I spend a lot of time researching, thinking, talking, tasting and drinking cider. As editor-in-chief of this magazine and two other publications we produce, I can’t say I am teeming with spare time but when I get a moment, I like to cook. My husband is the more adept knife wielder in the kitchen and risotto is certainly one of his honed specialties — so when I took over the helm for the evening, he was cautiously (and carefully) glancing over my shoulder.
Maine is home to over 15 makers of cider and all fall into the southern portion of the state. In the physical middle of the pack, Norumbega Cidery sits on a family farmstead — complete with pigs and crops — in New Gloucester, about 35 minutes north of Portland. The Fralich family got their first apple trees in the ground in 2014, following the growing orchard with a farm-style ciderhouse and the resulting ciders.
Virginia is for lovers, and has been since the adage was coined in 1969. But Virginia has been for cider lovers since the commonwealth was formed in the founding of America, with patriots like Thomas Jefferson and his Monticello orchard outside Charlottesville leading the way.
Ingenuity is nothing new in the Pacific Northwest, home of Amazon, Nike, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and also the modern hopped cider movement. The Pacific Northwest was predicted to bring in nearly 96 percent of the United States’ total hop harvest for 2016 (numbers are yet to be released), with fruit-forward, citrusy varieties like Cascade, Mosaic and Galaxy topping the charts and moving into cideries as complementary adjuncts to the featured fruit.
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.
The final frontier: visuals for the state of Montana are often illustrated by snow-capped mountains, rushing rivers, lackadaisical bison and burly, bearded men rocking plaid attire at all times. But another image is also cropping up in Montana’s picturesque landscape: apples. With the Bitterroot Valley leading the charge on growing culinary and heirloom apples, Montana has eight registered apple orchards and five cideries, with two more on the way in 2017.
The Methow Valley (pronounced met-how) is burrowed in the foothills of the North Cascade mountain range, a popular recreational destination in north-central Washington State and one of the region’s main apple-growing regions. Many late-season varieties grow in these steep riverside orchards that see shorter growing days and cooler temperature. On the banks of the Methow River, outside the town of Twisp, is the family farm and cidery of Sixknot Cider.