Ultimately, cider is a regional product, and not every part of the country has access to the best varieties of apples to make it. Even if a grower planted an orchard today, it would be at least seven years before those trees produced their first fruit. Not only are Washington and Oregon two of the country’s biggest states for beer and wine, but the Pacific Northwest is leading the way with craft ciders, too. It makes sense, especially as Washington leads the nation in apple production (171 million bushels in 2018). Since it’s Monday, and Tacoma Beer Week is canceled, we thought our weekly cider to-go flight should be local. Welcome to Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight: Pierce County.
Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight: Pierce County
John and Tolena Thorburn adore craft beer. For 15 years they traveled the world drinking it. But, an oversaturated market led them to cider. Learning and enjoying the varying styles and flavors unique to each brewer and set of ingredients, the Thorburns applied that experience to years of homebrewing and cidermaking. In 2017, Fierce County Cider launched its first commercial operating space in a 97-square foot ciderhouse in Puyallup. The ciderhouse is built for efficiency, utilizing the latest brewing technology and equipment to allow lead cidermaker Tolena to create “fiercely” ciders, including Gin Gin Cran. The nano cidery’s second release, Gin Gin Cran is a light, semi-sweet cider with just a touch of tartness from the cranberry, balanced perfectly with fresh ginger flavor.
Since 2015, the Zehner family has made delicious, crushable cider, many from a dry-hopped apple base to pull out citrus aromas, from their plant in Auburn, and sold in their downtown Tacoma taproom. Incline Cider’s The Explorer Hopped is the base for many of Incline’s ciders. Hopped ciders are simply ciders with added hops. On the drier end of the scale while remaining smooth and well-balanced this cider is produced from a blend of Yakima apples. A hearty dose of hops is added in to create a floral nose followed by medium sweetness, apple juice with a little bit of hops flavor that adds to the crispness. The finish is almost totally tart and dry.
Brothers Richard and John Cockrell have been making cider and beer in their Puyallup homes for more than 27 years, sharing their craft with family and friends, as well as grabbing many local, state and national awards and accolades. As the brothers began planning for their retirement their fans begged them to go pro. Their hobby became Cockrell Hard Cider. Their crisp, tart and refreshing semi-sweet blackberry cider is made with local fruit for aromas and flavors of blackberry, apple, and baking spice.