Seattle’s a beer town, to be sure, but cider is gaining serious momentum. Your latest indications are the slew of Seattle events for Washington Cider Week, which celebrates its third annual gathering of cidermakers and their fans.
To call this a week-long celebration is generous; the events actually run for ten days from September 5 to 15 with over 75 separate happenings around the state. Several of these take place in Seattle, the largest of which is the two-day Northwest Cider Summit at South Lake Union’s Discovery Center Park. At this event, cidermakers will be pouring 112 ciders – 59 of which are new to this year’s event – from 37 producers. Event organizers have speculated that this will be the most ciders ever offered at a U.S. festival.
The 10-day shindig is lousy with cider events, including these Seattle-area happenings:
• A kick-off event at Whole Foods Market Westlake featuring cider samples and appetizers
• Three- and four-course prix fixe cider-pairing dinners at SoDo’s Epic Ales Gastropod and the Velvet Underground Dining Experience in South Lake Union
• A “tap takeover” at Capitol Cider by Blue Mountain Cider, plus a meet-and-greet with the cidermaker and a presentation of this year’s Raspberry & Strawberry Ciders
• Finnriver serving ciders at West Seattle’s Beer Junction, including their limited Fresh Hopped Cider release and Habanero Cider.
• Food and cider pairings at Café Flora in Madison Park and Terra Plata on Capitol Hill
• A cider cycling trail through Seattle, with stops at pubs offering cider samples
• A “cider short course” taught by cider columnist Chris Lehault at Ballard’s The Pantry at DeLancey
• Tieton Cider Works and Theo Chocolate pairings at Brave Horse Tavern
• Cider-themed craft cocktails available at several Seattle bars and restaurants, including Tavern Law, Tilth, and the Stumbling Goat
Reservations for parties and dinners are highly recommended; tickets do tend to run out. For a complete schedule of events around the state, and to buy tickets, visit the Northwest Cider Association’s website.
This cider-obsessed writer recommends you seek out the following cideries: Finnriver Farm and Cidery, whose exciting line-up is inspired by what grows around their Chimacum farm; Whitewood Cider Co., which makes a South Sounder cider from apples grown in the yards and on the farms of Olympia; Schilling Cider, which is making environmentally-friendly canned ciders down the road in Auburn; and Snowdrift Cider Co., whose Cidermaker’s Reserve perfectly encapsulates a traditional cider: bittersweet, floral, and deeply nuanced.