This is part 2/2 on Cider Summit Seattle 2015. See part 1 for tasting notes on the 32 ciders I tried. Hopefully for all the folks who don’t live in WA / couldn’t make it, this post will help make you feel you were there! Cider Summit was awesome, amazing, epic, etc. There were over 200 ciders from over 50 cideries. Impossible to try them all, and way too many choices. So, unfortunately I had to prioritize. I ended up sticking pretty closely to my list, but not exactly. Very easy to get distracted once you add in all the people I met up with. It was actually my first time attending a Cider Summit (even though this was its 6th year in Seattle), as I’ve only really got into cider cider in the last year, although I’ve been enjoying it for a few years. My husband attended with me, even though he really isn’t into cider; how sweet. Cider Summit is definitely the biggest cider event in the area of the year!
It was great to see so many old & new cider friends, including a number of folks I met at the Seattle Cider and Burgundian events on Thursday. Shoutout to the following folks from Cider Summit & WA Cider Week, in no particular order. It was pretty cool to have folks recognize / say they enjoyed my blog at the event, even though it is still fairly small / new (its been 3 months…time sure flies).
- Ron from Drinking Cider (Ron flew here with his wife all the way from CT for Cider Summit / WA Cider Week! I know a lot of cidery folks did too, but he did it just for the love of cider, not to promote a product or whatever.)
- Eleanor from Eden Ice Cider
- Nancy & Bear Bishop and son Felippe from Alpenfire Cider
- Sarah, Si, Merce, & Kevin from Cider Log
- Bill Bradshaw, cider author extraordinaire and future cider documentary actor, here from the UK
- Darlene from All Into Cider
- Kyle from Millstone Cellars
- Mick from Click Distributing
- Dan from Orcas Distributing
I attended both days of Cider Summit, but didn’t stay too long on Saturday. On that second day I planned ahead what I still wanted to try the most, and got small tastes of over a dozen ciders in less than two hours so I could get out of there before it got too busy and warm (we were definitely having some warm weather). The first day I had started a bit strong with a few larger tastes, the heat got to me a bit (ended up going to Whole Foods for awhile for lunch and to cool down actually), and I was in general overwhelmed with the whole event, even with my pre-planning. So, day 2 went a bit smoother!
I thought I’d add some information on the event, as its often difficult to find some of these sorts of specifics. Admission included tickets for tastings (8 for regular and 12 for VIP), a cider glass, and a wristband. We had in & out privileges with the wristband and glass, including being able to return for the second day. Apparently some ciders were 2 tickets due to their expense / high ABV, but they would do a smaller pour for 1 ticket. They were supposed to be 4oz pours, unless it was high ABV. They also had a booth with some cider cocktails from Capitol Cider. I asked for small pours from most of them, so between that and the blog thing, I didn’t have an issue with running out of tickets (although they would have only been $2 extra). The CIDER SAYS t-shirt was definitely a good decision, as were the business cards.
It was an outdoor event, where the cidery booths were under small tents, spread out around the grounds. That unfortunately meant porta potties, but they weren’t too bad. What was great is that almost every booth had folks from the cidery (often the cidermakers themselves for the small ones) pouring the cider. So, when it wasn’t too busy, you could actually get some face time with them. There were some tents with chairs & tables, plus some standing tables not beneath tents. Some cideries also had tent alternatives, such as a mini-bus or trailer. I had no problem bringing food and non-alcoholic beverages in. However, I figured out I really didn’t need all the bottled water I brought, as they had a water station with cold filtered water that could be used to rinse out tasting glasses or fill a bottle up. Between several bottles of water and the free Cidercraft and Sip Northwest magazines my husband stuffed in my backpack, it got really heavy! I also didn’t use the blanket I brought to sit on, although I could have, if I had spent time on the nice grassy knoll hidden behind the food area. Some of the cideries even brought some lawn and table games.
I heard that they will need to switch venues next year however, as the current one at South Lake Union will have a construction project. We were very happy with our decision to get a hotel within walking distance (even though we don’t live very far away), as we were very tired by the end between the sun, alcohol, and standing around. The Hyatt Place met our needs. It was definitely pricey, as everything is in the area, but fairly new & clean. There was noise as expected (not just traffic, but the silly mini fridge too). The breakfast in the morning was acceptable. The hotel worked out well too as we had parking that way, and they didn’t charge extra to stay more than 24 hours, just a flat charge per night hotel stay. The parking cost was pretty comparable to what we would have paid at an independent garage, and it was more secure too.
Advance tickets are definitely the way to go. The cheapest was to visit a business selling them (such as Full Throttle Bottles), as online sales added fees & such that negated the $5 advance sale savings. VIP is also definitely the way to go, as I got entrance an hour early (2pm vs. 3pm); they limited it to 200 VIP tickets. On Friday it didn’t get too busy until 5pm ish or so (the event went until 8pm). On Saturday there was a line to get in at noon, but we got to skip it as we already had wristbands! The crowds quickly picked up, but I was a woman on a mission and went through my tasting list in record time so we could get out of there before it got too hot, and went and grabbed lunch at Mama’s Mexican restaurant (very tasty by the way).
They had food for sale from Whole Foods and Capitol Cider (including cider pairings), but we didn’t try any. We ended up walking down the street to Whole Foods for a snack/lunch on Friday, returning to the event, then going to a Thai place for dinner. They also had other misc booths such as Three Twins ice cream, Kind granola bar samples, non-alcoholic cider samples/sales, and dog related booths (as this was a dog-friendly event). Note that this was a 21+ event. Another great part of this event was that they sold bottles to take home (all ciders with bottles for sale had the price listed in the program). However, I may have waited a bit long, as they didn’t have what I wanted (if they had even had it to start, or maybe they couldn’t find it). They also sold t-shirts, glasses, cider books, etc. I got a sweet Cider Summit t-shirt.
Check out the other Cider Summit locations in addition to Seattle, which are Portland, San Francisco, and Chicago.
The next big cider tasting event in the Seattle area is NW Ciderfest (October 10 & 11, Pioneer Square, a MDA benefit). I’m planning to be there! They will also have bottle sales, plus they are both family and dog friendly.
(Click to biggify any of the following photos)
Event grounds & some booths, some from before it got busy:
<Aaron from 2 Towns showing off their Traditions Bourbon Barrel 2012>
<Eaglemount and Alpenfire displays>
<Merce and Si from Cider Log>
<lovely shadowed photo of the Whitewood Kingston Black information, and me & my hubby Aaron>
Cider displays at Whole Foods for WA Cider Week:
<big display of Eden’s apertifs and sparkling cider>
<first time I’ve seen 3 Worley’s varieties together>
<Snowdrift Perry sighting! No Red though; good thing I got mine at another Whole Foods.>
Some of the swag I picked up at Cider Summit Seattle & WA Cider Week events:
Ticket, handouts, and misc info:
Stay tuned to Cider Says for two more WA Cider Week 2015 posts, covering the Bill Bradshaw tasting event with 9 cideries at Capitol Cider, and the 2 Towns night at the Schilling Cider House! Like us on Facebook for the latest info and post notifications.