Cider. It’s a thing. More bars and restaurants are dedicating taps to fermented apple beverages. And Capitol Cider, which opened in May with a whopping 15 taps of the stuff, has been going like gangbusters.
So, while this time of year is full of festivals, events, football, and generally nice weather, I humbly submit that Washington Cider Week (September 5 through 15) and the Seattle Cider Summit (September 6 and 7) are well worth your time if you’re even the slightest bit curious about cider. Here’s why.
It’s rare to have a critical mass of local ciders. Ordering a cider is increasingly easy in this town. But getting acquainted with Washington cider as an entity is a challenge. While they’re creeping closer to urbanity, most of these stigma-busting creations are made in small batches in orchards in Port Townsend or Tieton or the Methow Valley and not too many kegs and bottles make it to the 206.
Seriously, cider is not all sweet. There’s no mistaking the apple nose on the Prohibition cider from Sea Cider in British Columbia. But it’s whiskey-colored and boozy from being aged in rum barrels. Tieton’s smoked pumpkin cider has so much going on that you want to drink it slowly, like a cabernet. And the Alpenfire Pirate’s Plank—I’ll just let that one speak for itself.
But it is expensive, yo. At least the craft iterations. That’s because it’s made in a similar fashion to wine, often in very small quantities using labor-intensive processes like method Champenoise and bottle conditioning. But shelling out $20 for a large bottle, or $11 for a glass pour is intimidating when you don’t even know what you like yet. At the Cider Summit, a $25 ticket for the summit comes with eight tasting coupons, though that admittedly puts a small dent in the lineup of 110 ciders, which includes Washingtonians, Northwest creations, and versions from Vermont, Michigan, and the UK.
You have myriad chances to debate whether cider is more like beer, or more like wine. Much like Seattle Beer Week, Cider Week consists of a calendar of dinners, tap nights, tasting sessions, etc. In this case it’s just kicked off by the Seattle Cider Summit. Here is the full list of events.