Craftsmen Interviews are designed to introduce you to dedicated, hard-working local makers that are cultivating local culture. Short, easy reads that impart valuable knowledge and inspire you to explore and support authentic endeavors. Stay ahead of upcoming trends and get recommendations from those helping to build their community. (-Learn more)
“Lots of cidermakers seem to like the English way of making ciders and not love the Minnesota apples, but I had to work with what I had. I had an abundance of Minnesota apples so I worked to make a really great Minnesota cider.“Chris Aamodt – Brother, Cidermaker, Founder @Thor’s Cider, Stillwater MN
Just outside of Stillwater tucked in among the orchard where their product comes from, you’ll find Thor’s taproom.
In the spring and summer you can sit inside the open air taproom or out on the patio, explore the orchard, or venture next door to St. Croix Vineyards tasting room.
In the fall the taproom converts back into the bustling apple barn of Aamodt’s Apple Farm for apple-picking and other fun. But never fear, Thor’s is still plenty available on tap on the bustling and dog friendly patio along with a variety of food vendors and activities for the whole family! In the winter, things slow down a bit, but you can still hunker down for a tasty glass of winter solstice cider and some trivia in the tap room.
Full disclosure as we really dig into this interview, I am one biased writer here. I think this tap room is one of the real gems of MN full of great cider and wonderful people. (It doesn’t hurt that my husband and I got engaged here.) The staff is friendly, the cider is delicious, and the atmosphere is laid back. It’s always a can’t miss with our out of town guests even though it’s a bit of a drive outside of Minneapolis where we live. Pro Tip: It’s worth it.
Christopher Aamodt – The Mini-Interview
So, clearly a cidery on an apple farm makes sense, but what got you started?
“I came back from college and back to working at the farm and saw we were wasting huge amounts of apples at the end of every season. I thought that there had to be something we could do to make good use of the apples and to keep our business model open year round… and we did! As a bonus, it’s brought more family back to work into the family business. It’s been really great! We’re still mainly apple farm in the fall, but now we’ve got the tap room year round pushing out great ciders!”
What makes your cider unique being made right here with your own apples?
“We’re truly a Minnesota cider. I was just down at an apple tasting panel the other day with some other cider makers and so many are still very into the more traditional English style of cider making, so as we were looking at all the apple varieties they just wanted to blow right past the Minnesota ones. I don’t have that option. I have an abundance of Minnesota apples around me so I’m going to make a Minnesota cider. I spent a couple of years really learning to work with what we had and make a really great product out of it! “
You’ve grown so much in the last few years! What new things do you have coming up?
“Flavor-wise we’re experimenting with some new options to come out with this summer. The rhubarb cider will be making a comeback soon, and then we’ve been playing with some other flavors as well. Blueberry, coconut, pineapple and barrel aged are all things you can potentially see coming down the road from us!
As far as what’s going on around the tap room, we’ll be bringing back Rosé Days in mid may again and getting the Arctic Rosé tapped. [Writer Note: You don’t want to miss this, we had this flavor at our wedding!] We’ve got great live music lined up in the tap room all summer long! We joined the MN Brewery Running series this year, so we’ll have a 5K this year! We’ve also got our Makers Market in June where we’ll have artists and small businesses available to shop while you have some great cider. We’ve got the advantage of a really great amount of space out here so we love being able to use it!”
Planning a visit to Thor’s Taproom / Stillwater?
Now that you know a little more about Thor’s and the man behind it, why don’t you plan a visit?
And to help? Chris has given us a list of his top recommendations for an unforgettable day of biking, eating, shopping, and of course, cider-drinking.
Thor’s Hard Cider Taproom (and Aamodt’s Apple Farm), Stillwater, MN
Cider Recommendation: El Thoro / Ginger Fizz – View tap list
Thor’s has it’s flagship three ciders, Semisweet, Dry, and what I believe really put them on the map originally, Ginger Fizz. If you’re a first timer to the tap room, I’d definitely recommend starting there to see where they have their roots. For this trip out I built myself a custom flight of my perfect six from the current menu; Ginger Fizz, Sitron Tee, Norse Berry, Winter Solstice, Forget Me Knot, and Grapefruit Lemon.
Passport to Thor’s Hard Cider
Bonus: When you purchase this passport you are directly contributing to MN Cideries and local farms.