A Thirst for Cider: Oregon Cider Week

What was once old is new again. This holds true not just for fashion but also for cider. The US has now experienced a cultural resurgence of cider and is developing quite a thirst for it.

Once Colonial America’s drink of choice, the U.S. is quickly returning back to its roots for inspiration. According to federal data, draft cider sales rose 700 percent between 2011 and 2012; in 2012, U.S. cider sales topped $90 million.  Why?  First, thanks to the interest and subsequent growth of craft beer, the craft cider industry has grown as well. Furthermore, the interest in and demand for something new and different, and perhaps healthier, has created the perfect opportunity for cider.

Data also suggest that the average cider drinker is 20-35 years old. A number of these younger drinkers, particularly in the Northwest, are looking for something authentic, original, and different from the mass-produced sub-par cider and beer. Given all of this data, the Pacific Northwest is the perfect place for a craft revolution.

The resurgence of interest in cider has been very notable in Oregon.  On June 20, Oregon kicked off its third annual Oregon Cider Week with Cider Summit Portland, featuring over 140 ciders from 37 producers, from 6 states and 7 countries. This event will continue on to Seattle, Chicago, and Berkeley. Portland showed its support by coming in droves: 3,000 to 4,000 visitors over two days, to be exact. It was a well-attended event with a lot of people enjoying the sun, the music, and the cider being poured by artisan cider houses.  The rest of the week featured events throughout the state including a number of tap takeovers, happy hours, tastings, and dinners.

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I had the honor of attending the Cider Feast Dinner at St. Honoré Boulangerie off SE Division Street in Portland. Hosted by St. Honoré Boulangerie, Chef Dominique Geulin, and Kevin Zielinski, E.Z. Orchards’ owner and cider maker, this five-course French-style dinner showcased ciders from Finnriver Farm and Cidery,  Virtue Cider, Reverend Nat’s Cidery, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, and E.Z. Orchards.

Cider Feast Dinner

Cider Feast Dinner

The pairings dinner featured a beautiful Goat Cheese and Rainer Cherry tartalette, a mixed green salad tossed with Finnriver Black Currant Cider vinaigrette, a plate of country pâté and chicken liver mousse paired with a E.Z. Orchards cider mustard, and a gorgeous Alsatian-meets-Northwest tarte flambé. This feast was all finished off with a very interesting Cider and Saffron Sabayon.

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For me, it was a beautifully-paired dinner by Chef Geulin, and I will make sure to return during St. Honoré Boulangerie’s happy hour for more cider-based cocktails soon. What is unique about St. Honoré Boulangerie is that they create not only beautiful breads and quiches but also wood-fired pizzas. I was happy to taste some of my favorite cider producers, from E.Z. Orchards to Finnriver to Reverend Nat’s, all paired in this great cider dinner. I look forward to seeing the other great events Portland has to offer.

Stay tuned!

 

 

The Rise of the Craft Beer Revolution

Double Mountain Brews from Bend, Oregon

Double Mountain Brews from Hood River, Oregon

Tell me if this doesn’t completely entice you to want to drink a beautifully crafted Oregon beer:

“Welcome to a place where the water runs pure and clean, from snow-capped mountaintops through lush green valleys. A place where hops grow in such abundance, their harvest is celebrated each autumn by beer makers and beer lovers alike. A place with a metropolitan area that has more craft brewers per capita than any other place on earth. Is it a dream? No. It’s Oregon, home to Oregon Craft Beer. And we’ve been waiting for you.”

This was brought to you by the Oregon Craft Beer Guild.

Oregon is home to over 136 brewing company operating in 61 cities across the state. Did you know that in Portland alone, there are 54 breweries—and over 70, if you include the entire metro-area?  Portland has beat out Cologne, Germany, for the highest number of breweries per capita and has become the Microbrew Capital of the world.  For my German husband, this revelation is a serious blow to his ego.  Good thing for us, we live in Oregon!

Well, if you haven’t heard of Oregon beer, it is time to pay attention. Oregon is home to craft-brewing pioneers such as Deschutes Brewery, RogueHopworks Urban Brewery, Santiam Brewing, Widmer Brothers BrewingMcMenamins, and Full Sail Brewing Co.—all of which make incredible beers that are well worth the trip to visit.  Oregon craft brewers make a wide range of beer styles, so there is always going to be something for you.

Given all of this, it is not surprising that Portland has been chosen as the first place for the launch of the film CRAFT this Thursday, April 3, 2014, at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland.  It will be the first of a multi-city tour; click here for more information on upcoming stops in Denver, Fort Collins, Austin, Oakland, and San Diego.

If you are new to the craft beer scene, this film follows a Cicerone (a beer expert— Cicerone is to beer as Sommelier is to wine) by the name of Craig Noble on his coast-to-coast once-in-a-lifetime journey, from his start as an apprentice at a farm brewery, to his beer schooling in Vermont and then to the development of his own farmhouse ale recipe.  This documentary film also takes a look at how breweries are taking on the mandates of quality, creativity, and integrity expected in this industry and the passion required by the people behind these hand-crafted beers.  Enjoy the trailer!

I am just now discovering all there is to offer in this great foodie-and-beverage capital of the Pacific Northwest.  Local is what is supported here, and Oregonians are very loyal to all things local. Furthermore, if your local brewery is putting on something that supports local causes (as Santiam Brewery supports the local Humane Society), Oregonians will be there.

From start to finish, the beer making process

From start to finish, the beer making process

Visiting Oregon soon?

If you are coming to visit Oregon, make sure to save the dates of upcoming events in the area:

April

April  3            Widmer Brothers Pub Grand Re-Opening in Portland

April 3             CRAFT Film Launch at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland

April 18-19      20th Annual Spring Beer & Wine Fest at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland

April 25-27      10th Annual Brew Fest at Oregon Gardens in Silverton

May

May 2-3          Cinco de Micro Brew Fest at the Salem Convention Center in Salem

May 16-17       Brewer’s Memorial Ale Fest – 8th Annual in Newport (Rogue)

May 23- 31      Central Oregon Beer Week  in Bend

May 30-31       Cheers to Belgian Beers in Portland

June

June 21           Eastern Oregon Beer Festival in La Grande

June 2-29       10th Annual North American Organic Brewers Festival at Overland Park in Portland

July- Oregon Craft Beer Month

July 23-27       27th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland

If you are looking for great events in your own neck of the woods, visit the Beer Advocate for more information.

A few of my favorite local Brewers

Come support some of the local Oregon Breweries. If you aren’t in the area, take note of these great places, and add them to your Must Visit list!

There are a few of my favorite places:

Portland
Salem
Hood River
Bend

Check out this great page for more info on all there is to offer in Bend: BeerMeBend

Ashland
Pacific City
Eugene

Brewery Tours in Portland

There are tours for everyone here in Oregon. Choose your own adventure below:

Enjoy and drink safely! Cheers!

About the author: April Yap-Hennig

April Yap-Hennig is a wine lover and marketer with 12 years of experience in International Marketing and Communication in Europe and the United States, and with life experience also in the Caribbean and South America. She holds a Masters in Viticulture and Enology from the University of La Rioja, Spain, an MBA from Purdue University, and B.A. from University of Utah. She is also a Certified Wine Sommelier from the International Wine Guild in Colorado.  April was born in Utah, raised in the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, and has lived and worked in The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. Her love of wine started when she studied in La Rioja, Spain, during her undergraduate studies. This is where she fell in love with the country, the region, the people, the culture, and, finally, the wine–thus changing her life and eventually her career.

She is now the co-founder and owner of Epicurean Media, a beverage-and-food artisan public relations and marketing consultancy; she also founded and writes the Sacred Drop Channel at www.sacreddrop.com. She is forging a new future in Oregon with her husband and their hilarious French bulldog, Guapo.

Check out her websites:www.about.me/aprilyaphennig,  www.sacreddrop.com, and www.epicureanmedia.com.