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Sip Scene: This Rockridge Cider House Rules

Redfield Cider Bar and Bottle Shop brings artisanal hard cider to the East Bay.


Andria Lo

Move over, craft beer. Craft cider is experiencing a revival, and the boom has officially arrived in the East Bay with the debut of the region’s first cider-focused spot.

Located along College Avenue in Oakland’s bustling Rockridge neighborhood, Redfield Cider Bar and Bottle Shop sources and serves America’s historic boozy beverage in all its modern-day glory. The cozy, welcoming haven offers a rotating lineup of 10 ciders on tap, nine ciders by the glass, and approximately 150 bottled ciders—all of which are a far cry from the sweet, largely one-dimensional mainstream varieties that often dominate the shelves of supermarkets and liquor stores.

On our visit, the eclectic menu featured an aromatic Brazilian guava–infused cider crafted in Richmond; a wild yeast–fermented cider brewed with Sonoma County hops; a jammy Washington state cider bursting with black currant; a funky brut champagne–style cider from the Asturias region of Spain; and a punchy, cranberry-like rosé cider made from Redfield’s namesake apple (a tart, astringent variety ideal for making cider)—among numerous other local, domestic, and imported ciders. Themed and choose-your-own cider flights are available, making it easy to sample multiple options.

Redfield was started by cider industry veterans Olivia Maki and Mike Reis. Maki previously worked at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco and is an experienced farmer, while Reis is an Advanced Cicerone and a former employee of The Monk’s Kettle, The Abbot’s Cellar, and Lagunitas Brewing Company. The Berkeley-based couple even has their own podcast, Redfield Radio, which is—you guessed it—about all things cider.

With their venture, Maki and Reis hope people will start to rethink how hard cider should taste and realize how diverse it can be. With an impressive assortment of ciders representing an exciting crossover between a light beer and a robust wine, Redfield has numerous offerings that boast enough rich complexities and nuances to spark interest among even the most serious beer and wine drinkers. (Though the cider shop does provide a few craft brews and vinos for those who aren’t feeling adventurous.) Sophisticated bar bites abound, too, from cheese and charcuterie boards to Persian-style frittatas chock-full of herbs and fresh veggies.

Whether you seek cider because it’s a gluten-free alternative to beer or simply because you want to savor something refreshing and quaffable, Redfield has a beautiful selection of flavor-forward ciders that will keep you coming back for more.

5815 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 250-9058, redfieldcider.com. Open daily.

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