Joe Thibodeaux

Joe Thibodeaux

WEEKEND: Cider Day to go down easy in Port Townsend on Saturday

PORT TOWNSEND — The second annual Summer Cider Day in downtown Port Townsend will feature at least 30 different varieties of hard cider, including a few created by cidermakers from other regions of the U.S.

The event will be at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets are $25 per person, or $20 for Northwest Cider Association members, with each ticket paying for 10 tastings and a keepsake Northwest Cider Association glass.

Entry is free for youths 16 and younger.

Admission for those between 17 and 21 and for designated drivers is $5 at the door. Nonalcoholic beverages such as lemonade and apple cider will be available.

Additional tasting tickets will be available for purchase at the event, and a cider shop will be on the premises.

“The cider is better than ever,” said Nancy Bishop, co-owner of Alpenfire Organic Cider in Port Townsend.

“We have a bigger selection and more support from the community because local restaurants are getting involved and making some special recipes that go with cider.”

Matt Sircely & New Forge will perform live music at the event.

The new location at the maritime center represents another advantage from last year’s site at Fort Worden State Park, according to Bishop.

“It’s inside, so if it rains, we won’t get wet,” she said.

Cider association

Cider Day is sponsored by the Northwest Cider Association, an aggregation of 14 regional cider producers, with proceeds used to educate the public about the increasingly popular beverage.

“A lot of people think that cider is a type of fruit juice, and they don’t know that it contains alcohol,” Bishop said.

“It’s not at all like fruit juice; it’s closer to wine or beer.”

Cider Day features nearly a dozen cidermakers from the Pacific Northwest, including Alpenfire, Eaglemount and Finnriver — all located in East Jefferson County and offering open tasting rooms through the weekend.

The ciders are naturally gluten-free and commonly feature unusual heirloom apple varieties, so they can vary from being as bubbly as Champagne to being as tart as a lemon to bursting with pure fruit flavor like an apple pie.

Like wine, some years are great, others not so much.

“It all depends on the crop,” Bishop said.

“You can end up with a deep apple flavor with a lot of sugar with a good crop, the next year if it’s a dry season, the flavor could be thin and bitter.”

Bishop said there are some ciders that are not worthy of the name as they are made using chemicals and water instead of fresh fruit.

The association has published a new route map showing their locations that is available on the association’s website,

Full Throttle Bottles, a specialty bottle shop in Seattle, has sponsored this year’s Cider Day keepsake glasses, providing attendees with unique souvenirs.

Event sponsors are Port Townsend Pourhouse, the Port Townsend Food Co-op, Gooding O’Hara & Mackey, the Ajax Cafe, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and Alchemy Bistro and Wine Bar.

Additional sponsors for the event are the Olympic Culinary Loop, Castle Key Restaurant & Lounge, the Getables shop and Ray’s Pharmacy on Orcas Island.

For more information, visit


Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

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