Discover Hard Cider at these 7 Salem Area Cideries
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Published October 26, 2020
During Colonial Times, hard cider (fermented apple juice) was the most commonly consumed beverage in America. Its popularity began to dwindle in the late 1800s, and the onset of Prohibition in the 1920’s ended its reign. Recent years, however, have seen a resurgence in hard cider production and consumption. Today, Oregon is home to more than 60 cideries, with retail sales of local and regional brands topping $17 million in 2017 – making Oregon the only state where local independent brands beat out national names.
In the Mid-Willamette Valley – already known for producing world-class wines and craft beers - cider makers have joined the artisan beverage movement, using the bountiful ingredients found in this rich agricultural region to produce premium products. Make plans to visit these Salem area cider makers soon:
Wandering Aengus Ciderworks (Salem)
Wandering Aengus Ciderworks was one of the first craft cideries established in Oregon and helped to spearhead the re-birth of cider in the nation. The company focuses on semi-dry and dry ciders, as well as fruit ciders and sweet ciders. They use fresh pressed common dessert apple varieties from Oregon and Washington for their Anthem Ciders. For the dry Wandering Aengus ciders, they use specialty bittersweet apple varieties grown by Salem's E.Z. Orchards.
"Our ciders are made the way people expect cider to be made: fermentation of fresh pressed apples, other fresh fruit and spices. We do not add sugar, acids or flavors," says owner James Kohn.
While their Southeast Salem tasting room is currently under construction, you can find their Wandering Aengus and Anthem Ciders in dozens of retail locations throughout Oregon including Roth’s Fresh Markets in Salem.
1859 Cider Co. (Salem)
After spending about 5 years making ultra-premium wines in the Willamette Valley, Patricia and Dan Fox decided to transition to hard cider. In 2015, they established the 1859 Cider Co. tasting room and production facility in downtown Salem. Dan and Patricia focus on ciders that are acidic and tannic, age well and often wild fermented. They use locally sourced fruit and like to "see what each vintage brings and tastes like before we decide what we'll source that year," says Patricia.
"Our ciders are made with integrity... and true to the land where the fruit was picked. We don't use sugar, syrups, concentrates or purees. We simply let the fruit shine,” she adds. 1859 ciders are available in the tasting room and taphouse in downtown Salem and at area restaurants and taphouses (on a rotating basis).
Ten Towers Cider (Salem)
With a passion for homebrewing, John Kruger thought he'd eventually open a brewery, but in 2012, after spending 3 1/2 years in the Middle East working with the Department of Justice, he returned to find that there were more than 250 breweries in Oregon. So, instead of making beer, he began experimenting with different varietals of apples. In 2017, John entered his cider in the GLINTCAP (Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition) as a new cidery, where he received a bronze medal. "My fate was sealed when I won a bronze medal," says John.
Ten Towers uses mostly dessert apples and pears from Hood River and Yakima Valley, with a small amount of heirloom apples to balance out acidity and tannin and give the ciders a complex flavor. While Ten Towers does not have a tasting room (yet), bottled ciders can be found in Roth's Fresh Food Markets and on tap at local taphouses including The Yard Food Park and Westside Taphouse (on a rotating basis).
La Familia Hard Cider (Salem)
The newest addition to the Salem area’s esteemed group of artisan cider producers is La Familia Hard Cider, owned and operated by the Gonzales family. The family settled in the Willamette Valley in the 1970’s. Food and drink have always been an important part of their culture and family gatherings, but they couldn’t find locally-produced alcoholic beverages that incorporated some of their favorite flavors – like Tamarind and Hibiscus - found in traditional Mexican agua frescas. So, the family started crafting ciders using original recipes from their mother, Lourdes Gonzalez. La Familia ciders are made using 100% Northwest apple juice and no artificial flavors. La Familia’s ciderhouse opened in June 2020 in downtown Salem, adjacent to Azuls Taco House.
E.Z. Orchards Hard Cidre (Salem)
While E.Z. Orchards Farm Market is regionally famous for producing and selling quality produce and baked goods (i.e. mouthwatering shortcake and freshly baked donuts), they have also made a name for themselves recently with their line of hard cidre. Kevin Zielenski has mastered the French method for making cidre. He crushes fruit grown in his family orchard and lets naturally-occurring yeast ferment the juice until it's finished, which requires months of maturation and precise knowledge of when to harvest and bottle. The award-winning cidre is available at EZ Orchards, which is open year-round, Monday through Saturday.
Bauman’s Cider Company (Gervais)
As early as 1910, Stephen Bauman was making cider using apples grown on the Bauman family farm. Many years later, while enjoying a hard cider in Alaska during a family fishing trip, Stephen's great grandaughter Christine Walter was struck with the thought "why aren't we fermenting our apple juice?"
Thus, in 2015, Bauman's Cider Company was born. At Bauman's, they use as much of their own produce as possible, including apples for the base cider, as well as peaches, pears and berries that they blend into different flavors.
The bulk of Bauman's ciders are considered modern ciders. "This means they are very approachable, easy to drink and quite tasty," says Christine.
Bauman’s offer a full spectrum of dry to sweet and enjoy blending in other fruits to make interesting combinations. They are also working to develop small batches of single varietal ciders, wild ferments and barrel aged ciders. Bauman's Cider is available on tap at the growler fill station located inside Bauman's Farm & Garden, as well as area taphouses (on a rotating basis).
Salt Creek Cider House (Dallas)
In 2017, during the Great American Solar Eclipse, Lindy and Carter Rickert opened their Dallas-based farm for camping with an added bonus: free cider tasting. Lindy and Carter reasoned that if complete strangers liked the hard cider they were producing as much as their family and friends praised it, maybe they could make a business out of it. The cider reviews came back really positive, so the family converted an old cattle barn on the property into a processing and tasting room.
Salt Creek Cider House opened in August of 2019. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic, walk around the orchards and watch the birds and other wildlife that flock to the property from nearby Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge.
Make it an Overnight Trip
With seven different cider producers in the Salem region, plus outstanding eateries and other unique attractions, you may want to make it a multiple-day excursion. Check out the many lodging options in the area.