Top 5 Places to Sip Cider in San Francisco

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Hard ciders—specifically American made ones—have been experiencing something of a liquid-Renaissance in San Francisco over the past few years. There’s even a Cider Summit festival this weekend that will feature over 120 ciders, including regional favorites and international classics. The second annual Bay Area event takes place on Saturday, April 25 from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Civil War Parade Ground in the Presidio, adjacent to the Main Post.

Two exciting cider events sandwich the summit. First up is “Meet The Cider Maker” on Friday, April 24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Barrel Head Brewhouse in San Francisco. You can indulge in an evening of cider tastings, food pairings and a chance to talk with the makers themselves from Sonoma Cider, Devoto Orchards Cider, Santa Cruz Cider, Tilted Shed Ciderworks, Golden State Cider and Two Rivers Cider Company.

On the heels of the hautely-anticipated summit, Stones Throw restaurant in Russian Hill is continuing the celebration with a creative and robust beverage program, welcoming Finnriver Farm Cidery on Sunday, April 26. Executive Chef Jason Halverson has developed a five course prix-fixe menu full of spring’s best ingredients and flavors, specially created to pair perfectly with the exceptional ciders that hail from this Washington farm.

Clearly, cider is having more than its moment. In honor of the fest, we’ve rounded up a list of the top five places to enjoy cider in San Francisco every day.

1 Upcider

From founders Ozzie Gundogdu and Omer Cengiz, Upcider was the first on the SF cider scene. Established in 2004, the floor-to-ceiling wood paneled gastropub is the ideal reason to brave the Tenderloin. A must-sip at the Polk St. establishment is the Blossom Nectar Cider from Tieton Ciderworks in the Pacific Northwest, a refreshing, medium-bodied English cider with notes of ripe fruit blending with a subtle taste of nectar. For those interested in sampling something locally made, the Fox Barrel's Pacific Pear Cider is the drink for you. Fermented in Colfax, Calif., naturally from pear juice and no added sugar, a discreet woody taste complements a strong fruit presence.

2 Stones Throw

At Stones Throw, a California/American restaurant and bar situated in the heart of San Francisco's renowned Russian Hill neighborhood, you'll find domestic ciders such as Tieton Cider Works ‘Wild Washington’ from Yakima Valley, Wash., and AEppelTreow ‘Perry’ from Burlington, Wis., alongside the French, including Dme Bordatto ‘Txalaparta’ and Apple Txopinondo ‘Sagarnoa.’ Most are dry and all are exquisite representations of the cider or peary styles.

3 Magnolia Pub & Brewery

Following a day of shopping in the Haight, Magnolia Pub & Brewery is your stop for a seasonal treat: the pomegranate hard cider from Two Rivers Brewery. Available on tap for a limited time, the specialty cider is both sweet, tart and pleasantly crisp--perfect for any spring evening in S.F. Pair it with either the famous Magnolia burger or buttermilk panna cotta. Just make sure you stop by before the supply runs out!
1398 Haight Street

4 The Abbot's Cellar

Among the extensive libation selection available at The Abbot's Cellar in the Mission, Lost Orchard Dry Cider 1 from Tilted Shed Ciderworks in Sonoma stands above the rest. At 8% ABV, the tannic and savory flavor comes from a blend of local traditional and heirloom apples that makes Lost Orchard equally bittersweet and bittersharp. For those with a more sophisticated palate, the Poire de Normandie, a pear cider from La Pere Jules in Normandy, France is the drink for you. Fresh and refined, this blend is made from three different varieties of French pears, truly a haute cider choice.
742 Valencia Street

5 Elixir

Formerly Jack's Elixir Bar, Elixir is one of the oldest, continually-running saloons in San Francisco. restored to its Victorian glory 2003 after almost 100 years of wear and tear as an original San Francisco saloon. Today, Elixir is home to the Numi Organic Buhy Ohai Tea. A stand-out cocktail comprised of organic apple cider infused with Numi organic ruby chai tea and organic agave nectar, the Numi is a surprisingly spicy choice that won't disappoint while you take in the historic surroundings.
3200 16th Street
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