Around the Pacific Northwest, apple picking has become a popular October and November activity. In fact, apples have almost gotten as synonymous with fall as pumpkins, with a number of orchards in the area offering u-pick options and festivals. Instead of eating or baking all of these tasty apples, why not try drinking them? An interesting and fun alternative to craft beer, hard cider is increasing in popularity and is popping up all over around the Pacific Northwest. In fact, you can even order a dry hard cider off the Victoria Clipper on board menu. This tasty beverage is made with apples grown in Oregon and Washington, and produced by Square Mile Cider Co in Portland. Eager to taste other local brews? Why not visit some of these cideries in person and relax with a new drink or two, or even a sampler, in front of cozy fireplace and soak in the ambiance? To make your search easier, we thought we would help narrow down the selection by providing some of our top choices in each city.
Seattle Cider Company
In the state known for its wonderful apples, cideries are surprisingly rare in Seattle. Perhaps it is because Seattle is one of America’s best beer cities, and it can be challenging to compete with fun activities like the Seattle Brews & Views Tour. Or maybe, it is because we would rather eat our apples than drink them, even though are they are mighty good either way. Luckily,Seattle Cider Co remedied this problem last year by opening the Woods tasting room, which serves two year around and four to six seasonal and specialty handcrafted ciders. Be advised that at this cidery the focus is mainly on the cider so don’t expect to find much food, but you are welcome to bring your own.
Schilling & Company
Recently joining the Seattle cider scene is Schilling & Company. While the company has been brewing cider for a few years, they just opened their first cider house, located in Fremont, in September 2014. Future plans for the cider house include education and tasting sessions as well as cider making classes, so guests can become well-versed in the cider producing process.
If you love cider, Merridale Ciderworks is the place for you. All seven of Merridale’s ciders are produced right there in Victoria, so while you are at Merridale you can see and learn about every step involved in the cider making process. Tour the neighboring orchards where the apples are grown, see the cidery where the cider is pressed, fermented and bottled, and of course, sample a few of these delicious beverages at the Ciderbar when your tour is over.
A farm-based cidery, Sea Cider grows their cider apples right next to their ciderhouse on the 10 acre property. When you visit, make sure to check out the orchard, which contains over 1,000 trees that produce over 60 varietals of cider apples. After your tour, grab a snack and enjoy a short (three samples) or long (all current ciders, which is at least nine, plus featured cocktails) flight of cider while enjoying the view of the water.
Portland Cider Company
The story of Portland Cider Company is similar to that of many other cideries. Frustrated by the quality of commercial ciders, founders Jeff and Lynda Parrish decided to start producing their own made from Northwest apples. In their taproom you taste flights of all their widely available ciders, as well as sample a couple of unreleased and limited availability ciders them before they hit the stands. Portland Cider Company has a variety of unique and flavorful brews, and even a pear cider, so it is definitely worth stopping by.
Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider
What began as a project to help rid a friend of excess apples by making them in to cider, quickly turned into the company now known as Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider. The story goes that once Rev. Nat started making cider, he realized he really enjoyed the process, practiced his brewing technique and became popular enough to open his own taproom. Stop by to experience Rev. Nat’s creative and tasty flavor combinations. You may even get to sample a taproom-only special that never leaves the building.