Notes on Cider at Debuts and Discoveries 2017

On March 18th, I attended a ‘Debuts and Discoveries’ tasting event in Seattle put on by the University Sunrise Rotary Club, to benefit Teen Feed.  It featured about 7 cideries, 7 breweries, 12 wineries, and 11 distilleries.  It was very cool to see an event with such a mix of beverage selections, as I’m only into cider and my husband is into everything else.  I took the night off from blogging, so unfortunately I don’t have any photos or tasting notes.  However, I thought I might as well do a quick writeup.

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The Ciders:

  • Chatter Creek (Woodinville WA) brought their ‘Pilot Project’ Golden Cider, ‘Chaider Clipper’ Chai Tea, and ‘Luya’ Ginger-Honey.
  • Elemental (Woodinville WA) brought their ‘Carbon’ Semi-Dry, ‘Calcium’ Blood Orange, and ‘Oxygen’ Pomegranate.
  • Locust (Woodinville WA) brought their Chili Pineapple, Smoked Blueberry, Thai Ginger, and Vanilla Bean.
  • Pear UP (formerly Neigel Vintners) brought a number of perries, including Ginger Pear, Hoppin’ Pear, Pear Essentials, Pearfect Pie, and Watermelon.
  • Schilling (Auburn WA) brought their ‘Reboot’ Blood Orange, Blueberry Cobbler, and London Dry.
  • Steelhead (Lake Chelan WA) brought their ‘Chimera’ Cherry, ‘Furious George’ Ginger, and ‘Peargatory’ Vanilla Pear.
  • Woodinville Ciderworks (Woodinville WA) brought their Asian Pear and something else.

What I Tried:

  • Chatter Creek’s Chaider Clipper was tasty, semi-dry, with a smooth moderate spiciness from the Chai.  I previously reviewed their Pilot Project.
  • Elemental’s Carbon and Blood Orange.  I preferred previous versions of Carbon that were more rich than citrusy, and less tart (see here).  My husband was crazy about the Blood Orange; the flavor was nice and mild.  Both had higher levels of carbonation, which is great too.  I previously sampled their Pomegranate.
  • Locust’s Blueberry + Vanilla and Chili Pineapple.  I had tried both the Blueberry and Vanilla before (see here), finding the Blueberry rather average and the Vanilla to have an amazing creamy vanilla flavor but too sweet.  However, mixed, they were an awesome semi-sweet concoction, and my favorite of the evening.  The Chili Pineapple surprisingly didn’t have any noticeable spiciness (I’ve had a number of spicy ciders which were crazy spicy), just a nice pineapple flavor.
  • Pear UP’s Watermelon, which remains my favorite from them (see here).  The pear and watermelon notes remain mild, but I’m a huge watermelon fan.
  • (I previously tried Schilling’s Blueberry Cobbler and London Dry)
  • Steelhead’s Cherry, which I previously tried (see here).  Nice cherry flavor, but rather tart.  I also previously tried their Peargatory.
  • (I previously tried Woodinville Ciderworks’ Asian Pear and Tropical)

The Event:

It was an indoor event (in an old hangar in Magnison Park – very cool), from 5-9pm on a Saturday.  The $40 entry fee included 15! drink tickets and a $5 food voucher.  They also provided free bottled water and snacks (like chips and trail mix), which I have never seen before and was much appreciated.  The event was to focus on new craft beverage businesses, and their published cutoff was four years, but I know some of the companies were more than four years old (like Woodinville Whiskey, which started in 2010).  There were four main food truck options (also indoors).

They had tables and chairs, but they could have used more (and unfortunately some folks would put their stuff down to “save” their spot, then leave).  Bottle sales were available from most makers, and it was tax-free as it was a charity event (a HUGE savings for hard alcohol…my husband picked up four bottles which were about $35 instead of $55).  The main negative for me was the live music…any live music indoors tends to be overly loud, making it was very difficult to hold a conversation, and giving me a headache.  I felt bad for the booths right next to the band.

All in all it was a fun time and I look forward to attending again next year!

Cider Rite of Spring 2017 Preview

This year I’m excited to be planning to attend a new-to-me event Cider Rite of Spring, on March 25th 2017 in Portland Oregon.  The 4th annual event is presented by the Northwest Cider Association.  Cider Rite of Spring has been named “The Best NW Cider Festival” by SIP Northwest Magazine.

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Date/Time/Location:  Saturday March 25th 2017, noon to 6pm, at The Evergreen ballroom (618 Southeast Alder Street) in Portland Oregon; this is a new venue for this year, and all indoors

Admission: $25 or $40* (tickets sold here), which includes 8 tasting tickets and a tasting glass; this is a 21+ event only

*$40 is for VIP admission, which has the same start time, but includes access to the VIP lounge, with complimentary cheese pairings by Whole Foods and one-on-one interaction with 6 PNW cidermakers who will share a special cider offering for tasting and purchase only to VIP ticket holders

Cidermakers:  30 planned (^5 Cider, 1859 Cider Co, 2 Towns Cider House, 7Bev Corp, Alter Ego Cider, Baird & Dewar Farmhouse, Bandon Rain, Bauman’s Cider, Bull Run Cider, Cider Riot!, Dragon’s Head Cider, Elk Horn Brewery & Cider House, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Locust Cider, McMenamins Edgefield, New West Cider, Pear UP, Portland Cider Co., Red Tank Cider, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Runcible Cider Co, Schilling Cider, Seattle Cider Co, Snowdrift Cider Co, Spire Mountain Ciders, Square Mile Cider, Steelhead Cider, Swift Cider, Tieton Cider Works, Tumalo Cider Co, and Woodbox Cider)

Ciders:  100 planned

Bottle Shop:  Yes – many ciders will be available to purchase bottles of to take home.

Food:  Available for purchase from Wasabi Sushi

My Notes:  I’ve never tried ciders from 10 of the 30 cideries (many are Oregon cideries which don’t yet distribute to Washington).  My husband and I plan to make a weekend of it, driving down from Seattle on the morning of the event and staying overnight in a local hotel.  The location near downtown is great as we can park the car once and take The Max or an Uber to the event and dinner.

Stay tuned for a review of the event and tasting notes!

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Cider Summit Seattle 2016 Post 2/2 – Tasting Notes

This is post 2/2 on Cider Summit Seattle 2016, covering tasting notes.  Post 1/2 (see here) covered the event.

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2 Towns (Corvallis Oregon) Hollow Jack (6.4% ABV) – This fall seasonal pumpkin cider was just released.  They added caramelized pumpkin, sweet potato, honey, and spices.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, and bitterness.  Notes of pumpkin, squash, and cinnamon.  It was very lightly flavored, unlike many other pumpkin (and more frequently found, “pumpkin” spice ciders, which actually don’t have any pumpkin) which are overwhelming.

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Apple Outlaw (Applegate Oregon) Chocolate Raspberry (unknown ABV) – This was their fruit cider challenge entry.  The chocolate was added by soaking cacao bean husks in the raspberry cider.  These husks would otherwise be discarded in the chocolate making process.  Smells delicious, purely chocolate and raspberry.  Semi-dry.  The flavor is almost all raspberry, but hints of dark chocolate shone through in the slightly bitter and tannic finish.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  This was a bit of a novelty, but nice.

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Aspall (Suffolk England) Perronelle’s Blush (4% ABV) – Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Light to medium bodied.  Lovely fruitiness with moderate blackberry flavor plus hints of cranberry and blueberry.  This is a nice sessionable summer sipper without forgoing flavor.  I’ve never been disappointed by Aspall.

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Boonville (Boonville CA) Bite Hard Semi-Sweet (6.9% ABV) – Their semi-sweet flagship cider is a follow up to their Dry Bite Hard variety.  I found it as advertised, semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Fruity, with notes of tropical fruit like pineapple, plus green apple (all from the apples).  I prefer this semi-sweet cider to their drier variety, which was more wine-like (which corresponds to their wine making background and methods).

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Bull Run (Forest Grove Oregon) Mango (unknown ABV) – This was their fruit cider challenge entry.  This hazy cider looked like mango juice.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Very juice-like and moderate mango flavor intensity.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Simple but tasty.

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Carlton Cyderworks (McMinnville Oregon) Impearial Asian Pear Hard Cider (5.8% ABV) – This is a pear cider (apples + Asian pears + Hood River Oregon pears).  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Light sourness.  Mildly flavored with notes of pear, pineapple, lemon, green apple, and mineral.  I prefer more flavor, but this would pair well with food.

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Coquerel (Victot-Pontfol, Normandy, France) Calvodos Fine VSOP (40% ABV) – This was my first time trying straight Calvados, an aged apple brandy (I’ve only had it with cider, as Pommeau).  Semi-dry.  Definitely boozy, with a very long warming finish.  It surprisingly had only a mild apple flavor, although its possible my palate was a bit overwhelmed by the alcohol.  I’m not really into straight alcohol (especially when served room temperature).  I think I’ll stick to Pommeau.

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d’s Wicked (Kennewick WA) Cranny Granny (6.9% ABV) – This is a granny smith apple cider with cranberry juice.  Hazy pink hue.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Simple with only notes of moderately tart granny smith apples and cranberry.  If you like tartness and cranberry, you’ll like this cider.

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Dragon’s Head (Vashon WA) Columbia Crabapple Cider (6.7% ABV) – A single varietal cider made from Columbia crabapples.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity with hints of bitterness and tannins.  Sharp flavor with notes of mineral, green apple, honey, white blossom, and lemon.  Wine-like and nuanced with low flavor intensity.  This is the sweetest variety I’ve tried from them.  Their Kingston Black or Traditional is probably my favorite though.

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Double Mountain Brewery –  I’ll add a bit about them as they aren’t yet distributed in Washington, only Oregon.  They have brewed beer for 9 years, but just started making cider, and have one introductory variety.

Double Mountain (Hood River Oregon) Jumpin Jack Heirloom Cider (7.3% ABV) – Fully dry.  Mild sourness.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild bitterness and tannins.  Notes of green apple and a hint of hops (not sure if they were added, or there might have been some tap line contamination).  I didn’t pick up the richness of any of the cider apple varieties they added, but there was definitely sharp heirloom apple flavor.  I thought it was ok.

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Finnriver (Chimanum WA) Apple Abbey (6.5% ABV) – A Belgian-inspired cider made from dessert apples.  Foamy and hazy.  Smells of sourness and citrus.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Yeast-forward.  Notes of citrus and green apple.  Hints of sourness.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  I liked it.

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Finnriver (Chimanum WA) Pomona’s Nectar (6.5% ABV) – This is a new Crew Selection sour nectarine cider.  Smells like Spanish Sidra.  Semi dry.  Mild to moderate sourness.  Notes of lemon, yeast, and mineral (I didn’t pick up any stone fruit).  I’m still trying to acquire the taste for sour ciders, but I found this one pretty tolerable; its a bit more approachable than the average Sidra.

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Incline Cider (Auburn WA) Scout (6.5%) – A hopped marionberry cider.  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Light marrionberry and moderate hops flavor.  I think I prefer their plain Explorer hopped cider variety.

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J. Seeds (Fairfield CA) Apple Cider Whiskey (35% ABV) – Whiskey made including apple cider.  Semi-sweet.  Apple forward and quite tasty, although I don’t have anything to compare it to as I’m not a whiskey drinker (I’ve previously found it too harsh).  However, I’m not into straight booze, so I think I’d prefer it watered down or mixed.  It looks to be available locally and is quite affordable.  I wouldn’t mind trying this again.  Being sweeter, it reminds me of what flavored sweetened vodka is to plain vodka.

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Maeloc Cider (Galithia Spain) Dry (4.8% ABV) – This is a commercial Spanish Sidra.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet (despite the “Dry” name).  Medium bodied.  Mild sourness and funk.  Notes of citrus and green apple.  It is a more approachable Sidra, a style I’m still learning to acquire a taste for.  I learned they use apples from within 50 miles of the cidery, grown in a damp climate similar to the PNW, and use wild yeast fermentation for all their ciders.  Overall it was ok.

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Montana CiderWorks (Darby MT) Spartan Dry-Style (5.5% ABV) – This is a small batch oak aged single varietal made with Montana-grown Spartan apples, in the style of Northern Italy’s Sauvignon Blanc.  Dry.  Light bodied.  Nuanced and wine-like, with high acidity, and sharp green apple, herbal, and baked apple notes.  It was nice, but I prefer their fuller flavored Darby Pub cider.  This is a wine-lovers cider.

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Moonlight Meadery (Londonderry NH) Crimes of Passion (4.1% ABV) – A black currant seasonal cider.  Semi-dry.  Light sourness.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild to moderate black currant flavor intensity.  I enjoyed it, although without the sourness I would have enjoyed it more.  I was excited to learn they will soon be offering their How Do You Like Them Little Apples cider in cans (currently all their ciders are draft-only), starting in October/November, including in the Seattle area.

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Nectar Creek (Corvallis Oregon) Honeycone (6.9% ABV) – This is a hopped mead (no apples, just honey and water).  The smell is all hops, no honey.  Semi-dry.  Mild flavor intensity with more hops than honey.  I found this sessionable lightly carbonated mead to be lacking the full flavor I enjoy in the higher ABV sweeter meads.

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Number Six Cider (Seattle WA) Peach Fuzz (6.5% ABV) – This was their fruit cider challenge entry, a spiced peach cider.  Semi-dry.  Very full bodied (chunky and smoothie-like).  Low peach flavor and moderate to high spice intensity.  It was a bit too strange for my liking as it was so full bodied, and overly spiced.

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NV Cider (East Wenatchee WA) Watermelon Raspberry (unknown ABV) – This perry (no apples) with watermelon and raspberry was their fruit cider challenge entry, and was served through a watermelon.  Semi-sweet.  Light bodied.  Moderately flavorful, but with more raspberry than watermelon notes, and no pear.  I prefer their watermelon perry without the raspberry.  Both however are refreshing options.

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Reverend Nat’s (Portland Oregon) Sour Cherry (7.2% ABV) – This cider was made from granny smith apples, with pie cherry juice which was soured, pear juice, and “hint” of ghost chili peppers.  Semi-dry.  Moderate cherry flavor.  Low sourness.  Low to moderate heat/spiciness from the ghost chili peppers.  I liked the cherry portion of the cider, but spicy ciders aren’t my thing (and a bit of a palate killer too).  I’d love to see this without the spiciness (which I believe was new for this year).

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Reverend Nat’s (Portland Oregon) The Passion (6.9% ABV) – Cider with passion fruit juice, coconut, and vanilla.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild sourness.   Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  Strong passion fruit flavor with hints of vanilla, pineapple, and coconut. I really enjoyed it.  I liked how fruity it was without being too sweet.  I had heard this was very sour so I hadn’t got around to trying it, but I wish I had sooner!  I wonder if they did away with the sour aspect this year, as I really didn’t pick up any.  I’ll have to try this again to see if my sour taste buds were busted when I tried it.

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Reverend Nat’s (Portland Oregon) Whiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet with Black Currant (9.5% ABV) – This is Wandering Aengus’ Golden Russet cider with black currant puree from Oregon Fruit Products, aged for 6 months in whiskey barrels.  It was made for the Portland and Seattle Cider Summits, but will be a Tent Show cider club release in October.  Semi-dry.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild tannins and bitterness.  Moderate barrel and spirit influence.  Awesome!  I really loved this cider.  I usually find berry ciders to be boring, but when barrel aged, they can be amazing.  This reminded me of Alpenfire Calypso and Apocalypso, except more boozy, and whiskey not rum barrel aged.  Too bad they weren’t selling bottles of this at the event, as I would have picked some up.

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Sea Cider (Saanichton, B.C., Canada) Ruby Rose (9.9% ABV) – This summer seasonal is made with rhubarb and rose hips.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Mild to moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  Intensely fruity, with floral, rhubarb, strawberry, and watermelon notes.  I really liked it!  Oddly enough I didn’t find it too boozy, despite being 9.9% ABV.

Sea Cider (Saanichton, B.C., Canada) Witch’s Broom (9.9% ABV) – I got a taste from the first bottle poured in the U.S. of this fall seasonal.  It was described as a “bouquet of pumpkin patch spices”.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  It was moderately spiced with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and baked apple.  Mild tannins, bitterness, tartness, and acidity.  Cinnamon was the most present, both in the nose and the finish.  One of my favorite spiced ciders, but I’m not usually a huge fan of them.

Both of these ciders from Sea Cider are part of their Canadian Invasion Series, meant to draw attention to invasive species and their threat to farms and natural areas.

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Seattle Cider (Seattle Washington) City Fruit (6.3% ABV) – This is a special release cider only sold at Whole Foods, made using apples collected in the Seattle community by the non-profit City Fruit.  Dry to semi-dry.  Wine-like and acid forward.  Notes of red grape and mineral.  Overall very mild flavor intensity.  This is a wine-lovers cider, and would pair well with food.

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Steelhead Cider (Manson WA) Chimera Cherry Apple (5.5% ABV) – This is a newer cidery who just started distributing (at least kegs) in the Seattle area.  I previously tried their Peargatory.  Semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Moderate to strong real cherry flavor.  It was sweeter than I prefer, but I liked the intense cherry flavor.

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Summit Cider – I’ll add a bit about them as they aren’t yet distributed in Western Washington (only Idaho and Eastern Washington).  This cidery was started in 2014, making them the first in Idaho, and the only in Coeur d’Alene.  Their bestseller is Apricot, although of late their Hibiscus cider has been popular with wine drinkers.  They have a tap room in Coeur d’Alene.  I met co-founder Davon Sjostrom, who has a background in Botany, which I imagine brings something new to cidermaking.

Summit Cider (Coeur d’Alene Idaho) Apple (6.5% ABV) – Semi-dry.  Low tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Rather plain, but likeable.

Summit Cider (Coeur d’Alene Idaho) Apricot (6.5% ABV) – Semi-dry.  Lots of (true) apricot flavor for the level of dryness (typically drier ciders have a less intense flavor than sweeter ciders).  I really enjoyed it.  Davon described testing out many varieties of apricots to find the one whose flavor came across best in cider.

Summit Cider (Coeur d’Alene Idaho) Hibiscus (6.9% ABV) – Semi-dry with nuanced light floral and herbal notes.  I can see why this would be a wine-lovers cider.

Summit Cider (Coeur d’Alene Idaho) Blackberry (unknown ABV) – This was their fruit cider challenge entry.  I found it semi-dry and very mild in flavor.  I think with some barrel aging it would have been nice though.

In Summary

My Favorite Cider – Reverend Nat’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Black Currant

Other Favorite Ciders – Reverend Nat’s The Passion, Summer Cider Apricot, Sea Cider Ruby Rose, and Steelhead Cherry

Most Interesting Cider – One Tree’s PB&J cider, a raspberry cider with peanut butter whipped cream (I didn’t try it, but a photo is available here – more dessert than cider).

Other Interesting Ciders – Reverend Nat’s Sour Cherry, due to the use of ghost chili peppers.  Schilling’s Grumpy Bear, due to the use of coffee and a Nitro can (my tasting notes here).  Schilling’s Sour Raspberry Smoothie, due to its high viscosity (apparently for some of their ciders with high fruit content, they have a keg or two per batch which are smoothie-like).  Apple Outlaw’s Chocolate Raspberry, due to the use of chocolate in a cider (I’ve only heard of Woodchuck doing this previously).  1o1 Ciderhouse Black Dog, due to the use of activated charcoal (poured last year, with my tasting notes here).

Cider Summit Seattle 2016 Post 1/2 – The Event

What an epic cider event!  This was my second year attending (see here for previous posts), but was the seventh annual Cider Summit in Seattle Washington.  It took place on Friday & Saturday September 9th & 10th.  This is post 1/2, covering the event.  Post 2/2 will cover tasting notes on the dozens of ciders I tried. [Update – Post 2/2 is now up here].

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Info

We had some beautiful weather for the weekend.  It was still warmer than I prefer, but not as bad as last year.  Same as last year, I attended both days, and even stayed locally overnight.  Even though I don’t live far, its very convenient, and makes a fun weekend getaway with the hubby.  See here for the full event info and here for the full list of cideries (60) and ciders (196 ish).

There were some substitutions, but about the same number of ciders as expected were poured.  The most interesting booths were those for Coquerel Calvados (French apple brandy), Schonauer apple liquor, and J. Seeds apple cider whiskey.  They were even pouring a few meads, from Moonlight Meadery and Nectar Creek.  Although most ciders were from the PNW, there were a good number of national and international ones as well.  Also, the selections were primarily on the craft (vs. commercial) end.

There were 16 entries for the Fruit Cider Challenge.  I learned that the cideries were provided fruit puree from Oregon Fruit Products which they made cider with.  Votes were taken by text (1 per phone).  Although I didn’t try them all, my vote was for Reverend Nat’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Golden Russet w/ Black Currant.

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Entry included a tasting glass, tickets (8 for regular and 12 for VIP, each one good for a 4oz pour of most ciders), and wristband.  A cool feature of this event is that in addition to in & out privileges, one entry fee gets you in both days (and you can even skip the line on the second day).  This event is very well organized.  Everything from pre event information online to signage at the event to thinking of the little things like having rinse water available.

Another thing about this event that I really like is that the folks pouring the cider are associated with the cidery (cidery employees, sometimes even the cidermakers, or the distributor).  When its not too busy, you can ask about the cidery and cider.  The crowd was really varied, from the cider enthusiasts like myself to people who just wanted to drink.  We even spotted a couple in wedding garb (apparently they attended Friday straight from their wedding), and an adorable older lady with her walker.

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Besides the main attraction of cider booths, they had music (from a local radio station, KEXP), food for sale from Whole Foods and SUSU rolled ice cream, cider cocktails from Capitol Cider, samples of unfermented juice from Ryan’s and Krave beef jerky (both for sale), some misc booths such as for Northwest Cider and fancy growlers, a shop with bottle sales and Cider Summit t-shirts and such, a dog lounge, stand up tables, covered seating, cold filtered water (from Easy Tap), and port-a-potties (which were actually quite clean, and one set of them had outdoor sinks).  There was less covered seating this year, but it seemed to be sufficient.

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<map from the event program>

My Tips

I’m glad I brought a hat, sunblock, good walking/standing shoes (for uneven grass), 1 water bottle to fill up, snacks (including something starchy, good both to absorb alcohol and as a palate cleanser – I chose animal crackers this year), notebook, pencil, and tote bag with an outside pocket for my tasting glass.  You might also want a bag to put free swag in, but a couple cidery booths actually gave out bags too.  Some cash isn’t a bad idea either, although I think at least the bottle shop took cards.  ID is required.

My best advice for avoiding the crowds it to attend early on Friday, although even later on Friday is less busy than anytime on Saturday.  I ended up only staying a few hours on Friday and a couple hours on Saturday, leaving once I’d had enough.  There are also a number of restaurants (and Whole Foods) within walking distance, so another option is leaving if you need a break, then come back after a bit.  I did that last year, especially as it was so hot (we took advantage of the a/c as Whole Foods).

A great way to get free admission is to volunteer; they had several shift options each day, and I heard that if you work closing on Saturday you may even get leftover cider.  For the best ticket price, buy them in advance.  Although VIP tickets are online sales only, if you are getting regular tickets, buy them in person at one of the places around town which sell them, as there isn’t a service charge.  It didn’t sell out as far as I know, but the price was higher at the door.  Designated driver tickets ($5) were only at the door.

Photos

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<food from Whole Foods and cocktails from Capitol Cider>

2016-09-09 14.13.58.jpg<the lawn game cornhole seemed to be a popular offering, with at least four cideries bringing a custom painted set, although I didn’t see anyone playing>

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<this unique ice cream was in liquid form, then spread onto a frozen slab, then rolled>

Cider Summit Seattle 2016 Preview

The epic 7th annual Cider Summit is coming to Seattle Washington on Friday September 9th (3-8pm) and Saturday September 10 (noon-5pm) at South Lake Union Discovery Center Lawn.  Check out my posts from last year:  info, cider list preview, event, and tasting notes.

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See here for the full event info and here for the full list of cideries (60) and ciders (196 ish).  I found at least 40 ciders I haven’t tried and am interested in tasting, so I’ll see if I can get through that many in the two days.

Regular tickets are sold in advance online ($30 + service charge) or at Seattle-area Whole Foods ($30, also said to include access to a Whole Foods VIP tasting area, new this year), or at the door ($40), and includes a tasting glass + 8 drink tickets.  VIP tickets are sold in advance online ($45 + service charge) and get you in an hour early on Friday (2pm not 3pm), and includes a tasting glass + 12 drink tickets.  Additional drink tickets are available at the event for $2 each.  Designated driver tickets are also available at the door for $5.

This outdoor event is 21+ but dog friendly.  Last year they had covered seating, stand up tables, cold water on tap, and port-a-potties.  The event also includes a merchandise shop, bottle shop, food sales, cider cocktails (using the same drink tickets as ciders), and a dog lounge.  Another special feature is the Fruit Cider Challenge; many cideries are bringing a special fruity cider, and attendees can vote for their favorite.  Last year many booths had employees (or even cidermakers) from the cideries pouring ciders, a mix of keg and bottle pours.  They may also still be accepting volunteers (includes admission, t-shirt, and cider benefits).

Last year my husband and I got a hotel down the road as I wanted to attend both days, and it makes it way easier (especially not having to find parking two days in a row), even though we live fairly close.  We’re doing the same again this year.  The event has in & out privileges (if you keep your wristband and glass), and we left on Friday to grab food down the road at the Whole Foods (and cool off in their a/c, as it was HOT last year) – although they did sell food.  I had a VIP ticket last year and it was great, as I could get photos and try ciders before it got busy.  On Friday it didn’t get too busy until closer to 5pm.  On Saturday I didn’t stay too long, getting there when they opened at noon and leaving after a couple hours, but was much busier.

Cider Summit Seattle is part of Washington Cider Week (Sept 8-18).  Stay tuned for more posts on Cider Summit and Washington Cider Week events.

Summer Cider Day 2016 in Port Townsend WA – The Event

Last weekend I attended the 6th annual Summer Cider Day in Port Townsend Washington.  It was my first time at this event and my second time in Port Townsend (Northwest of Seattle; see my previous 4 posts here on the Olympic Peninsula Cider Route with Alpenfire, Eaglemount, and Finnriver).  I’ll have two posts; this first one covers the event and a second will cover tasting notes on the ciders I tried (post 2/2 now up – see HERE).  Check out my previous post here, which was a preview of the Summer Cider Day event.

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<the event program cover>

I took the Edmonds-Kingston ferry fairly early (note there is a Port Townsend ferry, but the route is from Coupville) to ensure I got there before 11am, when the VIP tasting started (an hour earlier than the noon-5pm event).  VIP is definitely the way to go by the way (for an extra $10 per ticket) as I got a chance to try a number of ciders, chat up the cidermakers pouring them, and take photos of the venue and lovely table setups before it got too busy.  I actually did nearly all my cider tasting in that hour.  By arriving early I also had a chance to get a great parking spot, walk around town, grab some coffee, etc.

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The Northwest Maritime Center was a great venue for this small ish cider festival.  It was primarily indoors (which is rare for a summer tasting event, but I appreciated it as sun + cider isn’t the best combo), except for food and seating on the deck (with an amazing waterfront view).

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It was also a unique event in that it was family-friendly (although there wasn’t really anything for kids to do, just a corner set up with some coloring books).

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Admission included a tasting glass and 8 drink tickets.

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The venue on the second floor of the building was beautiful, with high ceilings.  Each cidery had a booth to pour their ciders (a mix of draft and bottle pours).  Many had the actual cidermakers pouring the cider, but if not, it was someone very familiar with it (vs. some events which have volunteers pour cider).

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They had catering on the deck from Siren’s Pub, a restaurant down the street.  The menu was cider-themed and had suggested cider pairings.  I had a shrimp skewer with rice and mango salsa that was pretty good, although I imagine it would have better if it didn’t get cold right away since it was a bit cool & windy outside.  The outdoor seating was nice though (especially as there was no indoor seating, only stand up tables).

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They also had a bottle shop, where many of the ciders were available for purchase.

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The attending cideries were announced in advance, but not the ciders they were pouring.  Here is the final lineup:

2 Towns Ciderhouse (Corvallis OR) Outcider, Bade Apple, Made Marion
Alpenfire Cider (Port Townsend WA) Pirate’s Plank, Spark!, ApoCalypso
Bull Run Cider (Forest Grove OR) Dry Hop, Pear Wine, Bramble Berry
Eaglemount Wine & Cider (Port Townsend WA) Ginger, Rhubarb, Cyser
Finnriver Farm & Cidery (Chimmacum WA) Chimacum Kriek, Sidra, Oak & Apple
Liberty Ciderworks (Spokane WA) Heirloom Series Gravenstein, Turncoat Dry Hopped New World, Stonewall Barrel-Aged
Locust Cider (Woodinville WA) Thai Ginger, Apricot, Wabi Sabi
Nashi Orchards (Vashon WA) Chojuro Perry, Island Harvest Perry, Barrel Fermented Cider
New West Cider (Portland OR) Black & Blue, Señor Cider
Schilling Cider (Auburn WA) Ascender Ginger, Grapefruit & Chill, Bailout Lemongrass Cider
added: Seattle Cider (Seattle WA) Berry, Semi Sweet, Dry
Snowdrift Cider Co. (East Wenatchee WA)
Spire Mountain Ciders (Olympia WA) Crisp & Dry, Dark & Dry, Dry Hopped Apple
Pear UP , formerly NV Cider (Wenatchee WA) Watermelon Pear, Pear Essentials, and Ginger Pear
Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider (Portland OR) The Passion, ¡Tepache!, Revival
Tieton Cider Works (Yakima WA) Rambling Route Pear, Apricot, Tieton
Wandering Aengus Ciderworks (Salem OR) Anthem Cherry, Golden Russet, Wanderlust
Whitewood Cider (Olympia WA) Gibb’s Darm, Newtown Pippin, Old Fangled Heirloom
Woodbox Cider (Portland OR)

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<a neat banner they had on the Cider Making Process>

Next up in the Seattle area is Washington Cider Week (Sept 8-18), including the epic Cider Summit (Sept 9 & 10).

Preview of Summer Cider Day 2016 (Saturday August 6th in Port Townsend WA)

There is an awesome sounding cider tasting event coming up in Port Townsend Washington at the Northwest Maritime Center on Saturday August 6th 2016, the 6th annual Summer Cider Day.  Port Townsend is a beautiful seaside town West of the Seattle area.  I haven’t been to this event before, but I want to make the trek this year.  The quickest route involves a ferry for those in Seattle and Northward, but is within a couple hours of the greater Seattle area.  Port Townsend is home to the Alpenfire, Eaglemount, and Finnriver cideries (see my trip report from earlier this year here).

summer cider day

Summer Cider Day is from noon to 5pm, and they are expecting at least 20 cideries and 70 ciders.  The cidermakers themselves typically pour the cider at this event, and I’ve heard it isn’t as crowded as some others (such as Cider Summit), so there should be some great opportunities for schmoozing.  Another plus is its indoors (although our summers aren’t overly warm, a hot day isn’t exactly conducive for partaking in lots of cider!).

Current List of Cidermakers:
2 Towns Ciderhouse (Corvallis OR)
Alpenfire Cider (Port Townsend WA)
Bull Run Cider (Forest Grove OR)
Eaglemount Wine & Cider (Port Townsend WA)
Finnriver Farm & Cidery (Chimmacum WA)
Liberty Ciderworks (Spokane WA)
Locust Cider (Woodinville WA)
Nashi Orchards (Vashon WA)
New West Cider (Portland OR)
Schilling Cider (Auburn WA)
Snowdrift Cider Co. (East Wenatchee WA)
Spire Mountain Ciders (Olympia WA)
Pear UP , formerly NV Cider (Wenatchee WA)
Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider (Portland OR)
Tieton Cider Works (Yakima WA)
Wandering Aengus Ciderworks (Salem OR)
Whitewood Cider (Olympia WA)
Woodbox Cider (Portland OR)

Of those, New West Cider and Woodbox Cider (both in Portland Oregon) are both new to me / not available in the Seattle area.

Tickets are on sale online (here) for $25 (goes up to $30 at the door), and includes admission, a tasting glass, and 8 tasting tokens.  There are also VIP tickets available for $35 which will get you in an hour early, at 11am.  Its a family-friendly but dog-free event, and includes a bottle shop, food for purchase, and live music.  It is hosted by the Northwest Cider Association.

Stay tuned for my trip report and tasting notes!