Thursday, June 20, 2019

Oregon Cider Week 2019

Oregon Cider Week starts today, and just as Portland Beer Week was, this "week" is an 11-day long celebration that encompasses two weekends. We were fortunate to be able to attend a preview event earlier this week that featured 20 local cidermakers and over 60 ciders. Try as we might, we didn't make it through all of them but of the ones that we had those that rose to the top of the barrel were:

Tieton Cider Works Single Varietal Harrison - Tieton cans some of their cider but the Single Varietal series is in bottles. Speaking to them we learned that they grow all of their own fruit in Yakima and that the Harrison apple was a variety that nearly went extinct shortly after Prohibition. Not an eating apple as much as what one would consider a baking apple, it hit the mark for us as a cider apple.

Square Mile Cider Hopped Cider - First off, yes, Square Mile is a Widmer Brothers "sibling" - make of it what you will. As for this Galaxy dry-hopped cider what really impressed us was that not only did the dry-hopping impart a beer-like aroma, it provided plenty of beer-like flavor to the still-a-cider base. It's certainly not for some people but should we run across someone who was gluten-free and craving hoppiness, we'd recommend checking this cider out.

2 Towns Ciderhouse Camp Clementine - We've been impressed by 2 Towns ciders again and again so it wasn't a surprise that this passionfruit and clementine cider was one of our favorites. Passionfruit can sometimes be a bit too sweet but the clementines nicely restrained the sweetness here. Bonus points for a "sunny" and thoroughly summer looking label.

WildCraft Cider Works Willamette Heritage - There are a ton of American ciders we love but the key to our heart really is a funky, barnyard French cider and this offering from WildCraft is one of the closest we've had to something from across the ocean. If you like a bit of barnyard in your cider, too, seek this out.

AVID Cider Dragonfruit - While the aroma was a bit muddled, the flavor combination from the dragonfruit and raspberries used was quite nicely tart. The can sports an eye-catching label and we also loved it paired with the Blue Star donut* featured at the event. 

AVID Cider Watermelon Rhubarb - Would you expect a cider that smells like a Jolly Rancher to actually taste good? Of course not. You'd expect it to be gimmicky and over the top sweet. Not so in this case. Yes, it smells like a watermelon Jolly Rancher but the actual flavor is far less sweet and somehow the rhubarb manages to provide a rind-like flavor to the cider. It might possibly be black magic.

We won't re-list the information about all the Week's events here, but direct you to their website and Facebook page. One event, however, that we enjoyed last year and if we were able to attend again would be the Oregon Cider Summit. It takes place at The Fields Park Friday and Saturday and like the preview we attended, is a great way to try many ciders in one place. If you buy your ticket online today it is $30 (+ $2.85 fees) for a glass and 12 tasting tickets. At the door, if tickets remain, they will be $35.

*Vanilla cake donut with a glaze made from Bauman's Loganberry Cider, fresh raspberries and juicy blackberries. Topped with a salted crumble made with olive oil and lemon, vegan to boot. Available at all Blue Star locations throughout the Week.

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