Great Society & Mead, Long Beach, California
This gastropub, Great Society & Mead located in Long Beach's East Village Arts District, is a husband and wife collaboration of a love of hard cider and fine casual food—the duo spending most of their time working with staff and talking to customers to keep things running smoothly. With 20-plus taps to choose from, the attentive crew behind the bar will educate you to your heart's desire. This time of year, the seasonals sell out quick. Order the 2 Towns Hollow Jack from Oregon alongside a heaping charcuterie board. Itching to hit the road? Here are the best travel destinations for fall.
Bantam Cider, Somerville, Massachusetts
With a mission statement that says, "We're on a mission to help shape the world of modern day cider. We are small but mighty...we are BANTAM!" you better bet Bantam Cider has some sensational stuff up their sleeves. The taproom features eight rotating taps that exhibit utter innovation in the hard cider industry. Get the Rojo if you like your cider fermented with wild cherries and black peppercorns. (Speaking of cherries, did you know they're chock-full of antioxidants?)
Alpenfire Cider, Townsend, Washington
via alpenfirecider.comAn organic orchard, cidery, and tasting room, Alpenfire Cider's ciders range in style from old world to new world; from barrel matured, bittersharp, bone dry varieties, and more. You'll want to go to the tasting room to get your hands on the rarities. Situated next to the cidery, order up the Dungeness Orchard Blend once you've arrived. It's a semi-dry still cider that's blended from no fewer than 70 different apple styles. (Did you know apples have amazing health benefits?)
Citizen Cider, Burlington, Vermont
via citizencider.comCraft beer enthusiasts love this state's boozy offerings, and along the way they seem to get going on the cider train. And with a place like Citizen Cider, it's no wonder why. One of the allures of a taproom is trying out all of the creatively named beverages. "Have you tried The Full Nelson? What about The Dirty Mayor?" These are just a couple questions you'll hear cider aficionados asking when in Citizen Cider.
Portland Cider House, Portland, Oregon
via portlandcider.comIf you want to go all-in, there's no better place to explore cider in Oregon than Portland Cider House. The cider pub offers 28 taps, making it the largest selection of cider in the entire state. Prepare to stay for a while at Cider House—located in the popular Hawthorne neighborhood of Southeast Portland. Your tasting is bound to get your stomach rumbling for some food, so complement your beverage with the Grilled Brie & Apple Sandwich. (Speaking of cheese, here's the recipe for the best grilled cheese out there.)
Urban Farm Fermentory, Portland, Maine
via fermentory.comIt would be a disservice to feature one Portland and not the other on this list—especially considering both are big in the beer scene. Portland, Maine, is a respected city in the food and drink scene so much so that when you tell someone you're going to Portland, they finally ask which one. Given all that, it's really no surprise Urban Farm Fermentory thrives here, what with people's affinity for craft food and drink in this city by the water. It's also located just steps from the East Bayside hub of Bunker Brewing, Rising Tide Brewing, and Maine Craft Distilling. The Fermentory offers both cider and kombucha—made with fresh-pressed Maine apples and naturally occurring, wild yeast fermentation. Be sure to try a taste of the Baby Jimmy, a barrel-aged cider.
Honest Abe Cidery, Carson, California
via squareup.comHidden in a nondescript Carson industrial park, Honest Abe Cidery is the brainchild of Kentucky native Spencer Chambers. Growing up in a dry county, he became the moonshine master, and after moving to sunny SoCal, he focused his efforts on ciders and meads. The cidery offers 12 taps of rotating cider, mead, and wine. And soon, visitors will get their share of grub, too, since Chambers will be moving the tasting room next door where there will also be a farm-to-table restaurant. If you try just one thing at Honest Abe, get the boozy "Independence" with black cherry.