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Hard Ciders Pour From The Apple Capital of the World

Sometimes seen as country bumpkins next to Washington’s sophisticated wines, hard ciders are quietly making themselves at home in the heart of Washington State.  Served frosty, in shades ranging from pale pink to deep amber, ciders beckon with a subtle invitation.  But that doesn’t make them simple. Cider makers create deep and varied beverages that are fast becoming the hottest artisan drink from the “Apple Capital of the World."   

The cider story has been unfolding over the past decade in Central Washington.  Early adaptors include Kevin Van Reenan, owner of Pear Up, located in East Wenatchee. Van Reenan’s “perrys” helped establish the category in America and are now in Asia and Europe.  Rootwood Cider in Manson started grafting cider apples into their fourth generation family orchard around eight years ago. Today, they’re pouring at two visitor locations.  All through the region portions of family orchards are being repurposed to help the cider flow.  Some labels like Manchester Road, a consistent crowd favorite, are inspired by classic British beverages, others like Union Hill are innovating new territory.  The awards and results speak for themselves. 

On October 9, 2021, virtually all of the region’s hard cider makers will be pouring at the third annual Big Chill Cider and HarvestFest, staged this year for the first time at Pybus Public Market.  Celebrate the season with over 40 choices of cider from 14 labels along with displays, games, music, food, cider making and a free kid's harvest play area.  Discover the intricacies of cider and what to serve with it while visiting with the makers behind the flavors.  The Big Chill also hosts the biggest, annual cider pop-up store in Eastern Washington, offering virtually every Central WA hard cider including Pear Up, Rootwood, Manchester Road, ChelanCraft, Archibald James, Union Hill, Bad Granny, Phillippi, Ole Swede, Snowdrift, Steelhead, Barns Etc, Centre Ring, and introducing Watercore. 

From dry to sweet, from pear to apple, explore the newest and finest entries onto the local beverage scene at The Big Chill Cider and Harvestfest.  Tickets start at $25 for this outdoor event and can be purchased:  

by Rhona Baron, Exec. Director/Events,  Savor Central WA