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A countless number of times we have heard Sonoma County referred to as ‘Wine Country’. I would be preaching to the choir if I told you that this part of the world is also making some of the best beer. Now that we have that established, it’s time to open ourselves to the wonderful world of ciders.

Locally we have Ace Cider who has been making cider for many years in the Sebastopol area. Their first cider was released in 1994. Since that time Ace has released six different ciders which include the Apple Cider, Joker, Perry, Berry, Pumpkin, and Apple Honey ciders. They do have a tasting room which is open on a limited basis. See their website for hours and contact information. http://www.acecider.com/

More recently Tilted Shed Ciderworks was founded in 2011. Tilted Shed is in the process of moving from Forestville to Windsor where they will be tripling the size of the cidery so that they may expand production and open a tasting room. Ellen Cavalli, co-owner, plans on having presentations and workshops on cider and food pairings amongst other exciting tasting events when the new location is set. Tilted Shed is a small, family-run cider producer that is making ciders fermented from hand-sorted, fresh-pressed Sonoma County heirloom and traditional cider apples that are all organically grown. http://www.tiltedshed.com/

Sonoma Cider, located in Healdsburg, has exploded on to the cider scene.  Production of their certified organic ciders began in November, 2013. In the first five months Sonoma Cider had expanded its distribution to fourteen markets and is currently in seventeen states. The father and son team of David and Robert Cordtz (founders), along with Fred Einstein (founder), are the driving force behind Sonoma Cider’s early success. David has over two decades worth of knowledge in making wine and cider amongst other beverages. Robert’s mantra is “Honor, but challenge, thy father”.  There is currently no tasting room offered to the public but chances are that you can find The Hatchet Apple Cider, The Pitchfork Pear Cider and The Anvil Bourbon Cider at a retailer near you. http://sonomacider.com/

Two others that should be mentioned are:

Devoto Orchards out of Sebastopol. “We’ve grown nearly 100 varieties of heirloom and cider apples that we use in our farmstead cider blends”-Devoto Orchards

Murray’s Cyder out of Petaluma. “Established in Sonoma County, California in 1998 with the guiding mission of making the highest quality, old-world cider from only organic apples.  Our hand-crafted ciders are slowly fermented to fully express the intensity of the fruit and are aged to develop richness and complexity”-Murray’s Cyder

Those of you looking to cut down on your gluten intake should take in to consideration that cider is gluten free. The next time you find yourself in the mood to try something new pick up a cider.

- Peter Lopez

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