Last weekend in beautiful Port Townsend Washington was the annual Summer Cider Days hosted by the Northwest Cider Association. A one day event where the best ciders of the Pacific Northwest get together to give cider-nerds like myself the opportunity to taste their offerings. Even if you aren’t a cider-nerd, it’s a great event for you and the family to come out and just appreciate the views from the balcony of the Northwest Maritime Center. The view and the weather couldn’t have been better for the appreciation of our favourite libation. It was sunny, hot, with a nice periodic cool breeze from Port Townsend Bay. The perfect storm for some serious cider drinking!
So let’s talk about the cider; there was plenty for all levels of cider drinkers to enjoy at this event. I’m a believer that there is at least one cider for every taste and with multiple offerings from each Cidery, there was plenty to chose from.
Attending the event were; Alpenfire, Bull Run, Calrton Cyderworks, Dragon’s Head, E.Z. Orchards, Ealgemount, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Montana Cider Works, Reverand Nat’s, Schilling Cider, Sea Cider, Sixknot, Snowdrift, Tieton Cider Works, Wandering Aengus, and Whitewood Cider.
With so many amazing ciders, it would be really easy for me to put down notes on each one, but then this post would turn into a small book – and then I’d have nothing else to write about and I need material for future reviews! So with that in mind, here are 3 standouts that come to mind from last weekend.
Whitewood Cider Co. – Olympia, WA Old Fangled
For the newest of the craft ciders in Washington State it’s amazing that Heather and Dave have done such a great job with their cider. The standout for me was the Old Fangled; a blend of 100% heirloom apples from Washington, it was crisp, clean and had excellent balance of acids & tannins. It’s clear that Whitewood Cider is a star on the rise.
Montana CiderWorks – Sula, MT North Fork Traditional
Another newcomer to the Northwest Cider scene, Montana CiderWorks have been picking up awards and blowing people away with their ciders. On Saturday, I found myself going back for more and more of the North Fork Traditional; a golden, medium sweet, clean tasting ‘West Country’ style cider made from cider apples, crab apples and local Bitterroot Valley apples.
Alpenfire – Port Townsend, WA Pirate’s Plank Bone Dry
If you read this site, you already know that I’m a huge fan of Pirate’s Plank, but after visiting Alpenfire’s Organic Orchard I really have to give them another shout out! Washington’s only Organic Orchard, Pirate’s Plank Bone Dry is another ‘West Country’, but unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Its bone dry, oak aged and then bottle conditioned without any pasteurization. If you are looking for a truly ‘scrumpy’ experience, then look no further. It’s excellent!
If you didn’t make it out to this year’s Port Townsend Summer Cider Days, I would seriously give your head a shake and mark it down in the calendar for next year! It’s truly one of the must-do events of the year. And if you do go next year, think about making it a full weekend and doing the Port Townsend Summer Cider Route. You won’t be disappointed!