Best Way to Drink an Apple 

Far West Cider

Beer drinkers may remember when the hop craze swept down with abandon and suddenly every IPA tasted like swigging the entire Pacific Northwest in a gulp. Mercifully, we've moved past when brewers tried to ram the Mount Baker National Forest down your gullet, but cider lovers may wonder why Richmond's Far West opted to pair the sweetness of apples with beer's classic bitter agent. Their Orchard Blend Amarillo cider uses amarillo hops, a type known for its citrusy flavors, and combines the flowers (yes, hops are flowers) with apples from a fourth-generation family farm. Since there's no heat involved in making cider, the hops steep during fermentation, releasing floral top notes and just a suspicion of orange rind and evergreen but none of the bitter insistence of tannins, putting this cider one leg up on its peers.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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