While Portland is known for having more breweries than any other city in the world, amazing wines from the nearby Willamette Valley and a host of craft distilleries, the latest beverage trend in town is hard cider. Because the tart beverage is made from fermented apples, Oregon cider makers have plenty of raw material from the apple-growing regions of the state and neighboring Washington. Cider making draws from techniques typically used in brewing and winemaking, such as using oak barrels to age the brew or adding hops to increase its bitterness, making it a perfect fit for Portland.
Some Portland companies push the traditional boundaries by using gin or whiskey barrels to age some of their product, along with other unorthodox techniques. Other cideries, such as Portland Cider Company, focus on traditional semi-sweet and dry options. Reverend Nat’s Cidery makes traditional dry and off-dry varieties, but is also known for non-traditional versions (such as the “Hibiscus Hymnal,” which uses hibiscus, raspberry and a Czech yeast often found in Pilsner beers).
In addition to these new makers, cider from other Oregon makers such as Wandering Aengus, EZ Orchards and Blue Mountain can be found on tap and in bottles throughout the city. It is common to see several ciders offered alongside numerous craft beers at many of the city’s tap rooms and bottle shops, including favorites like Apex, Hawthorne Hophouse and Saraveza, or highlighted at restaurants like St. Honore on Division.
Portland cider scene
Portland Cider Co.
One of Portland’s most prominent cideries, Portland Cider House offers 30 unique flavors of cider on tap (one of the largest and most diverse collections of cider in the country). Flavors rotate seasonally, but several unique options (including Pineapple Rosé cider) are available year-round. Fill a growler, order a pint or get a tasting flight to sample from while digging into their pub menu.
Schilling Cider House
Located in the Goat Blocks (a roaming herd of goats) on Southeast Portland’s Belmont Street, Schilling Cider House offers more than 50 ciders on tap, a 100% gluten-free menu and specialty cider drinks (like the “Cider Michelada,” a house-made spicy tomato cocktail).
Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider
Beginning in 2004 in a basement using apples from a single tree, Reverend Nat’s Cider is now one of Portland’s most prominent cider makers. In addition to selling their bottled ciders nationwide, Reverend Nat’s taproom in Northeast Portland specializes in serving unique, creative flavor combinations (such as the “Br’er Rabbit,” which is made with fresh-pressed carrot juice and apple juice) – many of which can’t be found in stores.
Located in downtown Portland’s chic Pearl District, Cider Bite offers 32 hard ciders on tap, which can be sampled by the flight, pint and half-pint. The cider menu is conveniently sorted from sweetest to driest, along with a “Divergent” section for unique ciders like the “Habanero” spicy cider and “Cold Brew” coffee cider.
One of Portland’s news cider makers, Avid Cider Co. uses fruit grown in the Pacific Northwest to craft their unique ciders. Unexpected flavor combinations include Vanilla Bean-Pear and Watermelon-Rhubarb (which you can buy by the bottle or case at their taproom).
Alter Ego Cider
Find small batch, hand-crafted ciders at Alter Ego Cider, where award-winning flavors include “The Guardian Angel” (made with Oregon blueberries and pomegranates) and “The Brut” (a pure apple cider fresh pest and fermented cool, instead of warm). In addition to their ciders, Alter Ego carries local wines and craft beer which you can enjoy on their outdoor patio.
New West Cider
Founded by two Portlanders, New West Cider is made in small batches from Pacific Northwest-grown apples and locally-sourced ingredients. Visit Sasquatch Brewing in Northwest Portland to sample from their unique flavors of cider, such as the “Estelle” (which tastes like apple pie, brown sugar and caramel) or “Impeachment” (a peach-mint cider).