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Entries in Cider Event (11)


Cider Summit NW returns to Seattle for our 3rd annual festival ~ September 8th, 2012.

Join us at South Lake Union Discovery Center Lawn (near Westlake & Denny) in the heart of SLU on Saturday, September 8 from 11a-7p.

We are expecting a range of 60+ ciders from Northwest favorites and global selections from England, France, Scotland and Spain.  Food available from Whole Foods & Brave Horse Tavern.  Also featuring live music and a bottles-to-go store.

Admission includes a logo tasting glass and 10 drink tickets. 21 & over
only. For more information visit:


Washington Cider Week ~ September 8th - 16th, 2012 

Washington Cider Week is fast approaching and this year's edition is set to be bigger than our innaugural year by far.

Area Cidermakers are currently scurrying about helping gather details and make arrangments with each Washington Cider Week event host. I will tell you that I've seen the growing list of events, and there are a mess of them on there. Not only are there LOTS of events but event quality and creativity has been elevated too. There are events on both sides of the mountains. From Spokane to Seattle, to the Yakima Valley on over to Wenatchee, "Apple Capital of the World", and even in our state capital Olympia. Cider pride is finally starting to take off in Washington.

Cider Summit NW will once again be kicking off Washington Cider Week in a big way. They expect record numbers of attendees this year and the amount of cidermakers and ciders isn't getting any smaller either. Check it out. If you buy early and by early I mean before August 9th, 2012 you might find you are still eligible for one the 2 for 1 groupon specials floating around the internet. Find those here & here.

Details will start to break in the next week or so. You can check in at the Washington Cider Week page over at the Northwest Cider Association's website or follow along on twitter at @nwcider or follow them Facebook at I'll be posting updates as well so you are welcome to check back here too or find me on Facebook and Twitter.


Top Shelf Tasting Opportunity; Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival September 8th 2012

Is it seriously time to start announcing end of the Summer cider festivals? Hard to believe but here I am.

Planning for the 5th Annual Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival are officially underway. The festival is once again being held at Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. John’s, Michigan, and continues to be one of the premier places to taste a cultivated selection of North America's BEST craft ciders.

With orchards, fresh pressed juice, doughnuts, wholesome activities, and a down home atmosphere Uncle John's Cider Mill is an Autumn tradition to many a Michigan family... From the humble beginnings of fruit and juice Uncle John's has diversified into fermentinga selection of some of the best American ciders, and also offers winery selections, and more recently award winning apple spirits. If you enjoy cider, fresh or fermented, or even distilled Uncle John's should be on YOUR to-do list and what better excuse to visit that for the Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival.


When: Saturday, September-8th 2012 (Noon til 6pm)
Why: To promote & showcase the wide range of ciders made in this region and beyond.
Where: Uncle John's Cider Mill

View Larger Map

Mike Beck and crew do a first rate job at procuring some of the finest ciders from around the country. If you are a cidermaker and are interested in having your cider featured check out the attached PDF.

5th Annual Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival Call for Ciders


2011 Franklin County Cider Days Photos.

This past November I had the pleasure of attending Franklin County Cider Days once again. This was my second year in Western Massachusetts for Cider Days and the best one yet. I bet a say that every year too. Seriously if you are in the area, or can plan to be in the area do it. It is a THE BEST weekend of cider and apple related events available in the US. In Western Massachusetts apples just seem to be a part of the culture. There are small orchards, heirloom growers, specialty nursuries, cidermakers, and more tucked into this small pocket of the country. Make sure you take a few days to really explore the area. It truly is a treasure everyone should see once.

More on Franklin County Cider Days later...


16th Annual Franklin County Cider Days 2010 ~ Part 2 of 3.

Back to it.. Franklin County Cider Days Part 2 of 3.


The Conversation and Tasting with Leading Cidermakers.

The panel, I believe chosen by author Ben Watson was a classic set of cidermaking characters. There are other fine examples, but no doubt we had a terrific cross-section today's best cidermakers speaking. Cidermaking experience, all of them passionate about the craft, all positive role models and leaders in the North American cider community...  This might have been the best event of the day. Great cider tasting and great cider talk are two of my favorite things.


The Panel.

Who was on this esteemed panel of leading cidermakers?

As pictured above, from left to right: Judith Maloney - West County Cider, Steve Wood - Farnum Hill Cider, Diane Flynt - Foggy Ridge Cider, Nick Gunn - Wandering Aengus, Mike Beck - Uncle John's Fruit House Winery.


The Cider Tasting.

For the tasting portion(s) of the event each maker brought one choice selection from their offerings to pour. Ciders were presented one at a time. Each cidermaker talked a little bit about their selection, how they made it, varieties, blends and such. All followed by brief discussion from the panel. The ciders and each tasting also worked as a sort of improv topic and catalyst for further discussion on topics such as cider style and cidermaking theory. Cool stuff.


West County Cider Pippin James Kohn with Wandering Aengus Wickson Cider


Wondering which ciders were brought? I know I was curious.

  1. West County Pippin Cider
  2. Farnum Hill's Extra Dry Still
  3. Foggy Ridge's First Fruit Cider
  4. Wandering Aengus Wickson Single Varietal
  5. Uncle John's Fruit House Winery's Seasonal Baldwin Single Varietal


If you don't like big acid this wasn't your afternoon. In fact at one point Steve Wood, himself accused of giving Farnum Hill a sharp cutting acidity, hilariously exclaims "These ciders are ALL more acidic than mine!" And that might have been... Cider on the sharp side is my preference so I was right at home.


Each and every one of the ciders was great. Tops in fact. Collectively I recall that each was on the dry side, well balanced, high in acidity, complex, good tannin. All the major earmarks of a great cider. Individually each presented it's own unique character and flavor profile. I'd buy and drink up each one anytime. No problems.  If you have the chance to buy any of these selections don't hesitate to pick them up.


The Single Variety Ciders.

It was a real treat and a little unexpected to get the opportunity to taste two single varietal ciders in a sitting. It is rare and I know it isn't easy, but I like the idea that one apple can do it all. These two cider were both really great examples of what single variety ciders can be.


Uncle John's Baldwin Cider is in it's first ever bottling year and I have to say this cider really blew me away. The Baldwin apple turned out a shockingly well balanced single varietal cider. Sharp and I remember it having more tannin than you might expect from a popular heirloom variety. Really great cider. That cider might be my new favorite in the Uncle John's stable.


I've had the Wandering Aengus's Wickson a few times over the year and let me say I really do love this cider. It never ceases to amaze me. Pure joy. Cider nectar. Sweet-tart citrus aroma, smooth well-rounded flavor and a big body. Spicy. Sharp but not too sharp. Maybe too sharp for some. No one I know... I think one of the cool things about this cider is that the Salem Oregon based Wandering Aengus is using the West coast developed Wickson variety to craft what is a genuine West coast cider.


Diane Flynt and Nick Gunn. I don't recall what Nick was saying here but I'm pretty sure by the look on his face it was some rebutal aimed at Steve

The Discussion.

It was obvious that all the cidermakers were familiar friends and respected colleagues. They maintained a great chemistry, if they didn't all genuinely like each other they sure had me fooled.

Topics ran the spectrum. Everything one would expect or want to hear. Apples, orcharding, terrior. Some discussed their cidermaking process and shared theory. As there should be there was often varying and opposing opinions. To adjunct or not to adjunct, fermentation temperatures, using barrels, fermenting in barrels, blending at the press, blending after fermenting, nutrients, DAP, racking, aerating, filtering vs. unfiltered, carbonation forced or carbonation natural, pasteurizing good/pasteurizing bad. They seem to cover just about everything. When you consider the quality of all the ciders... All the answer you need was in the glass. There is no arguing that they all seemed to be doing something right.


West County Cider's Judith Maloney and Steve Wood from Farnum Hill Cider.That afternoon Judith Maloney shared the details of how longtime friend Steve Wood drove to West County Cider from New Hampshire each and every day after her husband Terry was tragically taken in an accident. Together Steve and Judith figured out what to do with the season's cider. She was ever so grateful and regardless of how embarassed Steve seemed, she was a woman determined to share the story. I thought was very touching and a terrific example of the great folks and unusual sense of community cidermakers seem too. I haven't had West County too often but Judith's Pippen Cider was easily on par with all the cider served that day. I can't wait to try it again.

Judith and Terry were one of the first to give cidermaking in America a serious try. They started CiderDays 16 years ago together as a way to celebrate and help bring to a close the end of the apple growing and cider pressing season. And they really did start something. CiderDays was by far the best cider event I've had the opportunity to attend. This year CiderDays and specifically the upcoming Harvest Dinner was in rememberance of Terry.

I can't say I knew Terry, but I wish I had. We did exchange a couple emails while I was searching for a place that shipped West County to Washington. Had I not gotten my hands on some he had offered to send it himself. He was passionate about cider and wanted to see it succeed. I've heard and read more than a few stories of Judith and Terry's generosity and cooperation helping the early craft cidermakers around the country. Thanks to Terry and Judith Maloney for giving all us cider drinkers and cidermakers so much.


Next up, thoughts on Cider Salon and the Harvest Dinner which will conclude the 2010 CiderDays posts.



Once again I'd like to mention that this weekend wouldn't have happened and was all made possible for me by the kind folks at Tieton Cider Works who offered to take me along and by doing so becoming my first ever "Cider Event Travel Sponsor". Super special thanks to Sharon, Craig, Cindy, Fred, and Marcus for their support. Their award winning ciders are becoming easier and easier to find every day.