Hard Cider Summit Pours at the Presidio

Is the apple-toned drink your favorite sip? Raise a mug in San Francisco.

BEYOND AUTUMN: While cider, as in the hot, toasty, alcohol-free, best-served-in-a-glass-mug libation, is something of a fall staple, hard cider has stakes as a year-round sip. Consider the fact that while both boast apple-y notes, or can, traditionally, cider, as in the glass-mug-cider, is often served warm next to a plate of sugary donuts and/or possibly some sort of Halloween treat (read: popcorn balls). Hard cider, however, has been on the rise and rise and rise in craft-brewing circles. True, it is a libation that has been around for centuries upon centuries -- its colonial cred is quite high, as the ultimate drink for early settlers bearing a thirst for something a little potent -- but it has ridden the same wave as bespoke brews in recent years. This has resulted in numerous cider houses setting up shop, or deepening their stock, over the last several years, to the point where the serving of hard cider is no longer an add-on to a bigger craft beer festival: It gets its own festivals, too. Look to the biggest in the region, in San Francisco's Presidio Park, on April 25. Cider Summit San Francisco will feature 150 ciders made with care and flair by 46 cideries, each with a distinctive take on the drink. Places like...

ANTHEM CIDERS AND ROGUE CIDER... and Red Branch Cider and Two Rivers Cider Company will all be in attendance, serving up their best stuff. Gowan Orchards'll also be going the fresh-pressed apple juice route, if you need to taste fruit as either a palate cleanser or to get to know it better at the beginning of its becoming-cider journey. Food pairings from BBQ-esque food trucks and Whole Foods give the day some sustenance, and the presence of a Dog Lounge lends barky joy. The cost? It's thirty five bucks ahead of time. If you're a fall-y time lover of libations, but you save the hot, alcohol-free version for October and keep the hard cider for the rest of the year, consider this your chance to get in-the-know about the robust world of hard cider makery. And, honestly, whether the taste is strong of apples or pays tribute to other fruits or flavors, is there anything deeper in hue than a glass of cider held up to the sunshine? It feels like the most old-world copper-meets-red tone, one that hearkens back, stylistically, to the very early times in which hard cider reigned.

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