I love beer and cider. After now having visited over 375 different breweries and cideries, it’s fair to say I have sampled a lot (follow me on Untappd). From post-race pints and run club meeting locations, to beer miles and relays, running and the kegged nectar seem to go hand-in-hand in Oregon. Our Kegs and Legs feature is where beer drinking runners like me can go to find some new favorite beverages.
I was in Los Angeles about a week ago and, of course, I went on a brewery hop of the closest ones I could find. While they each obviously varied in the beers they had on tap, one pretty consistent thing many had on their menu was a guest cider from Anthem Cider in Salem.
Anthem is actually half of the company’s moniker, alongside Wandering Aengus Ciderworks. Both are ran and made by the same people (and made in the same location), but Anthem features more “modern” cider options (tending to be more on the sweeter side with “dessert apples”), while Wandering Aengus serves up drier variants with cider apples.
Anthem Cider is semi-dry in nature and, to me, just smells like a standard “unflavored” cider should – apple-y. There are a few other fruits and herbs added, but the aroma that hits my nose on the pour is just no-bones-about-it apples. This cider is the backbone and the guiding light for all other Anthem ciders, and for good reason. It’s just easy to drink – a bit tart with a little understated sweetness. Each year, the batch differs slightly given the varieties of the local ingredients throughout the year – so the taste will definitely vary a bit as a result without veering too far off course.
Anthem Cherry is also semi-dry. I feel that there are some fruited ciders that should be sweeter than others, but cherries are not one of those. The whole reason to eat (or drink) a cherry, in my opinion, is the tartness. I don’t find cherries as refreshing a fruit as, say, strawberries or raspberries. So in this sense I am glad that Anthem didn’t oversweeten. There is still a slight tinge of sweetness thanks to the Bing Cherries, but it definitely stays on the drier side of the spectrum – which I really like in this case The flavor isn’t overpowering and it’s a pretty accessible cider. They even recommend pairing it 50/50 with a stout, which could be amazing (think chocolate covered cherries). I need to try that ASAP!
If you want to complete the Salem Ale Trail passport book (or even if you just want to sample some great cider), this is one you have to do some planning for. Anthem’s tasting room is only open for extremely limited hours (4-8pm in Fridays only), but it is well worth the trip. It’s super small, but they have always had different and delicious small-batch ciders on tap when I’ve been there.
As I initially mentioned, you can find Anthem Cider all over the country, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to pick up a bottle or two nearby wherever you are now.
- 4070 Fairview Industrial Dr SE, Salem, OR 97302