I write about cider every year. If nothing else, I’m consistent.
I love cider. Regular apple cider fresh from the press or hard cider straight from the tap, I’ll take either. They taste like fall to me.
I grew up drinking apple juice. I like the usual suspects, the Treetops of the world in all their various forms, but if there’s one of those little round bottles of Martinelli’s, I’ll reach for it first.
But I digress. This is not about juice. This is about cider.
The best cider is always one that’s fresh, one that’s local. If you’re local to Portland and can make a trip to the Portland Farmer’s Market, I’d suggest giving Draper Girl’s Country Farm a try. They make a variety of unpasteurized ciders including a pear one that’s fantastic. Unfortunately, being unpasteurized, their ciders need to be consumed almost immediately so if you’re looking to stock up for the winter, this is not the way to go. This is a nice treat to drink while you’re in line for a Pine State Biscuit.
Another local, fresh cider of note is the apple cider produced on site at Bauman Farms. Sadly, we’ve missed this year’s pumpkin drop already. I’m not sure how that got by me. Put it on the calendar for next year. Regardless, they have fantastic cider, pressed and bottled on site, as well as fresh cider donuts. Because what you need to accompany some sweet, cold cider is a sweet, warm donut.
Now here’s where it gets a little crazy: the boozy adult ciders out there are getting better and better. Raise your hand if you remember when Hornsby’s was the only one that was readily available. I remember. And it was okay, mostly because it was the only thing out there.
It’s getting better, kids. In May, Portland hosted its first cider festival, the Cider Summit. I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t go. Next year, I won’t be making the same mistake.
In the meantime, I can take comfort knowing that Portland also has a cider bar. Yes, a cider bar. Bushwacker Cider at 12th and Powell offers, according to its website,”inventive House Ciders, 7 Ciders on Draft, 130+ ciders in bottle, darts and pointless conversation.” That’s all sorts of things I like. How have I not been there yet? Seems October is the perfect time to go.
One last cider to offer and then we’re done for the day. I was communing with a branch of the Timbers Army at Bottles during our most recent match and came across an offering from Tieton Cider Works in one of the coolers there. It was their apricot cider, crisp and dry and sparkly. It tasted like that last bit of summer sun fading into harvest season. Absolutely lovely. If you’re in the area or if you have a favorite bar that can get it for you, it’s well worth it. They also have some of their ciders ready to ship from the Tieton website, but the apricot isn’t available there as the end of apricot season has passed us by.
Those of you not in the Portland area, go out and find your own local cider makers. If you’ve got fruit trees within a 200 mile radius of where you are, there’s a good chance there’s a little mom and pop operation nearby just waiting to pour you a glass or two.
So, there you go. Today’s October Thought: ciders for any palate. Go get ’em.