On a sunny summer’s day in downtown Portland, one park became the center for the entire cider loving community of the Northwest! Casual fans to die-hard experts came from all around to attend the fifth annual Cider Summit PDX, as well as the 15th Cider Summit produced.
More 150 ciders from around the world were represented over the course of the two-day event, allowing fans to try out a variety of different cider styles, techniques and interpretations. Cider makers were also invited to submit a special fruit cider for the Fruit Cider Challenge, a new ongoing feature of Cider Summit PDX sponsored by the Oregon Fruit Products. Patrons were able to rub shoulders with industry professionals and pick the brains of cider makers and representatives from Portland to Normandy, France. Sweet cider, dry cider, iced cider, herbal ciders, hopped ciders, non-cider ciders!
Sip Northwest and CIDERCRAFT magazine were on hand to take in the event, and although we couldn’t try all 150 ciders (despite wanting to), we’ve rounded up some top picks to look out for in your neighborhood bottle shop/taproom.
Baird & Dewar Farmhouse Cider—2013 Farmhouse
Offering small batch, English-style farmhouse ales developed over years of home cider making and expertise learned from professional winemaking, Baird & Dewar have been gained a reputation for cider that’s a bit different. Often featuring ciders that are unfiltered, barrel-aged and deep of flavor, Baird & Dewar has established somewhat of a cult status. 2013 Farmhouse comes across with citrus and pineapple on the nose, with a dry, tart flavor only accentuated by its unfiltered quality. Aged in Chardonnay barrels, and given a nice Champagne sparkle, it’s a cider that’s both refreshing and complex. You can read our review of the 2012 Farmhouse here.
Manoir Du Parc—Authentic Poire
If you’re fearful of being laughed at for your feeble attempts at speaking French, then you should probably steer clear of this one. But if you’re interested in intriguing cider from across the pond, then Manoir Du Parc is right up your alley. The Authentic Poire is a pear cider, refreshingly carbonated with a ripe pear flavor and just a touch of peach. Perfect for a hot summers day, and way too easy to drink the whole growler yourself.
Wildcraft Ciderworks—Snake River Rye
This cider literally hits you over the head with its rye whiskey flavor. Full-bodied with a subtle creamy like quality, vanilla and apple flavors all encapsulating an alcohol sweetness. Definitely not for everyone, but definitely worth seeking out if you have the chance.
Cider Riot—Pie Cherry
This cherry Brettnamoyces cider aged on bogmyrtle (a herb native to Scotland) reminds us that sometimes subtlety is the way to go. Cherry notes do not dominate this cider, but rather offer just a hint of something different. Full-bodied, unfiltered and reminiscent of a tart cherry pie (hence the name).
Attila Cider—Scourge of God
Don’t worry… this cider’s perfectly harmless. The flagship product for Attila Cider out of Ellensburg, Washington is a lightly carbonated, slightly tart cider with a clean apple flavor. Let it linger for a second, and a dry tannic quality remains on the palate you didn’t get to begin with. The perfect cider for a hot summers day, where all you want is an easy drinking, well done cider to spend your afternoon with.
Cider Summit PDX shall return next summer to the Rose City. But, if you can’t wait that long, the next Summit will take place this September 11th and 12th in Seattle.