About an hour east of Portland, in the Columbia River Gorge at the foothills of Mt. Hood, lies a massive swath of orchards called the Fruit Loop, home to countless purveyors of artisan ciders. The Good Reverend Nat might not be located in a hamlet like Hood River -- unless you count the industrial area of North Portland as a hamlet, weirdo -- but he's taken a cue from those cidermakers, as well as those of Belgium, to craft his namesake ciders. And, of course, it's also where he gets the apples. Except, of course, the pineapples in this signature summer stunner, which kicks things up with a distinctively sweet caribbean flair without losing any of the tart apple properties. More importantly, unlike the Fruit Loop orchards' wares, Nat's can be found across multiple states. Consider his an evangelical take on the endless possibilities of crushed apples.
Crafted by the folks from Almar Orchard -- located outside a tiny mid-Michigan suburb of Flint known for its Rockwellian streets and some of the greatest hot dogs known to man (at least according to our senior editor, a native of the town) -- JK's has become something of a white whale for domestic cider lovers. It's tough to find, but when you come across it -- which you can, nationwide -- buy in bulk. The organic apples in this summer varietal are impossibly crisp, kicked up with a hint of coriander and raisin and clocking in at a relatively low 4.5%, meaning it's perfect for the beach, campfires, or griil-side.