind only the thick, sweet essence of the apple. That intensified juice is fermented to a perfect balance of sweet and tart, with an alcohol level slightly higher than hard cider. The ice cider is taken off the yeast (racking) several times to stop fermentation without adding sulfites or filtering.
    • 375ml bar top bottles
    • 2015 tasting notes: Sweet, sharp, fruity, full flavored, the true essence of apple. Get out the snifters.


    Cyser - 2010-2016
    10% ABV

    • Honey - We add certified organic honey to sweet cider to enhance the starting sugar level, and thus the final alcohol level. We then let it ferment to dryness creating a traditional combination of mead and hard cider.
    • Nearly still, (not sparkling)
    • Fermented to dryness - not sweet
    • 750ml crown cap bottles
    • 2015 notes: A cider forward cyser, with just a hint of the mead at the finish. This is a dry, full-bodied, very wine-like beverage with a honey nose. -Apples-Northern Spy, Liberty, Cortland.
    • Enjoy lightly chilled or cellar temperature.


    Sparkling Organic Hard Cider - Fruit years 2010-2013

    • 6.9% ABV
    • Bottle Conditioned - We add a little of our own maple syrup at bottling (for the sugar) to reactivate the yeast. Once capped that sugar is fermented in the bottle and creates enough carbon dioxide to give the cider a light, natural sparkle.
    • 750 ml crown cap bottles
    • 2014 notes: Complex, hazy, mild astringency, fruity aromas, this year the yeast produced a slightly tropical flavor and left a hint of residual sweetness from alcohol esters. Apples - Wild seedlings, misc. unknown russets, Northern Spy, Rhode Island Greening, Liberty, Cortland, Mann.
    • Enjoy lightly chilled or cellar temperature.