Washington state’s craft cider industry is relatively young but undeniably thriving, with Seattle at the tasting epicenter. There are plenty of ways to sip your way around the city, from a host of urban taprooms and cideries to an annual celebration of all things hard cider (plus, a number of cideries open to visitors just a short drive away).
In the heart of Capitol Hill, Capitol Cider (*818 E Pike St) is the largest independent cider bar in the country, with 20 rotating ciders on tap and more than 200 unique bottles. Pair your pick with a dish off the 100 percent gluten-free menu, or cozy up in one of the roomy booths downstairs with a cider flight—for a spicy kick, try the three pepper flight featuring Finnriver Habañero.
At Number 6 Cider (945 Elliot Ave W, Ste 203) in Interbay, taste Northwest-centric flavors and seasonal releases from cold brew to honey and ginger. To try one of their six ciders on tap, stop next door at the Citizen Six (945 Elliot Ave W, Ste 203) tasting room and cafe serving Korean-Mexican fusion fare (the bulgolgi fries are a must).
Locust Cider’s (5309 22nd Ave NW, Ste D) newly minted Ballard taproom offers both indoor seating and an outdoor patio for sipping throughout the year (it’s dog friendly, too). The folks behind the bar are happy to provide on-tap recommendations ranging a crisp Huckleberry Perry to local favorite Vanilla Bean.
At nearby Schilling Cider House (708 N 34th St) in Fremont, curate your own flight from the 32 local and international ciders on tap, or choose from more than 300 ciders available by the bottle (the largest lineup in the nation). For a behind-the-scenes look at the production process, spend an afternoon at the Schilling Tasting Room in Auburn (a half-hour drive south) and sip limited release drafts right in the warehouse. Try the Chaider, a spiced chai cider infused with meant-for-fall aromatic flavor, or Co-Founder and Head Cidermaker Colin Schilling’s current favorite, Excelsior, a semisweet draft made with bitter heirloom apples. “The best way to learn about cider is through tasting,” Schilling says.
Last but not least, SoDo-based Seattle Cider Company (4660 Ohio Ave S) prides itself on highlighting the natural flavors of Washington apples.
“Everything you taste is fermented with the apples,” says Head Cidermaker Scott Katsma. Discover your new favorite flavor at The Woods, an expansive tasting room shared with Two Beers Brewing Co. boasting classic flavor profiles (dry and semisweet) and limited supply and seasonal flavors like Olympia Honey, Oaked Maple, and Berry Rosé.
Look to the Northwest Cider Association for the inside scoop on everything from new and noteworthy cideries to local production techniques. With fall harvest fast approaching, Executive Director Emily Ritchie recommends taking full advantage of the season by attending a festival or tasting, or even planning a visit to an area orchard. “It’s really fun to go out where the apples are growing and the grass is under your feet, and sip cider at an actual orchard.” Alpenfire (220 Pocket Ln), Eaglemount Wine and Cider (1893 S Jacob Miller Rd), and Finnriver Farm & Cidery (124 Center Rd) on the eastern end of the Olympic Peninsula all make for an excellent day trip.
And casual sippers and aficionados alike will enjoy the annual Washington Cider Week each September, showcasing 50 cider companies in more than 70 events across Seattle.
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