In Washington state, cider makes up 6 percent of the beer market (it’s at 3 percent for the rest of the country). That’s double what it was two years ago, with no signs of slowing down. This time of year means Washington’s apple harvest is in full swing statewide, with apples ready to occupy your homes and future pint glasses. What better way to close out your summer and start the harvest season with a cider week? The seventh annual Washington Cider Week ends tomorrow after celebrating craft cider for 10 days straight. In celebration, Peaks and Pints has constructed a Washington state cider flight that we call Craft Cider Crosscut 9.16.17: A Flight of Washington State Cider.
About a 1,000 people live in Tonasket, a city in Okanogan County, Washington. Lucky them to have Ole Swede Cider in their backyard. Tonasket native Casey Oberg launched Ole Swede Cider on his family farm in 2014. His Mulberry & Friends cider is fairly new, made with eight different types of berries and currants: mulberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, blueberry, gooseberry, black currant and golden currant. It’s on the sweeter side of semi-dry, smooth, low tartness and acidity, with a light real berry flavor.
In 1881, Colin Schilling’s great-great-grandfather, August, founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco, with a goal of bringing pure, natural spices to everyone at a fair price. Today, at Schilling Cider, August’s core values are carried forward and paired with innovative cider-making techniques to produce quality and complex hard ciders that, according to media hype, is the number on selling craft cider with three taprooms — Auburn, Seattle and a 50-tap cider house in Portland — and retail in 20 states. Think about all that plus the fact that Schilling uses only 100 percent fresh pressed apples, locally sourced non-GMO ingredients, and individually hand-selected yeast strains with beer yeast rather than wine yeast (Schilling likes beer yeast rather than wine yeast for the malt flavor) as you enjoy this light, semi-sweet, smooth cider made with fresh-pressed apple juice, Non-GMO sugar and essential oils of lime, grapefruit, citric acid and hibiscus.
Number 6 Cider rests in Seattle’s Interbay thoroughfare neighborhood along a rail line and takes its name from Tunnel No. 6, the “greatest feat” of the American westward railway. “Forged with sweat and toil” like the railroads that brought industry and life to the Pacific Northwest, Number 6 produces ciders and toasts to new frontiers. Number 6 Cold Brew Coffee Cider has an unmistakable warm coffee aroma introduced by the Stumptown cold brew coffee dumped into the cider. It’s semi-sweet with coffee notes. While this cider is made with cold brew coffee, the cider remains a clear golden color, which adds to the drinks mystery.
Grant Barnes and Neal Hennessy started making cider as a hobby, and it turned into a vocation. One Tree Hard Cider started in Barnes’ Spokane Valley garage, with exactly one recipe: a relatively straightforward semi-sweet apple cider. They went pro in the summer of 2014. This beauty has One Tree’s dessert apple cider base that is blended with fresh-pressed Washington apple juice and locally sourced wild huckleberry for a sweet and tart concoction.
Wes and Laura Cherry take their Dragon’s Head Cider products from apple to bottle, blending fruit from their 2,200-tree orchard on Vashon Island with apples harvested by other small Washington family orchards. Their Wild Fermented is a farmhouse cider, which means rather than carefully selecting a yeast strain for the fermentation, they allowed the wild yeast present on the skin of the apples to ferment the cider. The result is a moderately tart cider with lemon and young pineapple flavors up front followed by mild spice and lingering grapefruit notes.