When Vincent Sterne started Two Rivers Cider Co. in Sacramento, California, cider was hardly a gleam in the West Coast beverage industry’s eye. A longtime homebrewer and certified beer judge, Sterne began producing cider in a region better known for its affinity of wine and craft beer. More than 20 years have past and the craft cidery is still proudly pressing apples sourcing from nearby Camino, California, orchards that sit between the foothills of Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, in addition to fruit from the Pacific Northwest and coastal California.
The average sample platter of ciders from Two Rivers’ tasting room pops with infusions of vibrant pinks (pomegranate), robust orange (blood orange) and deep blues (huckleberry), but one for the “true cider enthusiast” is the Dry English. The seasonal, barrel-aged cider — with its 2016 apples likely embracing oak now — spends time in American and French barrels over winter for aromas of toffee, vanillin, wood spice and cherry. Red and golden apple flavors resonate initially, but caramel and banana rule the roost through the fruit-forward mid-palate and onto the finish, remaining dry as advertised, with simple acid for mindful, but easy drinking.