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  • Writer's pictureMatt

Bold Rock Hard Cider

An oasis in apple country

During paddling season at Lazy Otter Outfitters I spend quite a bit of time driving the bus, picking up guests after their trip at Westfeldt Park. We'll chat about other fun things to do in the area, and often brewery-hopping is high on their list. Right about the time we turn onto Banner Farm Road, I always remind them that here in Henderson County we love our beer - but this is "apple country," where we grow most of the apples in the state and are one of the biggest producers in the nation. And then on cue, when we get to the stop sign at School House Road, I can point to the left and say, "See? There's Bold Rock."

“The bar staff is knowledgeable and they're happy to let you try one before committing to a full glass, or you can get a sampler flight.”

Hard cider is the next-biggest craft beverage after beer, and while Asheville may have way more breweries (note: not better, just more!), Henderson County can definitely hold its own when it comes to fermenting apples. Bold Rock opened in Mills River in 2015 on the site of a former corn field as an expansion of the Charlottesville-based company, and is now the biggest cidery in the mountains with distribution in five states.

It's not as extravagant as the nearby Sierra Nevada brewery (few places are) but the cidery's owners have focused on making Bold Rock both homey and accessible. It's not too unusual to see the parking lot full on busy days or evenings, but there's plenty of overflow and with the big lawn and plentiful outdoor tables arrayed around the music stage, plus the big indoor tasting room including upstairs balcony, there seems to always be room for everyone. The food truck is permanently stationed right outside the front door - the pimiento grilled cheese with pulled pork is my personal favorite!

Even if you think you don't like cider, it's worth a try! There's a half dozen or so regular

varieties on tap and they're always adding seasonal variations. The bar staff is knowledgeable and they're happy to let you try one before committing to a full glass, or you can get a sampler flight. They offer tours of the cidery and packaging facility (you can see it right behind the bar too) to fill you in on the process - and if you're still not sold, of course they have craft beer available too.

How to Find It

Bold Rock Hard Cider is located at 72 School House Road, about 15 minutes from downtown Hendersonville.


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