Pop the cork on Alesong's dry cider. Photo courtesy Alesong Brewing and Blending.

Smooth Sippin’

Eugene Weekly interns take on the local cider scene so you don’t have to

By Emma J Nelson and Amelia Winkelman 

Us two Eugene Weekly interns have scampered around Eugene, trying some of the city’s local cideries. But braving the brew turned out to be more emotional than expected. We grappled with satisfaction, infatuation, confusion, horror and disgust to discover new characteristics of flavor.

We’re no experts, but damn do we like cider. 

We’ll be ranking each cider by three never-before-seen categories: drinkability, second-glass potential and anthropomorphized traits. The drinkability scale will account for the beverage’s flavor, mouth-feel and aroma. Second-glass potential determines whether we’d recommend ordering another round. Finally, the anthropomorphized traits will display the drink’s personality, inner beauty and classic human flaws. We encourage you to sip with us.

Alesong Brewing and Blending

Alesong introduced cider and wine to its previously beer-only menu in the winter of 2023. It produces two varieties in its month-long brewing process: a dry and a semi-dry. Alesong founder Doug Coombs says the ciders have a “homemade lemonade-level acidity” to them, and that they’re made to be savored rather than downed.

Alesong’s semi-dry cider was indeed worth savoring. The natural carbonation made for a delightful in-mouth experience, and the smell of the cider was surprisingly floral and light. Despite the low sugar level, the cider drank like a tart juice with an aftertaste of alcohol. The second-glass potential on the semi-dry is incredibly high, and there’s a hefty chance of a third glass being poured.

This cider was the fun aunt who shows up late to the family barbeque in a sundress, apologizing for her tardiness with a homemade dessert. She hasn’t been worn down over the years, and everyone at the gathering is relieved that she’s arrived.

It’s difficult to not compare the bubbly personality of the semi-dry cider to the defeated cigar-dad nature of the dry. He just came off a hard day at work and would rather be anywhere than overseeing a barbeque in his backyard.

The earthy aroma of the cider stood in harsh contrast to the previous beverage, and the smell nearly overpowered the flavor of the cider itself. The most redeeming quality of the dry was the celebratory feeling of popping the bottle’s cork. Personally, I’d opt for a glass of the semi-dry rather than pour a second of the dry.

You can either order a glass of cider on location at 80848 Territorial Hwy or purchase a 500 mL bottle at Market of Choice for $14.  — Emma J Nelson

WildCraft Cider Works 

WildCraft offers a serious variety of brews. It produces over a dozen unique flavors of dry, fermented cider and makes local wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages. Starting basic, I tried the Premium Hard Cider at Rennie’s Landing. It was a standard $6 can. I was underwhelmed; I’m not used to the dryness of WildCraft, but regardless, there was little flavor. 

Still, I’d order another can if someone else was buying.

Premium Hard Cider is your deadpan mutual friend who is always around, but no matter your efforts you are never able to unearth their true personality.

I went to WildCraft’s tasting room to try some fun flavors. I tried Love Perry, Elder Flower, Wild Rose, Blackberry and Meadow Sweet Ginger. Wild Rose, its longest standing botanical cider, and Meadow Sweet Ginger were my “favorites.” Wild Rose tasted exactly as expected, and Meadow Sweet Ginger wasn’t very gingery but smelled like delicious flowers. 

You could not pay me to drink any of these ciders again. But I absolutely believe that people who have inclinations to drink pungent, earthy ciders love these. 

These ciders are the group of friends that are always trying something new. You can’t tell if they are doing it for their personal pleasure or solely so they can post it on social media.

All WildCraft ciders are available on tap at its tasting room at 232 Lincoln Street and at WildCraftCiderWorks.com. — Amelia Winkelman

Riverblend Cider Company 

Riverblend is as fresh to the scene as the orchard-grown apples used to brew the company’s cider. The apples are fermented with native yeasts, and the product is aged in oak and stainless steel barrels.

I must say, I’d purchase a candle that smelled like this cider. The drink gave off a clean, balsamic vinegaresque scent that was both comforting and appetizing. The flavor was rather simple, tasting much like a freshly picked apple. The lack of depth or complexity to the cider was enticing, and it more than made up for the drying effect that it had on my mouth. I’d absolutely pour a second glass.

Riverblend Apple Cider is someone finally sitting down after cleaning their apartment, basking in the reflections of a freshly wiped surface. They’re done for the day, and they’re content.

You can purchase a 750 mL bottle at Headquarters Wine Shop, Bar & Retail Market, 325 W. 4th Avenue for $18.Emma J Nelson