On weekends, we sometimes like to pull out our favorite guide to the Bay area, “Weekend Adventures in San Francisco and Northern California,” pick a direction and an activity and go. Last weekend we decided to head to north of San Francisco and pay a visit to the Ace-In-The-Hole Cider Pub, a place famous for being the first Cider Pub in America and also where locally grown apples are made into Ace Cider, a delicious gluten free hard cider. It sounded like fun to me! We arrived Saturday evening, just in time to hear a local band play (reminiscent of the Violent Femmes, Dead Milkmen, and They Might be Giants) and of course, in time to order their Sampler to taste all four of their cider varieties. The cider is served on a charming round platter with Ace Cards marking the four varieties of cider for tasting. As their web site describes the experience,
Your second taste will be our Ace Apple Honey Cider with its distinct rich finish. The Ace Apple Honey is one of the only honey ciders available in the U.S.
Next you’ll taste our very popular Ace Pear Cider. Our pear cider evokes the same flavors as a bite out of a freshly picked pear.
We’ll finish your tasting tour with our newest of the four Aces, Ace Berry Cider. Our Berry Cider is a special blend of raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.” (source:Ace Cider Web Page)
It turned out that DH and I are something of traditionalists- we both liked the plain apple cider the best, and then I liked the honey cider and he liked the pear cider. Neither of us were crazy about the berry cider. It was too sweet for our taste, and I missed the clean, crisp flavor of apples in their other beverages. It was a wonderful night that reminded me of life in college- must have been the angst driven music and local college students ballroom dancing with each other- and it definitely made me an Ace Cider convert. I will now search for it in local liquor stores at every opportunity. I love that they even say on their web site that all their cider is gluten free- unlike less forthright companies, their cider is real cider with minimal additives, and furthermore, it’s just plain good. In fact, I can’t wait to have another… So, if you find yourself in Sebastapol, Ca. just keep driving on Hwy. 116 until you think you’ve gone too far, then drive a little further until you find yourself at this lovely cider pub. I can’t promise you’ll find food- but I can promise you’ll find the best cider in California, so pull up a chair and enjoy a pint!