Monday, March 14th, 2022

Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight: Washington Pioneers


Long before Washington state had legal weed, it had apples. In 2008, Craig Campbell and his wife, Sharon, began experimenting with making cider from dessert apples grown in their 400-acre Eastern Washington commercial fruit orchards. They opened Tieton Cider Works. Since then, the Pacific Northwest craft cider scene has exploded. Add to all the great Washington and Oregon cider our sparkling blue skies, stunning scenery, and plenty of places to hike, bike and otherwise work off our cider bellies, and there’s no place in the world to drink craft cider. In celebration of the Northwest Cider Association’s 2022 NW Cider Symposium at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center today and tomorrow, Peaks & Pints presents a flight of Washington state ciders — Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight: Washington Pioneers — to share at our craft lodge or enjoy at home.

Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight: Washington Pioneers

Whitewood Switchel

5.2% ABV

David White started his production-only Olympia cidery in 2011 with business partner Heather Wingwood, with their first cider release in 2012. In May 2013, Whitewood Cider Company opened for business in Olympia, the only craft cidery between Seattle and Portland. The McIntosh apple was developed in Ontario, Canada in 1798. Whitewood collaborated with Timber City Ginger Beer on their Switchel made from a cider base fermented with 100 percent Northwest grown apples, blended with Apple cider vinegar, and a concentrated fresh ginger brew addition from Timber City for a full flavored, crisp, refreshing, sweet, sour, and spicy cider.

Tieton Cider Lavender Honey

6.5% ABV

Tieton has been growing apples in the Yakima Valley for three generations. Craig Campbell’s grandfather planted apple trees in the 1920s, but it was until 2008 when he and his wife, Sharon, began growing cider apples on their Harmony Orchards in Tieton, Washington. They launched Tieton Cider Works in 2009, with the intent to maintain their practices of being good stewards of the land. The Campbells’ Lavender Honey cider is made with Yakima Valley sourced honey and whole lavender buds. The lavender in this cider is slight but it’s there and the honey gives it a great mouthfeel and, well, balance.

Finnriver Black Currant

6.5% ABV

In addition to growing a certified-organic heirloom-variety apple orchard on their historic 50-acre farm in Chimacum, Washington, Finnriver Farm & Cidery co-owners Keith and Crystie Kisler, co-owner Eric Jorgensen, head cidermaker Andrew Byers, and crew have been farming and fermenting on the acreage since 2008. They grow organic veggies and fruits, which in turn are sold at local farmer’s markets and through Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. They even operate a grainery — growing and milling their own wheat crops into organic flours, which Port Townsend bakers and restaurants appreciate. Finnriver is also a certified B corporation, meaning that a positive impact on society, workers, the community, and the environment are no less important goals than generation of profit. Finnriver makes small batches of Black Currant cider year-round, featuring cider fermented on the farm using 100 percent organic apple juice pressed from Washington apples. They ferment the apple juice in stainless steel tanks, then blend with black currant and unrefined organic cane sugar for additional depth, sweetness, and flavor. Expect bright apple fruit balanced by berry complexity, sweet and sour notes, with a light sparkle and purple blush.

Seattle Cider Pineapple Agave

6.5% ABV

Joel VandenBrink, the founder of Two Beers Brewing Co., launched the Seattle Cider Company in August 2013, with the help from his Two Beers sales rep and a former farm hand Eric Willard. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which makes beer difficult to digest, VandenBrink launched the cider company with only two products: Semi Sweet and Dry. Today, Seattle Cider has many options, including Pineapple Agave. Ripe and juicy pineapple aroma, soft tartness, and subtle tropical sweetness lead to a clean finish in this perfect vacation sipper.

Alpenfire Yarlington Mill

6.8% ABV

At age 19, Nancy and Steve “Bear” Bishop would go on dates to Canada. They fell in love with cider. After making cider as hobbyists for many years, in 2001 they took a trip to the cider making regions of Spain, France, and England to observe commercial operations. When they returned home, Steve and Nancy took a class at WSU from an English cider master, and ordered 900 French and English cider trees, which started their journey into commercial cider making and the founding of Alpenfire Cider (previously named Wildfire Cider). Located in Port Townsend, the Bishops, including their son and sales director, Philippe, adore showing people around their orchard, where they grow three French and five English cider apple varieties as well as many heritage and dessert apples. Their Yarlington Mill is a true bittersweet with great aromatics, smooth yellowish skin, slightly blushed with a hint of russeting in the cavity. Expect light astringency and sweet candy-like flavors.

LINK: Peaks & Pints cooler inventory