On a recent Friday afternoon, Zeeks’ crew led by beverage impresario Tommy Brooks, visited Vashon Island, the home of Dragon’s Head Cider. Dragon’s Head features a wide variety of ciders made from different heirloom cider apples, most of which are grown on site on their orchard. In colonial America, cider was the most common beverage consumed and producers like Dragon Head are leading a revolution of this traditional style and approach referred to now as Heritage Cider. Particularly popular in the PNW, Heritage cider is often compared to wine because it is more complex and tends to be on the drier side.
The Dragon’s Head production facility is located amongst an idyllic 8-acre apple farm not far from Vashon’s ‘town’ and next door to historic, Mukai strawberry farm. Amazingly, almost 70% of Dragon’s Head’s product is sourced from apples grown right on its own farm. That is a huge percentage in the cider production world. And it is a huge reason why Zeeks’ serves its product(s).
“They make some of the most interesting and delicious cider around, and they are some of the most passionate and intelligent people in the cider community,” said Brooks afterwards. “It was valuable for me to be able to catch up with Laura and talk shop a bit in addition to hosting the Zeeks team and sharing with them where the magic happens for Dragons Head. For me, tasting their cider in the environment we did with the orchards, the cidery and Laura, added layers of context and personality that totally enhanced the experience.”
Brooks makes it a point to regularly visit the people behind the brands that Zeeks serves to its customers. The people behind Dragon’s Head include Wes and Laura Cherry, who moved to Vashon in 2010 from Seattle, in order to do exactly what they are doing now – live the dream. We like to talk about the stoke factor a lot at Zeeks and Laura and her family are definitely stoked by outdoor living and farming, and to make it even better her and her husband are fueling their family’s stoke by sharing the results of their efforts with us as consumers.
In addition to finding the company’s cider on tap in various Seattle bars and restaurants, you can also find it in bottles at the better bottle shops and grocery stores, and you can buy it online. Or like Brooks and crew, you can visit Dragon’s Head in person, like we did, and sample their creations to find out which one, or more, you want to purchase on site. Maybe you are the type that needs some time for the flavors to settle before you make a purchase decision? After your sampling experience then, take some time to walk Dragon’s Head’s beautiful grounds and soak in the relaxed vibe brought on by the cider, the farm’s smells and fresh dirt, the boat ride to Vashon…
After spending some time ‘feeling the farm’ you will know what your palette wants. And by then you too will understand, not only why the Cherry’s followed their dreams and created this wonderful place, but also why paying a visit to a producer on their home turf is such a special experience. Brooks and his team put this type of effort into every local product featured on all Zeeks Pizza menus, from Bellevue to Belltown and all stops in between. This is just the first chapter of many more to come…
This “Seattle Foodie” podcast, featuring an in-depth interview with NW Cider Association Executive Director Emily Ritchie, embodies the stoke the Zeeks crew is feeling about the PNW cider scene. There are plenty of astute food and cider reviews and recommendations, so we encourage the curious to click the link and give it a listen.