The next cider up from Portland Cider is their Prickly Punch that uses the desert prickly pear.
And not just prickly pear but orange, guava and strawberry. Which flavor will lord over the others? Or will it be a democracy of fruit?
The orange and guava have ceded ground to at first strawberry and then the prickly pear before the cider itself steps in. Thankfully it is not as sweet as I feared it would be. Has a nice bracing mouthfeel to it.
This is a proper dark bar. Takes time to adjust to the lack of light. Secondly, probably should be called Alma’s Cider and wine and two beers, Granted the two drafts were good (love to seea side pull) but the ciders were way more dramatic an interesting by far.
While waiting fir the mulled cider to warm up, I started with the Winter Mash from Balcom which promised Cranberry and spruce tips. The cranberry made it but the tree did not but it was a tasty and tart and vivid cider.
Beer buddy Rich wowed about the Paloma cider from Stem and also liked the funky Basque Sagardo too. I really like the atmosphere and my only complaint is that they are only open starting at 5pm. Would like to have an afternoon cider and explore the menu further.
The next cider up from Portland Cider is Lemon Drop made with not just regular lemons but the extra fancy Meyer variety.
I was really hoping to get a big ol’ punch of Meyer lemon in this one. I really like lemon flavor but I just did not find it in this cider named after a cocktail. That is not to say that this wasn’t a good tasting cider, just that the name led me to a destination that it just could not arrive at.
I went big with the first choice of Portland Cider’s appley offerings, straight to an Imperial, with peach tea.
Before I describe it, here is the website description, “A rich, golden imperial cider from crisp Northwest apples and mouthwateringly juicy Washington peaches. Steeped Assam black tea from Steven Smith Teamaker adds an extra zing that puts this cider a notch above the rest.”
To start, for this to be successful, I need to taste an apple base followed by peach tea. A spiced apple flavor is there and I am picking up some tea tannins in the background. Past that though, I am not getting much. It is tasty to drink but, to me, the imperial, the peach and the tea are well hidden. I kinda expect peach to be background but tea should be there.
Beer can’t have all the winter seasonal fun, so let’s crack open a fruited cider from Two Towns Cider House…
“Tart & complex, Crimson Bliss is full of berry charm. Bright cranberries and black currants make this the perfect compliment for gathering around the fire this season, so take some time to kick back and enjoy a moment of bliss.”
I am working on a piece to submit to Beer Paper LA about Benny Boy that will have backstory, impressions and big words so in this post, let’s talk about the beer and cider that was pouring.
I had six of the seven opening week beers. Poured straight from the tank by the way. I saved the IPA for a follow up visit.
I was most taken by the top two on the list. Mexican styled lagers are, at times, purposefully plain. Lincoln Heights Lager is light yellow in color so I thought it might fall into that category as well. But it had a nice spice (almost rye) as well as a deep corn flavor to it. The Other Lover is a low ABV delight as well with a lemon verbena note and almost easier to find your glass empty as the lager. I also want to mention the Midnight Swim which is a nice example of a Belgian Dark Strong ale.
Cross the courtyard over to the cider (and natural wine) building where you will find higher ABVs than in the brewery. These, I tasted all of and I came away very impressed by the two dry ciders at the top of the list especially. You could instantly taste the apple, peel and all in the single apple version and the double apple, you could taste both. In my experience the actual apple is sometimes covered by carbonation or other flavors. Not so here. Even the pineapple and pomegranate versions were decidedly apple forward, to the point that I wanted less apple.
This is a strong opening. I don’t say that often. Beer fans will be found here this year.
Unfortunately, the 2021 Cider Summit will be virtual but that means that those outside the NW can get in on the action from home.
Here are the available boxes…
Global Selections kit includes 6 ciders from British Columbia, England, France, Germany, Spain and California. The kit also includes 2 Cider Summit Festival tasting glasses and promotional merchandise from participating cidermakers.
Washington Harvest kit includes 6 WA-based ciders selection to match the changing of the season. The kit also includes 2 Cider Summit Festival tasting glasses and promotional merchandise from participating cidermakers.
NW Refreshers kit includes 8 refreshing ciders, seltzers and alternative beverages. The kit also includes 2 Cider Summit Festival tasting glasses and promotional merchandise from participating producers.