The up-and-coming craft-beverage frontier known as Idaho—and its inhabitants—are embracing hard cider. Concentrated around Boise and Coeur d’Alene, the state is now home to a handful of cidermakers, many of which operate taprooms or cider houses where you can stop in and sample their wares. From urban cideries fermenting micro-batches onsite to pubs pouring taps from around the world, these hotspots each offer unique ciders and vision.
Meriwether Cider Company, Garden City & Boise meriwethercider.com
Owned and operated by the adventurous Leadbetter family, this Garden City-based cidery (named in honor of distant relative Meriwether Lewis) uses a blend of culinary apples sourced throughout the Northwest. The results are sweet and dry ciders that will please any palate, including an award-winning semi-dry, a tart blackberry and a citrusy dry hop, perfect for cider-curious beer drinkers. Keep an eye out for seasonal specials and barrel-aged options. Along with its production facility taproom, Meriwether operates downtown Boise’s first cider house, where you’ll find 20 rotating taps as well as some 35 bottled ciders from around the world.
Stack Rock Cidery, Caldwell peacefulbelly.com/stack-rock-cidery
For farmhouse-style cider, head to Peaceful Belly Farm outside Caldwell, where cidermaker Clay Erskine crafts complex, traditional ciders from an assortment of heirloom and modern dessert apple varieties from Caldwell and Weiser orchards. The driest cider on tap is complex and champagne-like with a crisp, lemony finish. For something more fruit forward, try the semi-sweet flavored with fresh McIntosh apple juice. Or there’s a wild fermentation if you want something earthy and crisp with a bit of funk. There’s a joint winery-cidery tasting room on the farm as well as a small-plate restaurant featuring organic produce and local meats.
Longdrop Cider Company, Boise longdropcider.com
Waste reduction and giving back to the community are more than just concepts at Idaho’s first production cidery, established in 2014 by Chris Blanchard and Carol Crosswhite. At its main facility, all of Longdrop’s apple base is pressed from cores, seeds and stems procured from Washington orchards. Along with three year-round staples (a semi-sweet with fresh apple notes, a vanilla-and-honey infusion and a tart cherry) the cidery produces seasonal offerings, including a chai tea infusion and a dry Hefeweizen-style fermented with Bavarian ale yeast. While the main production is now in Washington, the primary taproom remains in Boise. And with every case sold, Longdrop donates a pound of fresh fruits or vegetables to nourish hungry kids.
Cider Sisters Cider, Boise
This one is for the cider purists. Once a year, lifelong cider enthusiasts Katy Dang and Stephanie May craft a small-batch, limited-run cider using a six-apple blend that’s heavy on the Granny Smiths as well as old-world methods of fermentation and a cider-specific yeast. The result is dry and unfiltered, reminiscent of a Spanish sidra or a mid-country French cidre: tart, sweet and salty with aromas of apple and toffee. Look for Cider Sisters in bottles at the Boise Co-Op (boise.coop) or on tap in select establishments throughout the Boise region.
Coeur d’Alene Cider Company, Coeur d’Alene cdaciderco.com
In the lakeside resort town of Coeur d’Alene, cidermaker Jill Morrison specializes in unfiltered, full-bodied ciders, including a semi-dry and a lemon-blackberry medium-sweet. At the newly opened cider house, you’ll find an ever-changing tap list filled with house and guest pours. There are even a few beers available for your non-cider friends. Don’t see what you’re looking for on tap? Peruse the on-site bottle shop, which is stocked with both domestics and imports, including ciders from Spain, England, and Scotland. After selecting your choice, head outside to the large patio to sip and soak up some sun.