Thursday, April 26, 2012

Washington Cideries Gain Prominence


Apple wine featured at Taste Washington Seattle.

At this years Taste Washington I was exposed to a lot of great wine, but one of the delights for me this year was not just wine and food, but Washington cider. I like cider, but it has not been a beverage often consumed at home. To my surprise, there's a growing number of cideries setting up shop in Washington. As evidence, there were three Washington cideries pouring hard cider at Taste Washington Seattle. And boy was it good and well received.

Learning about Finnriver Farm and Cidery at Taste Washington Seattle.

I sampled all the ciders offered by Finnriver Farm and Cidery, Methow Valley Ciderhouse and Tieton Cider Works. These cideries had an array of styles, from the stark, bone dry, the slightly sweet, to the super sweet and even fruit and hops flavored ciders. Truly a cider for every palate and occasion. I enjoyed the break from drinking wine to savoring a cool, sparkling and refreshing cider. There's even enough complexity in Washington cider to keep my interest.

Cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% ABV to 8.5% or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, cider may be called "apple wine". Cider may be made from any variety of apple, but certain cultivars grown solely for use in cider are known as cider apples. The more varietals used in making cider, the more complex the flavor and texture of the cider.

Cider has a long history in the United States. During colonial times apple cider was consumed as the main beverage with meals because water was often unsafe for drinking.

Dave White of Olympia, Washington, founding member of the Northwest Cider Association and the creator of the craft cider website, oldtimecider.com, attributes the popularity of cider to: the state’s apple culture, better education on cider-making methods, the desire for an alternative to beer and the nature of cider itself. Source: The Olympian, Craig Sailor

With healthy growth in the cider industry, there's just not enough in state fruit to keep up with demand, so Washington cideries are now importing out of state juice to meet demand. Washington State University is helping out the new industry. Their Northwest Washington center in Mount Vernon, which grows 60 varieties of cider apples, is compiling fruit profiles and researching better harvesting methods. Source: The Republic, Shannon Dininny 

The Washington State wine industry is lending a hand too. Some winery venues include cideries in their wine tasting events, evidence this years Taste Washington Seattle, and invite cider makers to their winemaker dinners as an extra draw for consumers. That's win, win from my perspective.

The future for Washington cider looks promising. A delicious, affordable, regionally produced, sustainable, agricultural product. You can expect Washington Cider reviews from me soon. I'm excited!

Cheers!

Resources

Washington State Members of NW Cider Association (www.nwcider.com)

Alpenfire Cider
220 Pocket Ln
Port Townsend, WA 98368
(360) 379-8915
AlpenfireCider.com

Eaglemount Wine & Cider
2350 Eaglemount Road
Port Townsend WA 98368
(360) 732-4084
EaglemountWinery.com

Finnriver Farm & Cidery
62 Barn Swallow Road
Chimacum, WA
(360) 73-CIDER
Finnriver.com

Methow Valley Ciderhouse
13B Walter Road,
Winthrop, WA 98862
(509) 341-4354
MethowValleyCiderhouse.com

Red Barn Cider
16163 SR 536
Mt. Vernon, WA 98723
(206) 321-9424 or (360) 428-6894
RedbarnCider.com

Snowdrift Cider Co.
277 S. Ward Ave.
East Wenatchee, WA 98802
(509) 630-3507
SnowdriftCider.com

Tieton Cider Works
321 Humphrey Road
Tieton, WA 98947
(509) 673-2880
TietonCiderWorks.com

Westcott Bay Cider
Westcott Bay
San Juan Island, WA
(360) 378-3880
WestcottBayCider.com