There's a thin beltway encircling the globe in which all of the world's apples are grown, and Washington State shines as that apple beltway's buckle. Our state's panoply of apple orchards produce more than half the apples Americans eat fresh every year, as well as the nation's best apples for pieing, juicing, jamming, and saucing. And now, more and more of our great state's great apples are being made into great cider—the fermented, gets-you-drunk kind.
Since 2009, the Northwest Cider Association has grown from five cidermakers to more than 30. In the last three years, these regional cidermakers have trucked the fruits of their labor to Seattle for Washington Cider Week, a 10-day Oktoberfest for apples. If you're not already a convert, these cidermakers are out to change your mind about cider: It doesn't all taste like the sugar-heavy ones cranked out by large manufacturers like Hornsby's and Woodchuck (the Budweiser and Coors of ciders, respectively). In general, good cider should not taste like a boozy Jolly Rancher. It should taste like apples.