Indian Ladder Farms Cidery & Brewery (ILFCB) makes beer and hard cider with ingredients grown right here on our farm, along with New York State grains and produce from neighboring farms. Whether you are drinking a hoppy IPA, a pickle beer or a lavender-honey cider, you can be assured that all the ingredients are farm-fresh and locally grown.
Our hard cider is made from juice pressed at Indian Ladder from the apple varieties we grow in our orchards. Some ciders are made with fermented juice from a single variety of apple and others are a blend. There is even a special section of our orchard planted with apple varieties grown specifically for hard cider production such as Golden Russet, Kingston Black and Pippin, to name a few. Crab apples from trees planted throughout the orchards for cross pollination purposes even make it into the mix. Many ciders are also flavored with herbs, such as lavender and rosemary grown on our farm and in our Biergarten, as well as various fruits we grow such as blueberries, raspberries and plums.
Hops are bright green, pine-cone shaped flowers which grow on bines that climb to a height of 18 feet on a wire trellis supported by poles in our hop yard, located across the street from our Biergarten. The essential ingredients for beer are found in the hop’s lupulin, a sticky yellow resin inside the hop flower that contains acids and oils infused with powerful aromas and flavors.
We harvest hops in late August through mid September. During harvest the bines are cut from the trellis and run through our hop harvesting machine which pulls all the hop cones off the bines. We also use this machine to harvest hops for a number of hop growers in our region who bring their bines to our farm at harvest time. After being removed from the bines the hop flowers are then kiln dried in our hop barn. This process stabilizes the oils and acids in the lupulin within the hop cones. Some of the dried hops are processed into pellets for storage and others are used as whole, dry flowers.
ILFCB’s agricultural operation also grows an array of herbs and unique, flavorful vegetables used to prepare the food served in the Tasting Room & Biergarten, such as heirloom tomatoes, white cucumbers and more. Many of the plantings you may see in the Biergarten are composed of edible plants and herbs used for cooking.
Cider Apple Varieties
HOP HARVESTER “HEIDI”
Our 11,000 LB hop picker processes the 3 acres of Indian Ladder hops used for all our beers brewed at ILFC&B. German built in 1974, ‘Heidi’ can pick 140 bines of hops per hour. When not harvesting ILF hops, we serve as a Capital district regional hop processing facility, allowing other nearby hop farms to come use our facility.