: Stone Circle Cider

Tap Into Local Flavor on the Mt. Hood Territory Tap Trail

Breweries, distilleries and cideries make this Tap Trail special.
February 8, 2023

Whether you’re hiking in the summer or skiing in the winter, the slopes, forests and lakes of Mt. Hood are a fantastic base camp for outdoor adventure. After a long day exploring Oregon’s highest peak, a refreshing beer, balanced cocktail or glass of crisp cider always hits the spot. Luckily, Mt. Hood Territory has you covered for a post-adventure drink thanks to the Mt. Hood Territory Tap Trail.

Consisting of over a dozen local craft distilleries, breweries and cideries, the Mt. Hood Territory Tap Trail is a free mobile passport designed to help you discover the bounty around Mt. Hood. In addition to a good drink and exclusive discounts at some locations, using the Tap Trail comes with other perks. Checking in at the different tasting rooms earns you points that you can redeem for cool prizes from local businesses. Each check-in also counts as an entry toward a free trip to Mt. Hood drawn at the end of the year.

If you don’t have a designated driver, public buses like the Mt. Hood Express and ride-share apps like Get There Oregon are available for safe and easy car-free transportation. Here are some top spots for après-ski or post-hike libations, as well as a bite to eat, along the Tap Trail.

TMK Creamery (Photo courtesy of Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory)

Meet the Spirited Cows of TMK Creamery

While most spirits are distilled from grains or fruits, Canby-based TMK Creamery is breaking the mold with a smooth vodka-type spirit derived from whey, which is a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. Jokingly called “cowcohol,” this creamy spirit can be sampled at the joint creamery and distillery in Canby, where you can also meet some of the 20 cows that make the cheese and dairy products the cowcohol is made from.

Located in Oregon’s former state capital, Oregon City, the woman- and veteran-owned Trail Distilling uses pristine Cascadian glacial water and grains from a family farm to make its award-winning whiskey, gin, rum and vodka. In its industrial-chic tasting room, taste your way through a flight or try a full-size cocktail prepared with one of its house-made spirits like the Pink Pinot Gin, which is finished in an Oregon pinot noir barrel.

Ale & Cider House Willamette (Photo courtesy of Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory)

Traditional and Modern Ciders

Even though pears are the official state fruit, over a hundred distinct varieties of apples are grown around Oregon. With close access to the bountiful fruit baskets of the Willamette Valley and the Hood River Valley, cideries thrive in Mt. Hood Territory.

Cider has a rich history going as far back as 3,000 BCE. Stone Circle Cider pays homage to the beverage’s storied traditions at its cozy tasting room and family-owned cider apple farm in Estacada, located on a former Christmas tree farm. Weather permitting, gather outside at a picnic table or around a stone-encircled fire pit for countryside views while you sip. Or, retreat inside to the rustic, wood-paneled tasting room adorned with posters and prints about the history of cider-making. Specializing in traditional English-style “scrumpy” farmhouse ciders, Stone Circle’s offerings include dry, sweet, semi-dry and cherry ciders, as well as seasonal flavors.

While Stone Circle is all about the traditional, Ruzzo looks to the future with its innovative sparkling hard-citrus drink. Walking the line between hard cider and hard seltzer, the hard-citrus beverage starts with a fermented base of lemon and lime juice that’s then flavored with dried fruits, teas and purees, some of which are locally sourced. Founded in 2020 as a way to connect with the local community, that friendly, welcoming mission lives on at its Damascus-based tasting room, the Ruzzo Retreat, with 30 different taps to try. Other cideries along the Tap Trail to check out include 12 Bridge CiderworksPortland Cider Company and Ale & Cider House Willamette.

Boring Brewing (Photo courtesy of Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory)

Barrel-Aged Brews and Classic Ales

It’s not a visit to Oregon without popping into at least one of the state’s many renowned craft breweries, and there are several included along the Tap Trail.

Hailed for its unique lineup of fruity sours and funky barrel-aged brews, popular Portland brewery Little Beast Brewing recently added a new tasting room to its Clackamas brewing facilities. Try the current offerings from the 12-tap selection, or taste your way through Little Beast’s brewing history with older vintage and barrel-aged beers. In Sandy, pop into Boring Brewing for a taste of their flagship Big Yawn IPA or the Boring Brown, available on tap or to-go in growlers and crowlers. After these two, head to Coin Toss Brewing, Shattered Oak Brewing, or Oregon City Brewing Company in downtown Oregon City. Or pop into Vanguard Brewing in Wilsonville, which also serves up hearty pub grub like loaded nachos and burgers. Don’t miss Stickmen Brewing Company in Lake Oswego, and the Mt. Hood Brewing Co. in Government Camp for more craft beer goodness. 

About The

Zoe Baillargeon
Zoe Baillargeon is a Portland-based freelance writer who covers travel, food & drink, the outdoors, sustainability, culture and more. Her outlets include National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, Outside, Wine Enthusiast, AFAR and Field Mag. When not writing, she enjoys immersing herself in Portland's amazing food scene and escaping to the Coast or Mt. Hood.

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