- BarnImages, CCO
- What constitutes a cider apple? According to Meriwether Cider, it's any apple picked straight from the tree.
Meriwether Cider calls its signature beverage “the missing link between wine and beer”—but for the second year in a row, the Garden City cidery is not only bridging booze gaps, its annual cider apple crush is also linking neighbors.
Meriwether is inviting Boiseans to participate in a series of events that will culminate in a batch of cider unique to the City of Trees. It sent out a call to private citizens who, for the next two and a half weeks, can stop by Meriwether to drop off apples picked from roadsides, wild groves or their own backyards. Those apples will then go into a homemade press, and from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, the neighbors will be invited back for a kid-friendly party to crush the apples and sample fresh-made juice. The party will pick up again Sunday, Oct. 8, when “Neighborhood Crush” goes on tap and apple-picking neighbors can come back to grab a glass from 2-6 p.m.
According to Meriwether co-owner Molly Leadbetter, “Neighborhood Crush” may have the most sophisticated flavor profile of any cider produced by the cidery.
“[Last year] It turned out to be a really awesome cider,” said Leadbetter. “The juice we get for our normal production is very consistent, we know exactly what we’re getting, but with this one, since there were so many heritage apples and crab apples and random roadside apples, we got all these different levels of complexity in the juice.”
2017 marks the second year of the Neighborhood Crush, which will likely become a Meriwether tradition. Neighborhood cider making has become a grassroots movement among American cideries, and Leadbetter noted similar events take place in Oregon, Vermont and likely every state between. The Meriwether crush, however, may the first in Idaho, a state Leadbetter said is perfect for the practice.
“We’ve got so many apples in Idaho, and we don’t have the ability to make a lot of our cider out of Idaho apples because there’s no way to process them in the quantities that we need to make our regular cider,” she said, “so we wanted to have a community event where we can take small quantities of apples from a lot of different places and a lot of different people.”
In 2016, the Neighborhood Crush brought apple-loving families out to produce 45 gallons of juice, which fermented into nearly 40 gallons of cider. According to Leadbetter, amateur cider makers polished off the whole keg at the October party last year.
“Last year it was such a blast, such a community event. People came with their kids and their grandparents, and everyone was really excited about it,” she said.
If you’re interested in becoming a cider-maker yourself, don’t forget to drop off your apples—picked, not fallen—at Meriwether (5242 W Chinden Blvd, Garden City) before Saturday, Sept. 10, and put the other two dates on your calendar.