A Toast to Washington Cider Week

wa cider week logo 2013Make plans to celebrate cider in September!

In celebration of craft ciders, The Northwest Cider Association (NWCA) has announced the third annual Washington Cider ‘Week’ Sept. 5 – 15, 2103.  Washington is one of six states in the U.S. celebrating a Cider Week this year, joining California, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Virginia. Fourteen Washington cideries are participating.

Cidermakers in Washington have a lot to celebrate. Several regional cideries, including Tieton Cider Works, have won major awards for their traditional dry ciders and perrys, while new blends featuring black currants, honey, hops, lavender and quince are giving cider fans plenty of unusual flavors to enjoy. Nationally, cider continues to be the fastest-growing segment of the beverage market. Hard cider, crafted from apples with the same careful attention that wine is developed from grapes, is naturally gluten-free, and makes use of fruit varieties that date back hundreds of years.

More than 75 activities and special menu items are planned throughout Washington State. For a complete schedule of events, visit http://nwcider.com.

Here are a few highlights of Washington Cider Week:

  • Tieton Cider Works announced their new, seasonal fall release, Smoked Pumpkin Cider. It hits retail shelves in seven states starting Thursday, August 29th.
  • Tieton Cider Works (TCW) has various events in the Valley for the celebration. Friday September 13th, their cider maker Marcus Robert will be at The Beer Shoppe in downtown Yakima for a tap handle take over where all four of their draft products will be served. Sunday September 8th, staff will be representing TCW at Apple Fest, a fundraiser for the Yakima School district. September 14th, TCW will be serving at Savor the Valley event at the Yakima Convention Center.   For a list of their events statewide check this posting.
  • Experience the two-day Northwest Cider Summit festival at South Lake Union’s Discovery Center Park, featuring 110 ciders, 59 of which have never been poured at the Cider Summit before.
  • Dine through three and four course prix fixe cider pairing dinners at the VUDE at South Lake Union and the Gastropod in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood.
  • Explore gluten-free menu choices paired with ciders at the Northwest’s newest cider bar, Capitol Cider.
  • Discover special ciders on tap at taverns from Yakima to Tacoma to Bellingham, and in the new pub at Whole Foods in Seattle’s on Westlake.
  • Taste menu items created especially to pair with particular ciders at Café Flora in Madison Park, Prima Bistro on Whidbey Island, and Terra Plata on Capitol Hill.
  • Complete an educational cider short course conducted by Chris Lehault, cider columnist for SeriousEats.com, at The Pantry at DeLancey in Ballard.
  • Follow cider-themed craft cocktail routes, making special appearances at Seattle bars and restaurants like Tavern Law, the Stumbling Goat, and Tilth.
  • Enjoy sweet and savory chocolate and cider pairings at Bravehorse in South Lake Union (featuring Theo Chocolates) and the Chocolate Box, near Pike Place Market.
  • Gather at casual events planned in the garden at Bottlehouse in Madrona and on the deck at Beveridge Place in West Seattle.

Another great way to celebrate the week is to take a trip along the Spirits and Hops Trail in the Yakima Valley.

The Northwest Cider Association is a trade organization representing 32 cider producers throughout the Pacific Northwest in Washington, Oregon, Montana and British Columbia. Memberships are also available to individual cider enthusiasts, as well as retail shops, restaurants and beverage distributors.

Getting the Love from Lonely Planet and Sunset Magazine

Lonley_planet_logoLast week Lonely Planet online posted a piece called “Exploring Washington’s Yakima Valley one beverage at a time.” We could not agree more! There are so many options now in the Valley, from ciders to wines.

Meanwhile, in the August issue of Sunset magazine the Valley was part of a road trip getaway story called “Northwest road trip: The ale and wine trail”.

sunset-cover-aug13-mOthers have written some great things about Yakima Valley adult beverages so check out this site for recent features. One of our favorites is the On the Hop Trail story penned by Yakima native Jackie Smith.

See you along the trail soon!

Case of the Blues and All That Jazz

https://i0.wp.com/yakimagreenway.org/blues/2013/COTB-logo.png“Summertime and the livin is easy,” as the Gershwin song goes. What better way to enjoy this easy going season than a warm evening under the stars along Yakima’s famed greenway?

A Case of the Blues and All That Jazz is a blues and jazz festival benefiting the community through the Yakima Greenway Foundation and Junior League of Yakima. Held each August since 1993 in Sarg Hubbard Park, the festival features blues and jazz music, award-winning local wines, microbrews, spirits, delicious food and a silent auction.

This year the festivities are Saturday, August 17th 4-11 P.M. and the line up of music has never been better. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. See you there!

Hard Cider Has Long History in the USA

Hard cider (also called cider) is an alcoholic drink made from juices of apples, pears and other fruit. In the past it was a major beverage of choice in the USA .

In the early 1700s, New England produced more than 300,000 gallons of hard cider per year (nearly 20,000 kegs). Hard cider was popular in those days with folks drinking more than 30 gallons a year.

Hard cider continued to be a beverage of choice in America until the early 1900’s, when German and other immigrants brought with them a taste for beer.  Prohibition in the 1920s made production and distribution of alcohol illegal in the US. As a result, most cider orchards were converted to other crops and uses.

Today, hard cider consumption represents less than 2% of adult beverage consumed, but it is regaining popularity.  It’s  unique and refreshing, comes in many flavors and is a gluten-free alternative to beer. Sorry hop heads, hard cider is usually lower in calories than craft beers and high in antioxidants.

Here along the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail we are lucky to have Tieton Cider Works.  Located about 30 minutes west of Downtown Yakima in apple orchards, Tieton Cider Works has a great story and produces an array of tasty, award winning ciders.  There are many outlets where you can find their products.  They’re also available at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center.

So here’s a toast to the return of hard cider. Let’s hope it continues to grow in popularity.

Take A Trip Through The Yakima Valley Hop Fields

Hop farmHop heads in Seattle or Western Washington, take note!

Schooner Exact Brewing is planning a field trip to the Yakima Valley to not only witness the harvest, but to also participate in the harvest. They’ll transport you and your friends from Seattle to the Virgil Gamache Hop Farm, the Toppenish area hop farm famous for creating the Amarillo hop.

After an exclusive tour, you’ll sit down to a gourmet picnic prepared on-site by their Chef. Attendees will also have the once in a lifetime opportunity to pick hops straight from the bine and help brew a truly FRESH hop beer. Of course, there will be plenty of beer available throughout the day to quench your thirst.

Date: September 7, 2013 – 9:00 AM- 9:00 PM

For the ticket price of $200/person, you will receive:

• a continental breakfast prior to departure

• round-trip transportation on a luxury coach, from Seattle to the Yakima Valley

• a seasonal, fresh gourmet picnic, prepared by Schooner EXACT’s Chef Warren Peterson

• an opportunity to harvest fresh hops straight from the bine

• participate in brewing a batch of Fresh Hop IPA

• an exclusive tour of Virgil Gamache Hop Farm during their busiest and most exciting time of year

• a commemorative bottle of the beer* you helped brew

Space is limited. To purchase your tickets,  visit Schooner EXACT Brewing at 3901 1st Ave. S., in Seattle or contact them at (206) 432-9734.

*to be picked up at the brewery when the batch is ready

For more information on the Yakima Valley hop industry, craft breweries, cideries and distilleries visit the Spirits and Hops Trail website.