Friday, May 23, 2014

Cider Summit Berkeley

Organized by SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective, Cider Summit banks on the ever-increasing interest in artisanal ciders in the US market and provides attendees the opportunity to taste a wide range of ciders from domestic and international producers. Cider Summit Berkeley was held on April 26th and was the first tasting event dedicated solely to cider in California.
As someone relatively new to the cider industry, I was excited to find out about Cider Summit. I've attended quite a few wine festivals over the years and think these types of events are not only important for building market presence and brand awareness, but also great for building a sense of community amongst producers.
The Berkeley event provided an interesting cross section of the cider market, not to mention an intimate atmosphere with great weather. Forty-one separate producers were represented, comprised of fourteen international, sixteen Californian, and eleven cideries from elsewhere in the United States. While there was so much delicious cider and great producers, here's a few I particularly liked:

Bristol's Cider - This cidery is a side project of the well-known Lone Madrone Winery in Paso Robles, California. They've been slowly growing there consumer base on the Central Coast as they increase production, and today offer a handful of ciders. I particularly liked their Blackbeard Cider: barrel aged in used bourbon barrels, producing a unique flavor profile.

Reverend Nat's Hard Cider - Based in Portland, Oregon, Reverend Nat's is a quirky brand with some fabulous ciders. Cidermaker Nat takes a lot of influence from beermaking, largely using ale yeasts for fermentation. Their range includes about a dozen different ciders, but they were only pouring a handful at the event. Their Hallelujah Hopricot and Deliverance Ginger were both great, but their Tepache was something special. The Tepache probably wouldn't be considered cider as it consists of partially fermented pineapples, piloncillo sugar, and spices. Nevertheless, it was tasty!

See Canyon Hard Cider - See Canyon is well known in Central California for its apples, so it's no surprise that it's home to a good cider (other cideries source apples from See Canyon, including Bristol's above). Their single cider offering is flavorful and crisp.

Sonoma Cider - Cidermaker David Cordtz, his son Robert, and Fred Einstein started Sonoma Cider just over a year ago and have already started attracting attention with their certified organic ciders. They currently offer three ciders. My favorite was the Hatchet, their normal apple cider which was refreshing and flavorful.

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