Hard cider gaining in popularity with craft beer drinkers

Jul 5, 2013, 10:54 AM | Updated: Jul 7, 2013, 10:07 pm
Reverend Nat's Hard Cider is among the craft ciders sparking a resurgence in the alternative to beer and wine. (Reverend Nat's Hard Cider image)
(Reverend Nat's Hard Cider image)

If an apple a day can keep the doctor away, what can a bottle of hard cider do for you? A lot more drinkers are starting to find out as craft cider continues to show up in more and more local bars, restaurants, and stores.

Among those sparking the cider resurgence is Nat West, the founder of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider in Portland. And the flavors he concocts are far from what many have come to expect from cider.

“I make dry and off-dry ciders only and in small batches. If you’ve had cider in a 12-ounce bottle, don’t expect the same taste here,” West tells KIRO Radio’s Let’s Eat.

Co-hosts Terry Jaymes and Providence Cicero have plenty of praise for several of West’s creations after doing a little tasting of their own, including Deliverance Ginger and Hallelujah Hopricot, the cider maker’s best seller. And while ciders can be made to resemble either beer or wine in style, West says craft beer drinkers tend to gravitate most to ciders.

“It’s a bit of a cross over for craft beer drinkers in that it is dry. There are a lot of sweet ciders out there,” says West. “We only make dry ciders, it’s hoppy, we use Cascade hops, which is a pretty floral, pretty fragrant hop.”

West also uses a French saison yeast in Hallelujah Hopricot, a popular ingredient for many craft brewers.

“I think craft beer drinkers are more apt to try new things than wine drinkers,” he says. “We see cider as becoming a complement to other great craft beer being made.”

Making a fine cider can be as complex as the best beers and wines. West uses a variety of ingredients, including raisins, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to make a spicy, wine-like profile for his Providence Traditional New England hard cider. The Hallelujah Hopricot marries coriander, bitter orange peel, and paradise grains with its yeasts and hops. But the one constant in all his ciders is apples.

West tries to use a special apple grown specifically for cider, but they’re much rarer than traditional culinary apples.

“These apples are generally inedible. They’re dry, small, pithy, have thick skins, and are extremely strong flavored. Oftentimes, they’re called spitters, i.e. you take a bite and spit them out,” he says.

But West also puts Washington’s best apples to good use. His flagship Revival Dry features equal measures of American heirloom eating apples along with English bittersweet apples. And he prides himself on sourcing all of his ingredients locally.

“They’re a really great price, very high quality all year long because we have such great access to Eastern Washington packing houses. I wouldn’t be making hard cider if I lived in Oklahoma,” he says.

The process is painstaking.

“Some of our ciders are aged for many, many months or as much as two years.” Some are aged in oak, others in food-grade plastic. And while most end up in large wine-sized bottles, demand is growing for kegs. The founder of a newly opened bar dedicated to ciders called Capitol Cider on Seattle’s Capitol Hill recently drove to West’s Portland distillery just to pick up a few for his place.

“He is one of the only people to ever have kegs of Reverend Nat’s at his bar,” says West.

But given the growing popularity of ciders, like Reverend Nat’s, that’s likely to change in the not too distant future.

Let’s Eat with Terry Jaymes and Providence Cicero can be heard on KIRO Radio every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday at 12:00 p.m. or on demand at KIRORadio.com.


No Author

Enter to win Ringo Starr Tickets!

KIRO Newsradio has your chance to win two tickets to see Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band. They’re coming this fall to Benaroya Hall in Seattle on Tuesday, October 11th, 2022! See Ringo Starr live with Steve Lukather, Colin Hay, Warren Ham, Gregg Bissonette, Hamish Stuart and Edgar Winter. The band is excited to play after […]
1 month ago
Kalles Junior High (Kalles Junior High PTSA Facebook)...
Dori Monson

Dori: ‘A huge step backward,’ says Puyallup mom of school meeting reserved for BIPOC community

"Alarming” and “surreal” are words a Puyallup mom uses to describe an event to discuss racism in Puyallup schools.
2 months ago
Worker Ruslan Trishchuk, 40, smokes a cigarette while taking a break outside the crematorium of Bai...
Associated Press

As Mariupol hangs on, the extent of the horror not yet known

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — As Mariupol’s defenders held out Monday against Russian demands that they surrender, the number of bodies in the rubble of the bombarded and encircled Ukrainian city remained shrouded in uncertainty, the full extent of the horror not yet known. With communications crippled, movement restricted and many residents in hiding, the fate […]
2 months ago
Sounder train...
MyNorthwest Staff

Sounder trains canceled between Seattle and Everett for landslide

Sound Transit has canceled Sounder N Line service between Seattle and Everett until Thursday due to a landslide that has covered the tracks.
5 months ago
Seattle garbage...
MyNorthwest Staff

Garbage, recycling pickup resumes for Seattle area

Garbage and recycling pickup resumes in Seattle after last week's snowstorm.
5 months ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Monday commuters to face icy roads across Puget Sound region

Freezing temperatures have settled in over Western Washington after a day of several inches of snow for most locations, creating an ice rink for commuters on Monday morning. 
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Hard cider gaining in popularity with craft beer drinkers