Two Rivers began producing cider in 1996, even before the craft brewing scene took off and certainly before there was an interest in craft cider. Heck, Angry Orchard wasn’t available nationwide until 2012.
Twenty Years in the Making
Over the past twenty years, Two Rivers established a loyal following of cider lovers, many of whom came out to celebrate the recent opening of a new taproom at their cidery. The event was a paradise for cider lovers as they offered special release ciders such as pink lady, lemonade, and a mango peach pineapple infused cider, just to name a few (thirsty yet?).
Temperatures soared to 101°F the day of the event, but that didn’t stop over 1,200 people from being amongst the first group to see the mysterious location where their favorite cider was brewed.
I describe the location to my fellow beer friends as, “a typical brewery location.” You’re driving along a main highway or road, then you make a turn off, another turn, and before you know it you’re in the middle of an industrial park or a multi-zoned complex with homes on one side of the street, and businesses on the other. Finally, once you think you’re sufficiently lost, you spot a single, modest brewery/cidery sign that indicates you’ll soon be enjoying a tasty beverage.
The Two Rivers location is much like the one described above. Personally, I love it. It perfectly complements the relaxed craft beer/cider culture. I am always surprised when I drive up and think, “how could anyone find this place?” Then I walk inside only to find a taproom buzzing with awesome people.
With a cherry cider in hand, I walked around the event and was surprised to notice the wide range of people in attendance. Families, retired folks, business professionals, and students all came out to celebrate. The many demographics represented at the event is a testament to the deliciousness of Two Rivers cider.
Music, food, corn hole, and ping pong tables entertained event-goers as they sipped on one of the 10 tap offerings. Employees were just as jazzed about the opening as their supporters.
I was fortunate enough to receive a tour of the cidery from the production manager, Nick. First stop was the fermentation room, which consists of just three thirty-barrel fermenters, for a total of a 90 barrel production system (for some perspective, Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma has a 600,000 barrel production system).
Next was the barrel room, replete with 54 barrels sourced locally from Sacramento and Napa. By the way, the apples are local, too. Apple Hill, located about fifty miles north of Sacramento, provides Two Rivers with all of their apples for their ciders.
It was here that Nick explained why it took twenty years to open up to the public and attributed it to the lack of interest in craft cider when they opened in the mid-90s. The opening of Track 7 Brewing Co. five years ago in Sac helped pave the way for the local craft beer movement that has simultaneously encouraged the upsurge of local craft cider. Fortunately, the demand for Two Rivers became so great that there were no good reasons left not to open a taproom.
Before Nick excused himself to deal with an urgent ice shortage, he kindly offered me a top-off of my half-empty lemonade cider with any of the taps in the barrel room. I took his advice and mixed lemonade with pomegranate cider. Talk about an excellent combination!
Luckily for us, in the past few years, Two Rivers’ fanbase has grown exponentially. In fact, Two Rivers has plans to expand their production system in the near future… stay tuned!
Where To Get Yourself Some
If you ever find yourself in Sac, go directly to the source and check out their new taproom location at 4311 Attawa Avenue, Suite 103 Wednesday-Saturday from 5 pm-9 pm. Here you’ll imbibe their experimental creations like lemonade and limited-release ciders.
Can’t make it out there? Look for these ciders either on tap or at the store in Sacramento, Roseville, Auburn, Placerville, Davis, the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and throughout Oregon. You can find their bottles and cans at select Whole Foods Markets and BevMo! stores, among other food retail shops.
Their flagship hard apple cider is crisp, clean, effervescent and sweet with a hint of tartness. At 6.9% abv, it is my favorite go-to cider to enjoy on hot summer days and is extremely food-friendly.
Has a gorgeous deep orange-red hue topped off with an intense citrus aroma. It tastes like a mimosa made with no-pulp OJ. Definitely my new chocolate chip pancake companion for Sunday brunch with an abv of 6.5%.
This 6.5% abv cider boasts the strongest fruit character out of the three. It showcases a sweet, light fruit presence like a cross between raspberries and blueberries. (My favorite of the three).
Definitely check out the taproom if you’re ever in the Sac area, or at least pick up a few bottles or cans if you spot them in the grocery store. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!