Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Barrel Aged Ciders: A Collaboration Between Reverend Nat's and Raven&Rose

Warning: This post is not about beer. It's about cider that's almost as good as beer.

Reverend Nat's, always on the cutting edge of the cider world, has teamed up with Raven&Rose to produce two barrel aged ciders. Raven&Rose provided the Eagle Rare Bourbon barrels where Revival and Sacrilege ciders sat for about four months. This Thursday those ciders will be available at the Rookery Bar above Raven&Rose.

Before we get to the ciders and happenings  on Thursday, I wanted to share some of what I learned during the "lecture" owner Nat West gave to the Oregon Bartender's Guild. "Lecture" isn't really fair since it was one of the most interesting presentations I've been to (not to mention there was cider being poured throughout). He covered the history of cider in the US and abroad, the process of making cider and the varieties of cider.

Some of the most interesting takeaways:
  • Prohibition was even more devastating to the cider industry than the beer industry. Thousands of apple varieties, suited only for cider making and not eating, were lost when there was no market for them. Unlike beer, when Prohibition was lifted producers couldn't just start making their product again; they had to wait for apples to be grown before they could resume their business.
  • The Pacific Northwest is the fastest growing region in the US for cider. This is due in large part to easy (and inexpensive) access to apples from Washington, the nation's top apple-producing state.
  • Glucose is the sugar in apples. Maltose is the sugar in grains. Glucose is much easier for yeast to eat. (Things got really science-nerdy here.)
  • Most cider makers in the US use white wine yeast. Nat's a bit different (in case you missed his experiments with Angel of Death and Kumiss Mongolian Milkwine) and he uses Belgian yeast.
  • All yeasts have different nutritional and temperature requirements. Nat is dialed in to what his yeast needs and has been known to show up at the cidery at all hours of the night to make sure they're able to do their job optimally.
  • Even with all that attention, yeast used to make cider cannot be repitched, they're just too tired (true across the cider industry).

Now, back to the upcoming release of these two barrel aged ciders. I had a chance to try each and I can assure you that the barrel did its work on the Revival, imparting a ton of bourbon aroma and flavor. Not being a bourbon connoisseur the subtleties may have been lost on me but those more well-versed in the spirit should enjoy the side-by-side boilermaker experience of the cider and the bourbon from that barrel. The effect of the barrel on the Sacrilege is completely different and the result is a very dry and tart product. Intended to be a primary component in the Old Fashioned, generally a very sweet drink, the goal was to enhance the sour, dry and funkiness of the cider. Both the boilermaker and the "Old Fashioned" will be available for $10.

For those not able to make it to Raven&Rose Thursday there are a limited number of bottles of each barrel aged cider. But I can't tell you more than that...just yet. Keep up with Reverend Nat's online or check back here. I promise to let you know more as soon as I can.

Eagle Rare Bourbon Barrel Aged Ciders Release Party
Raven&Rose's Rookery Bar
1331 SW Broadway
Thursday, June 25th 6-10 pm

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing! Hoping I get lucky and can find one of these elusive bottles of Rev Nat's barrel aged cider, as it sounds like something I'd be interested in.

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