We San Franciscans love this time of year: leaves changing, sweater weather, and especially the seasonal treats at our favorite haunts. But if the spiced apple cider at your local café isn't cutting it, try something a little harder. We've rounded up our five favorite hard ciders in the city.
Among the ambient beer selection at Abbot's Cellar in the Mission, try Lost Orchard Dry Cider from Tilted Shed Ciderworks in Sonoma. With 8% ABV, the tannic and savory flavor comes from a blend of local traditional and heirloom apples that makes Lost Orchard both bittersweet and bittersharp. If you're in a more sophisticated mood, go for Poire de Normandie, a pear cider from La Pere Jules in Normandy, France. Fresh and refined, this cider is made from three different varieties of French pears. 742 Valencia Street, SF 94110
Magnolia Pub and Brewery
After a day hanging out in the parks of the Haight, stop by Magnolia Pub for a seasonal treat: the pomegranate hard cider. Available on tap for a limited time, the Two Rivers Pomegranate Cider is both sweet and tart, and pleasantly crisp -- perfect for a autumn evening in S.F. 1398 Haight St, SF 94117
Just over a year old, SF's first cider bar Upcider is a great reason to brave the Tenderloin. We love all 17 ounces of the Blossom Nectar Cider from Tieton Ciderworks in the Pacific Northwest. This refreshing, medium-bodied English cider is crisp and sweet, with notes of ripe fruit blending with a subtle taste of nectar.
If you're looking for something closer to home, go for Fox Barrel's Pacific Pear Cider, made in Colfax, California. Fermented naturally from 100% pear juice and no added sugar, this cider is pure and refreshing, with a discreet woody taste complemented by a strong fruit presence. Upcider also serves Fox Barrel's Apricot and Blackberry Pear ciders--all of which are up to par, so to speak.
1160 Polk St, SF 94109
Fly Bar and Restaurant
Alamo Square's popular day-drinking joint Fly doesn't disappoint when it comes to cider. Dunk your sake in California Ace Perry Cider instead of beer for a semi-sweet twist on sake bombs. The pear cider is made with champagne yeast and all natural juices, creating a mild flavor with a dry finish. For only $4 each, you can get happy with a just a little more class. But don't quote us on that. 762 Divisadero St, SF 94117
Follow @alyssajaffer or email alyssa.s.jaffer[at]gmail[dot]com.