Brandon Fralic | 01/27/2020 | Craft Beer, Insider Blogs, Savor - Food & Fun, Wine, Cider & Spirits |   

Experience Thousand Acre Cider House in Downtown Bellingham

Bellingham is quietly becoming a craft cider hotspot. After years of just one cidery in town, three cideries opened around town in 2018. Now, cider enthusiasts have one more place to call home in downtown Bellingham: Thousand Acre Cider House.

Located within walking distance of several like-minded establishments (including a couple of cideries), Thousand Acre taphouse and bottle shop is a welcome addition to Bellingham’s diverse downtown bar and restaurant scene.

Opened by partners Jenny and James Hagemann in August 2019, Thousand Acre is a place to discover and learn about the wonderful world of cider. The first thing you’ll learn? The name “Thousand Acre” is a nod to John Chapman (best known as Johnny Appleseed), who once planted an estimated 1,000 acres of cider apple trees. Inspired by their own cider-centric travels and pioneers like John, Jenny and James are on a mission to share their passion for cider with the people of Bellingham.

Originally from the Midwest, Jenny and James relocated to Seattle before finding their way to Bellingham. Drawn to this area by its robust beer scene, access to the outdoors, and “the inherent curiosity of drinkers” they’ve created an inclusive community space for cider beginners and experts.

Housed in a spacious building whose red-brick masonry dates back to 1910, Thousand Acre’s warm interior is immediately inviting. The high-ceiling space was formerly home to a feed and seed supply shop and later a bookstore. Snag a barstool by the tabletop fire or belly up to the beautifully crafted 40-foot bar. With seating for 90, there’s plenty of room to spread out.

Once you find a seat, it’s time to select your cider. This is where Thousand Acre truly shines, combining its broad selection with knowledgeable staff who are happy to help you find a favorite. Each time I’ve visited, the bartenders have guided me — a beer enthusiast and fledgling cider sipper — to discover something new. There’s zero judgment at this welcoming and approachable bar. Come with a curious spirit, and you’ll be rewarded with an uplifting and educational cider experience.

You’ll find 24 ciders and beers on tap at Thousand Acre (view the tap list here). With a background in sourcing, Jenny works hard to feature unique ciders from across the Northwest. Case in point: Thousand Acre is the only taproom where you can sample from all five Whatcom County cideries side-by-side. In addition to local favorites, you’ll find options from Eastern Washington, Oregon, BC and beyond.

Ferndale’s Renaissance Orchards makes one of the most popular ciders on the list — a Black Plum Bourbon cider, barrel-aged for two and a half years. We enjoyed sipping it alongside New Moon, a witbier-inspired collaboration with Bellingham Cider Company. Served with a slice of orange, it’s a good gateway for cider-curious beer lovers.

To round out the experience, Thousand Acre is also a bottle shop offering over 200 bottled and canned ciders. If you find something you like on tap, there’s a solid chance you’ll be able to take one to-go.

Thousand Acre offers small plates focused on charcuterie and cheese pairings — essentially appetizers, or “picnic food” as Jenny calls it.

Guests can also bring in outside food from neighboring restaurants or order delivery. The staff are excited to welcome a new Italian restaurant, Storia Cucina, as neighbors in 2020.

Combining their community focus with an impressively large space, Thousand Acre Cider House is the perfect place for events. From food pop-ups featuring bites of local businesses, to a book club, cribbage and crafting, there’s something going on every week. Check Thousand Acre’s Facebook page for event updates.

Perhaps their most unique event offering, Cider University is a series of tasting classes featuring food, dessert, and cider pairings. These educational opportunities are a great way to learn about cider in a hands-on, approachable workshop while meeting fellow cider enthusiasts. Another recurring event is Cidertails — a monthly celebration of cider cocktails. 

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