Welcome back to Sip Northwest’s Bar Tab, a weekly selection of what to drink in the Northwest now. This week, we celebrate inspiration — be that muse the fruits used in fermentation, the people around the makers, the hops at hand or a landmark government reversal that is nearing its 80th anniversary. Come on in, belly up to the counter and order a digital drink on us.
Thompson Creek Cider Heritage Barrel Aged | From the folks at Apple Outlaw in Applegate, Oregon, comes a cider “made from and inspired by” the apples grown on the organic estate orchard set near the town’s namesake river. The Thompson Creek ciders are the cidery’s answer to the call of higher-end, barrel-aged, larger-format bottlings, which officially launched earlier this month on a limited release basis. Heirloom, or better known as “heritage” on this farm, and cider apple varieties are fermented and blended to reveal the best characteristics of the individual apples used. Once honed, the cider is then aged in rye whiskey barrels for up to six months, resulting in a rye-forward (spice, pepper) and wood-happy (vanilla, toffee) cider, complete with a ripe, golden apple fruit finish.
The Bunnell Family Cellar 2010 Lia, Columbia Valley | After receiving his masters in viticulture from the University of California, Davis in 1982, Ron Bunnell worked for a few “small” wineries while making his way up the ranks. Charles Krug, Kendall Jackson and Chateau Ste. Michelle all employed this “master of Rhône” before he went out on his own in 2005 as The Bunnell Family Cellar. The varieties of the Rhône Valley took center stage in his program from the beginning, like the Lia, named for his daughter and “inspiration par extraordinaire.” The 2010 is the current vintage on this wine, the winemaker cellaring his bottles until they reach full potential, a blend of 38 percent Mourvèdre, 34 percent Cinsault, 14 percent Petite Sirah and 14 percent Syrah. Small, brambly black fruits and berries fill the glass and aromas of baking and wood spices follow, mirroring on the palate with shades of plum and cocoa powder, bouncing acid and bracing tannins.
Caldera Brewing Dry Hop Orange Session IPA | Ok, fine, maybe it’s time to accept that fall is coming. It’s easier to do that with an abundance of hops and seasonal beer releases like Caldera Brewing’s Dry Hop Orange session IPA. One of the first breweries on the West Coast to put its beers in can, this Ashland, Oregon, brewery has led the way in the Northwest, with an expanse of inspirited beers (including brewery-only exclusives) available at the two Southern Oregon locations. No oranges were harmed in the making of this beer, the session IPA is orange in its hue but the natural attributes of the hops used — Amarillo, Cascade and Centennial — are what give the beer its name. Juicy, sweet tangerine and orange peel aromatics burst upon pour and an easy malt bill makes the slightly bitter finish exceedingly quaffable.
Yaletown Distlling Co. Vodka | Raising a glass to Repeal Day – Dec. 5, when booze was brought back to the good people of America after Prohibition — this Vancouver, British Columbia, distillery opened its doors on the same day, 80 years later. The team of tenured brewers (Yaletown Brewing Co. had served Van City successfully for more than 20 years) launched its distillery in the historic Soho Building where its tasting room sells spirits like the eponymous vodka and others of the like. The vodka is made from local 2-row malted barley, providing the distillate with the BC-grown grain’s signature fruit-forward aromas and silky smooth mouthfeel. Clean and buttery, the purity of the spirit soothes the finish and primes the palate for more.