It’s an exciting time of year locally, as breweries and cideries are immersed in the summer slate of festivals and in their massive production schedules. While the taprooms throughout the Queen City will be stocked and the biergartens will be full, ‘tis the season for brewers to get out and engage with the public. Such is the case for Western New York’s own Scott Donovan, who is the Founder and President of BlackBird Cider Works.
Donovan and BlackBird will be welcoming several local breweries to the grounds on August 19 as the cidery hosts its seventh Summer Cider Festival. Breweries include Big Ditch, Community Beer Works, 42 North, 12 Gates, Three Heads Brewing Co., New York Beer Project, Thin Man Brewing, Resurgence Brewing Co., and Woodcock Brothers Brewing. The event will begin at 1pm and run through 5pm. Information regarding ticket packages for tastings at the showcase is available on the company’s website and Facebook page.
The Cider festival isn’t the only thing in the works for BlackBird this summer. Donovan is also pleased to announce a specialty cider that he’s cultivated from apples grown on his own farm in rural WNY. “We’re calling it Black Rock, in honor of the cidery and taphouse we’ll be opening within the city limits. It’s a Kingston Black Single Varietal Cider set for release in July. This cider was awarded a gold medal at the 2017 Great Lakes Cider and Perry competition in Grand Rapids and third in show in its class.
“The Kingston Black apple has been used to make ciders since the 15th century,” Donovan explained. “Unlike our Dabinett, which is made with 14 varieties of mostly English cider apples including Dabinett, Kingston Black, and Somerset Redstreak, Black Rock uses solely Kingston Black apples.” BlackBird Cider Works was recently featured in Food & Wine Magazine, highlighted as one of the many must-see experiences in Buffalo. The rustic on-site tasting room is open daily from 11am-5pm, except on Sundays, when the taproom opens at noon.
Thankfully, one can find BlackBird’s award winning ciders in cans throughout Western New York at grocery stores and bottle shops. Varieties like the Estate Reserve and Premium Draft join the Oak-Aged Dry and Red Barn Farm Style on grocer’s shelves. Buffalo’s craft beer is certainly garnering attention throughout the state and even regionally, but one of the greatest highlights of the area is the growing cider production. With Donovan at the helm, surely BlackBird will continue to lead the charge developing unique, delicious ciders that still hold true to their European roots.
Black Bird Cider Works
8503 Lower Lake Road, Barker, New York, NY 14012