Hard cider, like the craft beer scene and the farm-to-fork movement, is seeing a resurgence. It’s not surprising to find enthusiasts producing small batches by hand using locally sourced ingredients. The Apple Hill™ ranches, wineries, and other producers have embraced the hard cider movement with vigor.
Whether you’re looking to avoid scurvy, pay homage to American history, or explore a new way to get your ‘apple a day’, you’ll find a variety of hard ciders, ranging from bone-dry to sweet and mild, in El Dorado County’s Apple Hill™ region, which you can easily explore on the Hard Cider Trail!
This family-owned, solar-powered cider mill has been making freshly-pressed apple cider for nearly 40 years as Barsotti Family Juice Company. They’ve recently ventured into hard ciders, which you can taste at their cider mill on fall weekends. Enjoy varieties such as original dry or cold-brewed with hops on the premises or at several regional venues.
This Apple Hill™ winery doesn’t just boast amazing views and unique wines. You’ll also find some truly delicious hard cider. Their South Fork Apple Cider, made with Arkansas Black, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Pippin apples, is available with or without bubbles.
While Rainbow may be best known for its melt-in-your-mouth, made-to-order hot apple cider donuts, it’s also recently begun to produce hard cider made from the freshly pressed cider it produces in its on-site cider mill. It’s a well-known fact that apple cider donuts are best paired with hard cider.
Formerly known as Kids Inc (and home to the OMG-you-have-to-try-it-to-understand Walkin’ Pie), Delfino Farms has rebranded and developed new products, including its California-style dry hard cider, made from apples grown on the ranch and then barrel aged in French oak. The Walkin’ pie/cider pairing is one not to be missed.
The farm-to-fermenter movement may not roll off the tongue, but it’s the same concept as the farm-to-fork movement. Jack Russell Farm Brewery is a prime example, using their acres of apples, hops, blackberries, and blueberries to produce not just beer, but hard ciders along with meads. At the farm brewery location in Camino, you can taste an assortment of ciders (and meads) on their outdoor patio as well as buy bottles to take with you.
One of the most popular ranches in Apple Hill™ is home to a variety of adult beverages, including hard cider, cider champagne, apple wine, and even apple beer.
Hidden Star Camino is a taproom and bakery located in Camino, California. Its quaint barn taproom specializes in craft hard apple ciders and pours both glasses and flights from sixteen varieties. Jarred fruits and sauces line the shelves. Local favorite Shorty’s Doughnuts runs the bakery and features a wide assortment of doughnuts, pastries, and pies with an all-butter crust. A daily lunch menu offers delicious bites that pair perfectly with the unique ciders and meads on tap. Plenty of picnic tables and benches provide places to sit, relax, and enjoy the panoramic view. Among the pine trees, children will discover Kid’s Town a fun place to play and explore.
Learn more about the Hard Cider Trail and planning an Apple Hill™ trip.
Source: Sacramento Magazine