Already legendary for its craft spirits, urban wineries and copious microbrews, Portland is now on the forefront of the next adult beverage wave: cider. With world-class apple orchards in the surrounding valleys and plenty of boundary-pushing brewers (not to mention a large gluten-free population looking for sudsy alternatives to beer) Brewvana is a natural place for the cider trend to take root.
The inaugural NW Ciderfest in 2014 brought even more attention to the tart beverage. The daylong event transformed Pioneer Courthouse Square into autumn’s tastiest experience with pours from 20 Northwest cideries, apple-based cocktails and even an apple pie eating contest.
Ciders to sample
Not sure where to start sipping? Try a few of our local favorites.
The nation’s first dedicated cider pub, Bushwhacker Cider was at the forefront of Portland’s cider scene when it opened in 2010. The original Southeast Portland location has more than 300 cider bottles for sale and eight taps to sample from. A newer Northeast Portland location features 12 ciders on tap and signature cider cocktails.
36-year-old Cider Riot! owner Abram Goldman-Armstrong has been immersed in all things cider for more than half his life, from a high school job planting apple trees to sampling Gaelic varieties while touring Ireland. His flagship release, “The Burncider,” snagged a silver medal in the 2014 Portland International Cider Cup.
Portland Cider Co.
Frustrated by a lack of U.S.-based commercial cider offerings, Portland Cider Company founder Jeff Parrish began brewing his own goods in the fall of 2012. The cidery focuses on traditional English-style handcrafted cider made with fresh Northwest apples for a tasty cross-cultural twist. Their Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard cider house features their own brews plus guest ciders on 28 total taps.
Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider
To say “Reverend” Nat West is passionate about his small-batch ciders is an understatement. (West proudly proclaims himself an “ordained minister in the faith of hard cider.”) Look for blends made with whole heirloom apples and an array of ingenious ingredients from hibiscus to pineapple to apricot.
Square Mile Cider
Inspired by the indomitable spirit of Oregon Trail pioneers, Square Mile Cider seeks to reinvigorate American cider with inventive blends of classic apples. Their flagship brew “The Original” combines Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious and Jonagolds, all picked and pressed by hand.
The cidery formerly known as Outcider reemerged in May of 2014 with a new name but the same locally grown, fresh-pressed fruit. Brewed in Northeast Portland, offerings from Swift Cider include semi-sweet, dry-hopped, spicy ginger and barrel-aged varietals.