Farmlife in Central Washington, like many places, is one of utilization. In springtime, when everything is blooming and the bees are buzzing, the team at Tieton Cider Works begins brainstorming about what ingredients to add to their farm-based seasonal cider line, a program launched to curate to the Yakima cidery’s consumer demand. This year, the characteristics of spring were all they needed for inspiration: flowers and honey to create the Lavender Honey.
Fun fact: over 300 hundred breweries call Colorado home. This boils down to 10 percent of the United States’ brewery total, from a state that only clocks in for 2 percent of the country’s population. The Denver metro area boasts nearly 100 breweries, so it would make sense that Denver-based cideries would aim to quench the thirst of the masses with hopped beverages of their own.
When Bud and Mary Shelton retired and built a home on a small farm in Virginia’s Albemarle County, it was unlikely they knew the North Garden property would turn into one of the more respected vintage apple farms in Appalachia. With 20 fruit trees as the original orchard, two of their children, Charlotte and Chuck, took the site next level after attending several heirloom apple tastings conducted by apple legend Tom Burford.
The Bramley apple variety is a rarity in North America. Almost exclusive to the United Kingdom with a storied history of its own (the original tree hails from accidental planting by a young girl), the apple is grown in minuscule counts here — something 1859 Cider Co. in Salem, Oregon, saw as a peerless opportunity to ferment.
Community is big in Portland, Oregon. The local food and drink movement here fuels much of the craft beverage machine, with the majority of beer drinkers consuming Oregon-made beers and Portland regularly listing in the top three cider-drinking cities in the United States. Bringing together local and beverage, the team at Cider Riot! is adding another collaboration to its catalog, the Lullaby of London.
Most young adults have no idea what they want to do with their lives until they hit their 30s and, even then, decisions are questioned. For Autumn Stoscheck, she was 21-years-old when she founded Eve’s Cidery. Tired of waiting tables and following her unlikely desire to prune apple trees for a living, she connected with sixth generation farmer James Cummins on his New York U-pick orchard and the cidery was born.
If you haven’t heard, it’s Cider Week in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The six-day citywide revelry of cider, particularly those from Michigan, kicked off Monday and coincides with the 12th annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, the world’s largest cider judging this weekend. About 10 miles east of Grand Rapids is the township of Ada, home to the trees of Sietsema Orchards and Cider Mill.
Any given harvest at Eastman’s Forgotten Ciders in Wheeler, Michigan, is a rare one. The small, family-operated cidery exclusively produces its ciders from the apples on its estate orchard, Eastman’s Antique Apples, which plays host to more than 1,200 varieties of rare, elusive and heritage apples. Hailing from Russia, Turkey, Germany, France and England, many of the apples have found a new home in this orchard, and hardly anywhere else.
Inspired by “proper farmhouse ciders” of Spain, England and France, Virtue Cider launched in 2011 with Michigan apples at the center of the fruit-driven philosophy. A secondary, yet still major, component to Virtue’s cider school of thought is the use of barrels — each cider produced by the Fennville cidery is aged in some sort of oak vessel, from bourbon to French oak barrels.