Nothing pairs better with warm spring weather than a tart, refreshing drink. And no one does tart and refreshing better than cideries and meaderies.
Like breweries who turn grain into IPAs, stouts and lagers, there isn’t just one type of cider or mead. Cideries and meaderies create a wide variety of styles using apples and honey from different orchards and gardens; if you think you’re not a fan, chances are you haven’t even scratched the surface.
Go deeper at these local spots for drinking cider and mead.
(Courtesy of @heidrunmeadery)
In 2012, the owner of Heidrun Meadery began transforming a old West Marin dairy farm into a honey bee oasis. Ten years later, the honey wine purveyor in Point Reyes Station is a wonderland of flowering plants that stretch like a multihued ocean as far as the eye can see. At its center is Heidrun’s patio where sparkling monoclonal and wildflower meads, like the tart and refreshing California Buckwheat Blossom and rich and complex Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Blossom, are available by the flight or the bottle. The raw material for Heidrun’s meads, honey from their bee colonies and others around the U.S., is also available at their sweet onsite mercantile.
// 11925 State Route 1 (Point Reyes Station), heidrunmeadery.com
Far West Cider Co.
(Courtesy of @kl_beer)
Far West Cider Co’s apples are grown on a 100-year-old, fourth-generation family farm in San Joaquin County. But it’s at the Richmond cidery where they go from innocent fruit to fermented hard ciders like the crisp and tart Nü Dry, the fresh and tropical You Guava Be Kidding Me, and The Odd Duck, a strawberry and sichuan peppercorn-infused cider in collaboration with SF’s Mamahuhu. Crack them open at Far West’s waterfront taproom, which shares the historic Riggers Loft Wine Company building and a calendar of live music and events, with four wineries.
// 1325 Canal Blvd (Richmond), farwestcider.com
Golden State Cider
(Courtesy of @cidercraftmag)
Sebastopol's Golden State Cider began with the region’s heritage apple, the gravenstein. And while that storied fruit still stalwartly serves the cidery (and forms the foundation of their gravenstein apple brandy), today they work with orchards across the West Coast to infuse each cider variety with its own unique terroir. Both perennial and seasonal styles—the flagship Mighty Dry, the IPA-inspired Mellow Green, and the cinnamon-and-vanilla-spiced Crimson Gold—are available at the Sonoma taproom, where they host regular live music and Thursday night trivia.
// 180 Morris St #150 (Sebastopol), drinkgoldenstate.com
Crooked City Cider
(Courtesy of @crookedcitycider)
Oakland’s Crooked City Cider is both a cidery and a cider house. Not only do they make their own style, the Crooked City Straight-Up Oakland Dry, they champion those of other small cideries around the country. There are 35 rotating taps that include cider options both classic and unique (think Hemly Sloughhouse Jalapeño or Blindwood Ginger Peppercorn), along with meads, kombucha, and a handful of beers thrown in for good measure. Pop in on Sunday afternoons when bottomless cidermosas are served from noon to 2pm along with brunch pizzas from Hesher’s. // 206 Broadway (Oakland), crookedcitycidertaphouse.com
(Courtesy of @upcidersf)
Upcider is a cider house, not a cidery. They don’t produce their own brand of cider, they stock the best on the market including bottles from hard-to-find, small-scale and international cideries like English Aspall Cyder, French Bordatto Etxaldea, and German Bembel. Stop by the cozy lower Nob Hill gastropub at dinnertime to pair their tart, refreshing elixirs with tasty sliders, flatbreads, and snacks like buffalo fries and caramel bread pudding. // 1160 Polk St, 2nd floor (Lower Nob Hill), upcidersf.com