Last Updated June 15, 2022
Imagine for a moment that you’re unable to drink beer.
Being in a place like Eugene or Bend with such rich microbrewing scenes, this might seem like some kind of torture. But such is the reality for more and more people who have some form of gluten intolerance.
And then, there are those of us who simply don’t like the taste of beer. We exist! We are not freaks! Yet when the time comes to go to the neighborhood brewpub with some friends, we might find ourselves left out in the summer heat. Where is our cold, sippable alcoholic beverage?
The answer can be found in the facilities of a small group of local cider producers. When many of us think of cider, our minds immediately jump to the bottles of Martinelli’s that our parents always put out for Thanksgiving, only alcoholic. But really, there’s so much more to cider. It doesn’t have to be a too-sugary alcoholic apple juice.
Need evidence? Look no further than Eugene’s own WildCraft Cider Works.
WildCraft specializes in artisanal dry ciders featuring whole fruit and other botanicals grown exclusively in Oregon. All ciders are wild-fermented, bottle-conditioned and unpasteurized. With no artificial flavors, sulfites, or added sugars, these are adult beverages in more than one sense of the word.
And they are delicious. WildCraft’s Hard Cider is your quintessential dry session cider, but further variety awaits.
Pioneer Perry features a delicious blend of pears both wild and cultivated, while Wild Rose offers up an enticing combo of apples and rose buds. Imperial Homestead Hopped features, you guessed it, hops. Heavily-hopped beers are already a staple of the Pacific Northwest beer scene. If you’re curious how that flavor meshes with cider, well, this is your chance to find out.
Hitting Up WildCraft’s new Eugene Ciderhouse
Several of us took a trip to WildCraft’s new ciderhouse on the day of their Fiddlehead Festival and grand (re-)opening April 28, 2018. Located near Skinner’s Butte park north of Downtown, the location had been home to a tasting room, but WildCraft has been busy renovating the space into a drinking, eating, and live entertainment space set to compete with the city’s finest.
Shook Twins, a Portland folk duo with a four-piece travelling band, headlined the day’s festivities. People were dancing, there was plenty of delicious locally-sourced food, and boy was the cider ever flowing. But this event wasn’t just about good times.
WildCraft’s Fiddlehead Festival is a celebration of the area’s bounty of spring botanicals, with arts, crafts, games and classes for children and adults alike. The event also rose funds for the School Garden Project, which helps area children learn about the value of growing healthy food by developing onsite vegetable gardens.
There was something about the event that felt quintessentially Eugene: this celebration wasn’t just about revelry, or about celebrating the opening of a new business space. Instead, community was front and center throughout. This highlighted the ways that so many of our local businesses strive to be stewards and good members of their community.
WildCraft is certainly at the forefront in this arena. In a way, the cider is just the tasty, satisfying tip of a much larger iceberg. We appreciate their commitment to local sourcing, environmentally-sustainable practices, and community building. Certainly, as the days of summer approach, we’ll be heading back to enjoy a cold cider or few.
Looking for for more options for summer fun in and around Eugene? Then look no further than our Definitive Guide to Summer in Eugene.