The Best Cidery Road Trips from Seattle
The official fruit of Washington may end up in applesauce, but it's not just for kids. Cidermakers—and we're talking about the hard kind here—are spread across the western half of the state, and make for ideal road trip destinations. Just remember to bring a designated driver to sip on the plain old apple juice. And keep in mind that given the family-run nature of some cideries, tasting rooms may have limited, seasonal, or weekend-only hours.
Finnriver Farm and Cidery
In the rolling farmland just south of Port Townsend, the Finnriver orchards stretch across 80 acres using more than 20 different varieties of apple tree. And for good reason; the menu is long and varied. With both its own kitchen and visiting vendors dishing food, Finnriver is set up for a most-of-the-day visit. The farm also hosts reading groups, dance nights, used good swaps, and workshops, plus regular live music.
Westcott Bay Cider
San Juan Island
Like the rest of the San Juan Islands, the cider makers near Roche Harbor is a small-batch, artisanal operation, the cider made in concert with liquor at San Juan Distillery. The owners pick the heirloom variety apples themselves from a small orchard nearby and make only three cider types; the driest uses no sugar at all. The cidery is open to visitors on weekends in summer, but if you catch someone at another time you might score a chat and a taste.
Mill Haus Cider Company
Though a quaint water wheel turns outside the wood cabin-style cidery, it's there for decoration, not power production. But it makes for a nice backdrop in one of the state's most extensive outdoor areas devoted to cider—fire pits, picnic tables, a pond. The drinks menu shows an affinity for the wild forests that surround the small town of Eatonville by featuring huckleberry and marionberry. Flatbreads and street tacos hold down the menu, with burnt end sliders topped with slaw a real highlight. On summer evenings, crowds stop here on the way home from nearby Mount Rainier National Park.
Tieton Cider Works
Though one of the state's dominant cideries is named for Tieton, the small town in which it was launched—and in which its fruit is still grown—today its tasting bar is settled square in the middle of nearby Yakima. Familiar to anyone who's gotten a fruit-forward drinks on draft in Seattle, Tieton makes crowd pleasing apple standbys, but has also spread lavender honey and bourbon peach into the local mainstream. The tasting room has a bocce court outside and machine for cider slushies, both well suited to the Yakima sunshine.
Snowdrift Cider Company
It's only fitting to drink cider in Wenatchee, the town so deep in apple production that it holds an annual festival dedicated to the fruit. Located on the east side of the Columbia, Snowdrift cites both the plentiful sunshine and their namesake snow as being responsible for their apple quality. Located out in East Wenatchee's farmland, the cidery is clearly a family operation—meaning visitors get to connect with the cidermaker himself.
Nashi Orchards and Dragon's Head Cider
It's a two-fer! Vashon Island, a short ferry ride from Fauntleroy, is home to two different cider makers, making it ideal for a comparison tasting by car or even bicycle. Nashi Orchards specializes in apple cider as well as perry, which is a similar drink made with pears—not apple cider flavored with pears, as so many pear ciders are. They turned an old artist's studio into a tasting room but do require tasting reservations.
Dragon's Head, just a mile away, grows most of its own apples and focuses on highlighting the individual varieties in each cider. The tasting room is more of a picnic area with Adirondack chairs next to the orchards. Curated tasting flights help visitors compare the subtleties between types.