Yesterday was a beautiful day in downtown Seattle. We biked down to the NW Cider Summit and enjoyed an early afternoon of hard ciders from across the world, though mainly focused on the Northwest.
Though my heart remains firmly in love with Woodchuck Cider (made in Middlebury, VT) there were some pleasant surprises that I really enjoyed at the festival.
1) Carlton Cyderworks (Oregon)- Duke
This was the clear winner yesterday at the festival. A beautiful and tasty apple-blueberry cider. A nice balance of sweetness and tannins. Unfortunately, the maker does not currently sell outside of Oregon. We hope that he remedies that soon.
2) Blue Mountain (Oregon)- Eden Ridge Sweet
This cider came just from apples but managed to balance a sweet taste with a slightly dry aftertaste. Quite pleasant and one of the few ciders I tasted that I could imagine drinking an entire bottle.
3) Wandering Aengus (Oregon)- Any Type
I know it seems like I’m giving undue credit to Oregon ciders, but they truly shined at the event yesterday. Wandering Aengus offered a wide variety of different products, including some experimental varieties. I particularly enjoyed a cider made with hops that was mild, but also really tasty. Another cider that mixed pear and apples was really delicious. The Wanderlust included hints of ginger and was really nice. Would work perfectly with a plate of prepared food.
4) Red Barn Cider (Washington State)- Sweetie Pie
My favorite true Washington State cider came from the Red Barn Cider company. Though they only had two varieties of cider for tasting, I really thought the “Sweetie Pie” was a clean flavor profile that would be nice at a dinner party. Also worth noting is the design of the bottle. It was eye-catching, which is always important during the selection process in supermarkets.
I was encouraged by the wide variety of cider available at the festival. However, attendance was pretty sparse and there was never an overwhelming crowd. The glass we were given was cheap plastic and kind of disappointing. Additionally, the European ciders were far below the American ones in my eye. Below is a view of the festival.