Cider bars are trending. These craft destinations aren’t just beer bars with a couple of ciders on tap, either. Venues such as The Northman in Chicago or Wassail in New York City are dedicated cider bars pouring curated draft and bottle lists. Like craft-beer bars, cider bars offer an array of cider flavors and styles and feature cidermakers from across the globe. Here are twelve of them to seek out.
This European-style tavern in Lincoln Square is known well as Chicago’s first cider bar. It brings together an extensive list of ciders on draft in and bottles with a menu inspired by dishes from Spain, France, and England. The Northman also offers a cider class series called Cider School and a calendar full of special tappings and guests.
(New York, New York)
Wassail means good health, the drink, and to sing. “Now it also means a cider bar and restaurant on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side,” says this cider bar’s website. Wassail offers more than ninety ciders on draft and in bottles, and an inventive lineup of apple-based cocktails. The menu is inspired by cuisines of cidermaking regions. Wassail is a must-visit destination for cider lovers visiting The Big Apple, all puns intended.
(Fort Collins, Colorado)
This humble watering hole in Fort Collins is owned by a graduate of the Cider and Perry Academy in Hartpury, England. Jennifer Siewald makes her own cider under the label Summit Cider and serves an array of ciders on tap and in bottles. At the bar and at each table is a book of information about all of the ciders on tap and in bottles, facts about each cider producer, and the history of the beverage. Cider connoisseurs will be hard-pressed to find a more eclectic diverse group of ciders on tap (try the Dances with Squirrels, made with McIntosh apples and local crabapples), and beer lovers will find a nice selection of local beers on tap as well as some hopped-up ciders such as Hopricot.
(Asheville, North Carolina)
This family-owned Asheville cider company also offers guest bottles of hard cider, local beer, wine, and gluten and dairy-free snacks in its tasting room.
(San Francisco, California)
Cider bar meets gastropub for the ultimate cider and food pairing at Upcider in San Francisco. The beverage menu boasts a huge variety of American craft ciders and an international bottle list organized by country.
Portland wins the award for most cider bars in one city—The Pearl District’s Cider Bite included. There are thirty-two ciders on tap at this cider house, the majority of which are made in the Pacific Northwest.
Lost Valley Cider Co.
This cider company, bottle shop, and tasting room pours more than twenty taps of cider and offers the largest selection of cider bottles and cans in Wisconsin.
Mullers Cider House
(Rochester, New York)
This quaint bar serves more than 100 cider varieties. Don’t leave without trying some of Mullers’ world-famous kettle corn.
(Long Beach, California)
Known as Southern California’s first cider bar, Great Society is owned by home cider, beer, wine, and cheese makers. The bar is focused on cider and mead, with an impressive lineup of rare and small-batch selections. Don’t miss Great Society’s new Cider Brunch.
This cidery, restaurant, pintxos bar, and tasting room are owned and operated by beer-industry veterans committed to curating the largest selection of ciders and perry from around the world.
Black Twig Cider House
(Durham, North Carolina)
This Durham cider bar is well known in the South for having the largest variety of cider on tap in the region. It has more than eighty ciders available on draft and in bottles and a menu of elevated sandwiches and other small plates. Black Twig offers several North Carolina–made ciders including Fishing Creek Cider Co. and Flat Rock Cider Works.
Griffin Cider House & Gin Bar
It’s not every day you walk into a cider house slash gin bar, especially in Ohio. With ten ciders and craft beer on tap and a huge selection of craft gins, this comfortable bar doesn’t disappoint.
Dry hopping, wild yeasts, and barrel aging are all fair game for New School cidermakers. To learn more about craft cider, check out the Fall 2014 issue of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Get your back issue today!
PHOTO: COURTESY VIRTUE CIDER