Cider in the sun

seattle food writer

Until very recently, I’ve always thought of cider as “chick beer” — overly sweet, and, quite frankly, a lame substitute for beer haters.

My, how that opinion has changed in the last few months.

I picked up on a new trend in Washington booze-making: the increasingly hot market for local craft cider, and with that, an astounding quality that I had no idea could exist.

I’ve since written about the trend in Seattle Weekly (plus soon-to-be-published articles for Forbes and Puget Sound Starts Here) and have tried a whole mess of ciders from artisans around the state. I recently sampled quite a few at Summer Cider Day, put on by the Northwest Cider Association. It was a fantastic opportunity to try ciders from start-up companies (some of whom have yet to get their ciders distributed), and cidermakers from parts of the state I’ve never laid eyes on.

The event was much different from over-crowded beer fests with long lines, which is what I expected. It was way more high-brow, akin to a wine tasting. It helped that it was held inside the lovely Maritime Science Center, all wood-beamed and nautical, overlooking the beach and in sight of the ferries making their way back and forth to Whidbey Island. The Olympic Mountains peered out of a blue haze. I couldn’t imagine a prettier place to drink cider.

Then, my cider-loving pal Leigh and I wandered around Port Townsend, sporting giddy buzzes from a combination of booze and sunshine. We walked on a pier overlooking the charming Victorian seaside town, and ate an incredible lunch of fried oysters and fish-n-chips. I hadn’t done much exploring last time I was in Port Townsend for a quick interview, but now that I’ve seen a bit more of the town, I promise to be back — hopefully for more than just a day next time.