Madison County is the birthplace of the original "Red Delicious" apple but it is also now home to a beautiful new cider house that is turning apples into cider and gaining fans from all directions.
Opened within the last year or two, Winterset Cidery is nestled among the rolling hills of Madison County, an area of our state that is famous for it's covered bridges and as the birthplace of John Wayne.
On a recent Friday after work, I met up with some friends at the cider house, which is approximately five miles north of Winterset on Highway 169.
According to it's website, " the cidery is the first of its kind in Iowa built in a post and beam building adjacent to its apple orchard with over 30 varieties of heirloom, cider, and dessert apple trees."
The tasting room is quite beautiful. The cider is made in the basement and they appear to have an office of sorts on an upper level loft. The main level was filled with a bar area and lots of seating options.
I even spotted a foosball table in the corner as well as a popcorn machine.
There's a lot of rustic charm to the place.
Outside, there is a beautiful patio with additional seating and unbeatable views of the orchard and countryside.
We sat on the patio and ordered several flights of cider among our group in order to be able to taste as much of the offering as possible. It's an impressive menu of ciders. Clearly, the owners have honed their craft.
Throughout the summer and fall, they host a number of different events including trivia nights and live music. Check out their Facebook page to see updates on events and other specials.
You can take some cider home with you and they have other merchandise for sale as well.
There are lots of other "touristy" things to do in Madison County and so be sure to add the Cidery to an adventure itinerary next time you are in the area.
And if you would rather have drinks made from fermented grapes instead of apples, there is a winery literally just up the road, too. Or, stop at both!
Regular readers of this site will know that I am a huge fan of agri-tourism and I am always glad to see places like this be successful. They offer excellent economic development opportunities for rural Iowa and provide great places to for families and friends to socialize.