SOUTHINGTON – Jeff Rogers, whose family owns Rogers Orchards in Southington, left the family business to teach journalism, media and filmmaking at a French international school in New York City. But life on the farm and the inspiration of entering the growing hard cider business brought him back home.
Rogers, now vice president of Rogers Orchards and head cider maker at its sister business, Long View Ciderhouse, is a one-man show. He’s the only person that makes the cider via a slow fermentation process on nearby premises. The ciders range from dry to sweet to everything in between, and Rogers puts in 12-hour days at Long View, located down the road from the orchards.
“It was the creative process of building a new business and the creative decisions and collaboration with my family around those decisions that have given me the most joy,” Rogers told CT Examiner on Friday. “But I have to say, since we opened it’s really been about getting to know the community and seeing people enjoy something that you made.”
Rogers launched Long View’s newest expansion – an orchard bar and cider truck – on Sept. 1. as hundreds of people descended under a 40-by-60-foot tent to enjoy a variety of hard cider.
There is something for everyone’s taste.
One of the favorites – Farm Cider – is a classic blend of 10 apple varieties, semi-dry with a crisp finish. The Apple Pear Elderberry cider – a 50 percent apple and 50 percent pear blend co-fermented in charred oak – is Rogers’ favorite.
The draft list also includes Green Tea Peach, and Apple Peach Apricot. Lemon Balm is a crowd favorite.
“We had three kegs worth and they all went,” Rogers said, adding that it’s now temporarily sold out and will become available again in a few weeks.
Also in bottle form is Omija, a complex cider which translates from Korean to mean ‘five flavor berries’ — that lend five flavors: sourness, sweetness, bitterness, pungency and saltiness. Long View also offers Cherry hard cider, an equal-parts blend of sweet and sour cherries; and Blueberry hard cider made with blueberries from Belltown Orchards in South Glastonbury.
A homemade apple brandy that Rogers says “is smooth and sweet, like an apple pie” rounds out the offerings.
Glennie Sarmiento said she visited Long View this week because she had heard great things about the establishment and she was not disappointed.
“It’s one of the better ciders I’ve ever tasted,” Sarmiento said of the Farm Cider. “It’s not overly sweet.”
Sarmiento ordered a flight of six ciders.
Long View is located on Long Bottom Road, nestled on a hill on Southington Mountain overlooking the Hartford skyline in one direction and Sleeping Giant in the other.
It’s the perfect landscape, Rogers said, to sit with friends and family, enjoy good company and drink cider.
“We are very excited to share a place that is very dear to our family,” said Rogers, whose family has owned Rogers Orchards since 1809. Twenty different varieties of apples can be found on more than 250 acres of the orchards.
Ciders on draft cost $4 for a 5-ounce cup; and bottles are $5 each.
Long View is open through December and will then reopen in April 2024. Its stores within Rogers Orchards are open year-round.