Monday, July 16, 2018

Von Ebert Opens Second Location

Today is the grand opening for Von Ebert's second location, located next to the Pro Shop of the Glendoveer Golf Course at NE 140th and Glisan. The space housed the RingSide Grill up until last August and has been re-imagined by Von Ebert with lodge-style decor. The large bar dominates the main room inside, with additional seating in a second room and on two patios for a total of nearly 250 seats.

We had a chance to check it out over the weekend and even with as warm at it was, sitting on the covered patio with a view of the 10th hole the golf course was very pleasant. For those that have been to the downtown location the food menu will look very similar, with a couple of location-exclusive additions. The beer menu is currently similar as well, but will become more distinctive once brewing starts on the JVNW built 3.5bbl system this fall. The plan is to focus on German lagers, Saisons, Belgian-inspired beers and spontaneous, mixed culture and sour beers. Utilizing space that isn't available at the downtown location they will be able to have multiple foudres, wine puncheons, a coolship and barrels also.

Having enjoyed the food downtown previously, this time we made sure to choose items we hadn't tried before. In an effort not to avoid over order, we went with the sausage and peppers pizza and an order of onion rings. As it turned out we would have had plenty if we had only ordered the onion rings, a huge basket containing some of the largest onion rings we've seen. Perfectly cooked with a breading that didn't flake off, accompanied by a chipotle BBQ sauce and ranch, and in no way greasy, this is the standard all future onion rings will be judged against. The thin crust pizza popped with color from the peppers and got a hearty flavor from the sausage. Enough for two people to split, or one hungry person on their own, it makes for a great combo with the beer.

On the beer side, we also tried to order new-to-us beers although we did end up with one we'd tried before. The 12 beers available ranged from Pilsner to IPAs, all the way to an imperial barrel aged stout. Das Dom, the "repeat beer," is a Kolsch-style, session beer that starts with a bit of a sweet aroma but drinks less so and tasted particularly fine on the patio. We were split on which beer was our favorite with the tie being between Sabrage and Chapter 3. Sabrage is a Brut IPA, a style that seems to be popping up all over as a bit of a correction from the [over] abundance of hazy IPAs that have recently come into favor. The light aroma was followed by a juicy and refreshing flavor and clocked in at a moderate 6.1% ABV. Chapter 3, a West Coast IPA, showcased the deliciousness of Simcoe, Mosaic and Azacca hops, again with a moderate ABV of 6.4%. Had we not been so full from the food we may well have enjoyed an extended patio session alternating between these two.

While this new location is a bit further out, for those who tend to focus on inner Portland, the trade off is a relaxed golf course setting that can be enjoyed year round with ample, free parking. Plus, once the brewing system cranks up later this year, they'll be putting out sour and mixed culture beers. With head brewer Sean Burke's background at The Commons we expect to see some outstanding beers being produced and are excited for many return visits.

Von Ebert Brewing (East)
14021 NE Glisan
11 am - 11 pm Monday - Thursday
11 am - midnight Friday & Saturday
11 am - 1o pm Sunday
Family friendly

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Picks for Cider Summit 2018

The 2018 Cider Summit kicks off Friday at 3pm (2pm if you spring for the VIP entry) at The Fields Park. With over 200 ciders from more than 60 cideries some hard choice are going to be made because even if you attend the full 10 hours of the festival spanning Friday and Saturday afternoons, in order to try all of the ciders you'd have to maintain a pace of one sample every three minutes. That doesn't even leave time for bathroom breaks or eating! 

We've compiled a short list of ciders we're most excited about, some of which we were introduced to for the first time last week. Some of those made our short list and overall we're giving preference to Oregon cideries even though the Washington, California, New Hampshire, New York, Canada, England, France and Spain cideries that will be there will likely have some things we would love. Tough choices. 

The top eight cideries we'll scouring the festival grounds for:
^5 Cider - 4 ciders and although most of what we've tried from them has gone a little overboard with the sour/tartness they made a cider for the Fruit Cider Challenge called Pineapple & Oak that sounds tasty and interesting.
Apple Outlaw - 4 ciders, including one in the Fruit Cider Challenge. We have very little experience with this cidery but the Pura Vida Pineapple has gotten pretty good ratings on Untappd and we do enjoy pineapples in our cider. Since the Challenge cider wasn't listed in advance that might be a game time decision.
Baird & Dewar - 4 ciders, including Peach Fuzz as their Fruit Cider Challenge entry. Having had three of their ciders before, including a previous version of Constitution and a peach/apricot blend, we were pleased to find leather or barnyard funk in all of them. That bodes well for these four and we might have to try all of them.
Blue Mountain - 3 ciders, all "Limely." We've only had one of theirs to date but were impressed by the fruit profile in the raspberry so we'll have to try at least one of these.
Bull Run - 4 ciders, of which we have had the Bramble Berry, and including Pineapple Perry for the Fruit Cider Challenge. The Bramble along with the Cranberry Perry we had both exhibited the barnyardy characteristic that never fails to hook us. Perhaps we'll have to do a back-to-back-to-back with their pineapple, ^5 and Apple Outlaw.
New West (the cider arm of Sasquatch Brewery) - 4 ciders, including a cherry one in the Fruit Cider Challenge. Of the four they are pouring we've had two, one we loved, one that was meh. It's likely we'll have at least one of the other two.
WildCraft - 3 ciders, one of which we had at the preview and two others, one barrel-aged and one a farmhouse. Yep, we'll be giving those a try!
Bandon Rain - 3 ciders, of which Don't Burn Grose sounds intriguing. Read on to see why.

Although we tried all of the 1859 Cider Co. from Salem at the preview, they were delicious and we HIGHLY encourage you to try them, too.

Perhaps we'll see you there tomorrow (and say hi if you see us first!).

2018 Cider Summit
The Fields Park, 1099 NW Overton
3 - 8pm Friday, 12 - 5pm Saturday
$35 general admission tickets at the door include tasting glass and 12 tickets, additional tasting tickets $2 each

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Oregon Cider Week 2018

The door has barely closed on PDX Beer Week and now it's time for Oregon Cider Week. Kicking off today, June 21st, and running through Sunday, July 1st the the number and variety of official events is as impressive as Beer Week. We know we won't be able to make it to them all, nor preview them all, but what we can do is give you our take on some of the ciders and cideries.

Earlier this week we were given a preview of 20 of the cideries that will be taking part in Oregon Cider Week. Some, like Finnriver and Cider Riot!, were familiar while others, like 1859 Cider Co. and Art+Science, we hadn't even heard of before. It kind of took us back to the days when we were discovering craft breweries, somewhat overwhelming but in a wonderful, exciting way.

Before we talk about the ciders that hit the highest notes for us at the preview, we have to tell you about the special Oregon Cider Week donut that Blue Star has created. The brioche donut is frosted with a beautiful and delicious combination of Finnriver Lavender Black Currant cider, black currant puree and Bee Local Hot Honey. Available for the duration of Oregon Cider week at all of their locations, it is worth seeking out, whether it's enjoyed on its own or enjoyed with Finnriver's cider.

As we back away from the donuts, it's time to talk about the ciders that most impressed us.

Finnriver Lavender Black Currant - Staring out with a spectacular color and wine-like aroma, the berry/floral flavor is followed by a pleasant wine aftertaste.

1859 Strawberry - Both the aroma and flavor of this cider are exactly like that of fresh strawberries, with no alcohol flavor at all.

Alter Ego Guardian Angel - This combination of blueberries and pomegranates are juice, juice, all juice baby.

WildCraft Elderberry Perry - Oregon elderberries are fermented whole in a red Bartlett perry and aged for three months, resulting in a juicy brew with mild alcohol flavor. 

WildCraft Trinity Pome Blend - Lovely, funky tastiness!

1859 Green Dragon - This represents the perfect balance of sweet and dry. As a bonus, it pairs wonderfully with prosciutto.

While we would be happy to belly up at one location and drink any kegs of the above ciders dry, to fully experience Oregon ciders, we recommend checking out one of the festivals or other events that feature multiple ciders and cideries. Here's a brief list with the full event list and details found here.
June 23
Oregon Cider Week Saturday Sampling
Tasting event featuring Baird & Dewar, Carlton Cyderworks and WildCraft Ciderworks
2 - 4 pm
McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop 2290 NW Thurman Street, Portland

June 23
Happy Cider Day
11 ciders, including the 1859 Strawberry we are so enamored with
6 - 9 pm
The Westside Taphouse & Growler Fill 1594 Edgewater Street NW, SALEM

June 23 & 24 
3rd Annual Fruit Cider Invitational
24 Oregon-made fruit ciders from Cider Riot! and others
2 - 8 pm
Cider Riot! 807 NE Couch Street, Portland

June 24
Dog wash at Bushwacker Cider
Charity dog wash benefitting Clackamas County Dog Control with 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Seattle Cider Co. and Bushwacker Cider, 21+
12 - 3 pm
Bushwacker Cider, 1212-D SE Powell Blvd, Portland

June 25
PDX Cideries Nite
Event features cideries located in the city of Portland
6 - 10 pm
Portland Cider House, 3638 SE Hawthorne, Portland

June 26
Oregon Cider Celebration
Draft and bottled offerings from Oregon cider companies
4 - 7 pm
Tin Bucket 3520 N Williams Avenue, Portland

June 27
OMSI After Dark: Ciderfest
Featuring 17 cideries, this 21+ event includes science demonstrations, $30 tickets 
7 - 10 pm
OMSI 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland

June 29 & June 30
Cider Summit Portland
Nearly 200 ciders from across the nation, general admission tickets $30 in advance, $35 at the door
3 - 8 pm Friday, 12 - 5 pm Saturday
The Fields 1099 NW Overton, Portland

July 1
Cider + Donuts
Donuts from Blue Star, NOLA and Delicious paired with NW ciders
11 am - 10 pm
Portland Cider House 3638 SE Hawthorne, Portland

July 1
Oregon Cider Week Pairing Menu
Curated 3-course menu pairing Baird & Dewar, WildCraft and OR/WA Cider Co-Op ciders with food, $45
5 - 9:30 pm
Ned Ludd 3925 NE MLK Jr., Portland 

In addition to places to drink cider, there are a couple of retailers offering discounts on packaged ciders. To start off the week, New Seasons Market will offer 20% off all hard ciders June 22 - 24 (Friday - Sunday). Picking up the discounts a couple days later is People's Food Co-Op, with 10% off the purchase of any six ciders June 26 - July 1 (Tuesday - Sunday).

For those looking to get some education along with their cider check out:
June 21 
Cider Appreciation Class
Explore 20+ ciders, many of Nat's favorite cideries from around the world and the history of the craft, $50 tickets 
7 - 9:30 pm
Rev. Nat's Cidery & Taproom 1813 NE 2nd Avenue, Portland

June 25 
History & Science of Cider
Enjoy 9 ciders from around the world with cider makers from Cider Riot! and Portland Cider company leading an educational class, $25 tickets 
7 -10 pm
Cider Riot! 807 NE Couch, Portland

*Please note that we did not try all of the ciders at the preview, nor does this represent all of the ciders that will be at Oregon Cider Week Events. We do what we can but even we have our limits.