An In-cider’s Guide to the Willamette Valley

Craft Cider, once deeply rooted in American tradition, is not only giving Oregon’s wine industry and craft beer scene a run for its money, it’s also creating new traditions right here in the Willamette Valley. As the leaves change color and the weather grows crisper, celebrate the season with a glass of handcrafted hard cider at these up-and-coming Willamette Valley cideries.

1859 Cider Co249 Liberty St NE #140, Salem, OR

Located in an alleyway in downtown Salem, you’ll find 1859 Cider Co.’s industrial styled taproom, where gleaming stainless-steel barrels of fermenting cider sit against the back wall. 1859 pays homage to Oregon tradition in a number of ways, not only through their name but also by locally sourcing all their ingredients just a stone’s throw from their taproom doors. Their flagship cider, aptly named Statehood, is crisp, slightly dry, and an easy drinker for those new to the cider scene. Their Chemeketan Pear is a very tasty semi-sweet pear flavored cider - a perfect choice for those who want to branch away from apples. Also, don’t forget Cherrian’s Hard Cider, made from juicy heirloom cherries grown by 6th generation farmers just outside of Salem.  

2 Towns Cider House33930 SE Eastgate Cir, Corvallis, OR

As one of the most widely distributed ciders hailing from the Willamette Valley, 2 Towns has grand ambitions but still remains committed to quality with “no shortcuts.” While their flagship Brightcider is more conventional in flavor, some of their other popular ciders are a bit more adventurous yet just as delicious. Take the Unfiltered Pacific Pineapple, or the Ginga Ninja - though these are highly original with very modern flavors, they are developed with traditional methods.

The taproom is located off Highway 34 just before Corvallis, and is an excellent place to meet with friends for a game of pool or a round of pinball. And don’t forget to check out the quirky vending machine in back, which features plastic vampire teeth, tarot cards, and... well you’ll just have to see for yourself!  

Carlton Cyderworks1036 NE Baker St, McMinnville, OR

Carlton Cyderworks brings business very close to home as they are a family owned and operated cidery dedicated to making traditional English-style cider from apples grown exclusively in their orchards. Some of their flagships include a whiskey barrel aged cider named Slake, and Citizen, an easy drinking semi-dry cider made from apples grown in Dundee. They also make batches of Estate Ciders, like French Lane, which exclusively features the apples of a single orchard by the same name. Their tasting room in McMinnville not only showcases their ciders, but it functions as a tap station with 36 rotating beers, soda and kombucha. Carlton Cyderworks also holds on to tradition by their dedication to transparency in their ingredients. While most ciders don’t list on the bottle the specific amount and type of apples used for each batch, you’ll find just such a list on every bottle, so you always know exactly what you’re drinking.  

Wildcraft Cider Works 232 Lincoln St, Eugene, OR 97401

WildCraft Cider Works is devoted to developing innovative, artisanal dry ciders inspired by traditional and wild methodology. Using whole fruit and botanicals grown in Oregon, and no artificial flavorings, sulfites or added sweeteners, guaranteeing a uniquely dry cider full of rich, earthy and floral flavors of Oregon.

E.Z. Orchards5504 Hazelgreen Rd NE, Salem, OR 

Salem’s E.Z. Orchards has farmed Roman Beauty apples in the center of the Willamette Valley since the 1920s. In 2000, proprietor Kevin Zielinski and his family planted French, English and heritage American apple varieties. Their fruit produces nuanced, sophisticated French-style cidre as well as American cider. “Like a wine made with great grapes, his products are worth every penny,” says McGrath.

Upcoming Cider Events this Fall

Cider Pressing at Thompson’s Mill - September 21st and October 26th, 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Learn a bit about the last water powered mill left in Oregon at Thompson’s Mills Oregon Heritage Site. Admission is free; donations accepted per gallon of cider. 

Harvest Fest  -  September 28th - October 31st

October is Harvestfest month at E.Z. Orchards. Started in 1996 as a way to bring people into closer contact with the fields, orchards and animals of E.Z. Orchards, we are still providing that “real contact” with the farm. Through the years we have added more and more features to our farm for you to experience.

McKenzie Beer and Cider Festival -  November 8th - 9th

If you’re a cider lover, be sure to check out the 7th annual McKenzie Cider and Craft Beer Festival in Springfield, Oregon on Friday and Saturday Nov 9-10th 2018. Featuring over 150 ciders and beers to try, all proceeds go towards helping youth within Lane County. Besides drinking delicious cider, there is a packed schedule full of cider-brewing classes, activities for kids and live music. So bring the family and drink a hard cider for a good cause.

Additional reporting by Autumn Kraxberger

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