When Peaks and Pints’ friend Mr. Underhill showed up at our door this morning, we could see right away that he had it bad. We told him to walk over to our cooler and we’d give him a more thorough examination. Now, we’re not a doctor but we sometimes play one in front of the TV. Mr. Underhill was obviously restless. His skin was perhaps a little pale and his back had a strange curve to it. We told him to describe any other symptoms he was having. “Well,” he said, “some people say that I haven’t been acting rationally lately. My dad thinks it’s crazy that I quit my job.” He also told us that his feet had been itchy. We knew right away that it was May Fever. It was an easy diagnosis to make because we’ve seen its symptoms a thousand times among our customers. The worst part is that it’s contagious. Once one of customers suffers an outbreak it usually spreads quite quickly among the rest of us. Mr. Underhill looked a little distraught over the pronouncement of his disease. We patted his knee, consolingly. “There is no cure for May Fever,” we told him, “but there are some things we can do that will put it into remission.” We wrote him out a list of prescribed therapy: “First, you need a little sun to darken your skin. Too much hunching over at your desk causes that curve in your back. You’ll need to put a backpack on to reverse the direction of the curve. And you can relieve the itching in your feet by scuffing along our cooler and filling your backpack with fruity ciders. “Which ones? Mr. Underhill asked. We listed the five in today’s Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight 5.6.19: Fruity Ciders. “I propose a toast,” we said, filling the last of five taster glasses full of fruity cider. “Here’s to fruity ciders.” “To fruity ciders,” Mr. Underhill repeated. And we clinked our 5-ounce glasses together.
Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight 5.6.19: Fruity Ciders
Oregonian Jeff and British Lydia launched Portland Cider Company in 2012 with the intent of marrying English cider traditions with the innovative Northwest micro-brewing culture. It all started from a desire to make the clean, dry cider Lynda grew to love in England, and Jeff yearned to find in Oregon. With their Apricot Tango they create sunshine in a tulip glass with tangerines, apricots and just a hint of orange blossoms. It’s semi-sweet, juicy, fruity and delicious.
When his North Portland neighbor begged him to take his backyard apples off his hand in 2004, Nat West began experimenting with fermentation, turning the small green apples into hard cider. His friends went nuts. West would go on to hold weekly free cider parties at his house, experimenting on his friends, which ended up at 50 or so people. In the summer of 2011, West launched Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, most likely the only cidery in Portland. This cider is a blend of fermented fresh apple juice sourced from Eastern Washington and unfermented fresh pineapple juice. A touch of cinnamon, cloves and allspice is added. The spice and pineapple hit the nose and tongue with notes of green apples and pear. Delicious.
About a 1,000 people live in Tonasket, a city in Okanogan County, Washington. Lucky them to have Ole Swede Cider in their backyard. Tonasket native Casey Oberg launched Ole Swede Cider on his family farm in 2014. His blueberry cider is crafted from Jonathan, Jonagold, Gala, and Manchurian Crab apples handpicked near the Okanogan River on the Maldonado Family Orchard and Big Check Orchard near Loomis. These apples were naturally fermented with blueberries from Hunter’s Moon Farm creating notes of tart blueberry skin, red wine, cherry, pomegranate and lemon.
Grant Barnes and Neal Hennessy started making cider as a hobby, and it turned into a vocation. One Tree Hard Cider started in Barnes’ Spokane Valley garage, with exactly one recipe: a relatively straightforward semi-sweet apple cider. They went pro in the summer of 2014. This beauty has One Tree’s dessert apple cider base that is blended with fresh-pressed Washington apple juice and locally sourced wild huckleberry for a sweet and tart concoction.
In 2018, Chris Noskoff, Abraham Ebert and Brad Wilske founded Lost Giants Cider Company in Bellingham, Washington, focusing on handcrafted modern and traditional ciders that showcase the agricultural abundance in the state. Their Elderberry Cider is ruby red, semi-dry cider made with regional Elderberries and a blend of traditional dessert and cider apples. The tartness of the elderberry is balanced with sweet Washington apples giving us a subtle sharpness, delicate mouthfeel and a semi-dry finish. Aroma brings out fresh elderberries upfront, with light apple acidity. On the tongue, expect fresh elderberry character upfront, with tart fruit skins, and crisp apple acidity. It’s nicely balanced, with a good expression on the berries.