San Gabriel based Ogopogo Brewing is branching out, so to speak, into Dry Apple Cider. And try as I might, I cannot see any mythical monsters on the label. Perhaps I am not seeing the orchard for the trees. Hopefully this will be available for pick-up at the brewery soon so I can investigate the art more.

Book Review – Uncultivated by Andy Brennan

Been on a bit of a kick of books by food people with pretty uncompromising views and Uncultivated is the tip of that particular spear.

Author Brennan walks his path and when it comes to apples and cider, it is a specific path. He grudgingly accepts that others have their way but as you read his book about his journey from NYC to a Cidery named after Aaron Burr, well you have to just go with it. Part philosophy, part natural agriculture, and all learning, this book really takes you into the mind and that explains why Brennan does what he does and why he does it in his own way.

I can sense that many readers of this book are either of this group or not but I would recommend setting aside what you know and add this information to your brain. I did not like Brennan early in this book, but as I turned the pages, I found a lot of practical information. And by the end, I really wanted to taste his cider.

1st Visit – Ficklewood Cider

I decided to chaffeur my wife into her job on a recent Saturday and used the time to hit a couple spots in Long Beach. One was Beachwood Blendery and the other is the new (a couple months old) Ficklewood Ciderworks. I will write more in depth about it for Food GPS next month but suffice it to say that they had two hopped ciders that actually were both hoppy and apple-y at the same time. So, I recommend heading out there. Bonus points is that it is next to a Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.

Cider Doughnuts

The last time that I was in Portland, I had a spirit-ed doughnut from Blue Star, the Portland chain that also has locations right here in Los Angeles.

Maybe Portland Cider will sell this “inspired by” cider down here to combine forces in SoCal too.


The United States Association of Cider Makers aka The USACM  now has its own certification, the Certified Pommelier™.

Per the press release, “The study guide covers six sections: Apples, the Orchard & History; Cider Making; Flavor & Evaluation; Cider Styles (US and Europe); Keeping & Serving; and Food & Cider. These are the same topics covered in the level one exam, but there are noticeable differences in the suggested study concepts for the two tests. To start, the list of apples to know is greatly expanded for the new exam. Test takers are told they should be able to assign to the apples to region, style and class: bittersharp, bittersweet, sweet or sharp. These classes are determined by acid and tannin levels, and are laid out in the stydy guide. The second key difference is the inclusion of traditional European cider styles for the UK, Spain, France and Germany. Lastly, there are many more concepts listed in the Certified Pommelier™ study guide than in the Level 1 study guide.”

Being Fickle

Long Beach is getting more cider. In addition to Great Society and their strong selection of ciders there will be Ficklewood Ciderworks sometime in mid-2019. The Ciderworks comes from Joe Farrier and Stefan Enjem. It will be pouring at 700 E Broadway on the eastside of Downtown.

Ficklewood will be focused on the dry or semi-dry ciders. More to come when the open date gets closer.


For those (like me) that assumed that Martinelli’s was just the sweet and sparkly juice was all they did, well now I, and by extension you, can learn better.

The Watsonville based cidery had made hard cider as far back as 1868 (keep that number in mind). Prohibition put a stop to it but the cider came back again afterwards in 1933. By 1978 it was not selling and just the juice was available.

Now with 150 years of business behind it, they have brought it back again with help from Gordon Biersch. Only selling in NorCal at Costco is 1868 Hard Cider. 5.7% ABV made with a blend of juices from Newtown Pippin, Fuji, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Mutsu and Honeycrisp apples based on “a recipe similar to one used when Martinelli’s first opened” and using the same label as well (with 2018 updates)

Maybe the rest of California will see bottles.

BC Cidery # 3 – Dominion Cider

Our final BC cider visit is in Summerland at Dominion Craft Cider. The name stems from Experimental farms named Dominion, “stretching from coast to coast, including one in Summerland. Set up to study and develop new apple varieties introduced by early settlers from Europe…”

Here are the ciders that I would try…
Dominion Craft Cider
“Our flagship pub-style craft cider. It has a light golden colour with a lively effervescence in the glass. It has a distinctive apple aroma with a full-bodied mouthfeel from the blend of apple varietals in each batch.”

Dominion Ginger Cider
“Our limited-batch ginger cider co-created with Dickie’s Ginger. This ginger cider combines the crispness of our dry apple cider with real ginger to add a complex aroma and a hint of spice.”

They also have a rhubarb version and a Cascade dry-Hopped cider that I would sample as well.