Cider Rules

A Colonial-era drink for modern locavores

Cider may not yet have mead's Renaissance Faire fan base, nor the backing of America's beer geeks. Yet a new generation of producers like Wandering Aengus Ciderworks forge on nonetheless, applying a modern locavore's passion to Colonial America's favorite drink.

Not only have the Salem, Oregon, ciderworks' products been appearing in more local markets of late, they're among the best offerings atĀ Upcider, Ozzie Gundogdu and Omer Cengiz's new bar, which carries 40 varieties of cider made in Europe and the States.

Wandering Aengus's Nick Gunn and James Kohn pick heirloom apples such as Golden Russets and Newtown Pippins from 80 acres of organically farmed trees and ferment the juice with Champagne yeast.

TheirĀ Bloom and Wanderlust ($7.50 for 500 ml at Falletti Foods) both have a complex nose that hints at earth and Gorgonzola but lets the fruit shine through.

The medium-sweet Bloom, whose sugars come from a late addition of fresh juice, ends in a clean, apple-y finish that would pair well with Thai food. Semidry, the Wanderlust finishes more like a Kabinett Riesling, tart and crisp, perfect for autumn's game and squash dishes.

Better still: You need not wear a bodice to drink them.

Upcider, 1160 Polk St., 2nd Floor (at Sutter St.), 415-931-1797 or upcidersf.com; Falletti Foods, 308 Broderick St. (at Oak St.), 415-626-4400 or fallettifoods.com