Last week I attended a media event (full disclosure: all drinks were comped) with the Portland Cider Co. at their taproom on SE Hawthorne, and had the chance to taste some of their cider offerings, both new and established. We were there to get familiar with a few specific things: the debut of their Sangria cider in cans; a chance to taste their new Concord Grape cider; and to get a look at their new six-pack packaging in 100% recycled corrugated cardboard that leaves behind the previous packaging, a recyclable plastic Pak-Tek carrier.
It was a really nice evening, with a chance to chat with the owners, Jeff and Lynda Parrish, as well as the rest of the staff at the Cider House; and I finally got to meet blogger Pech and her husband Fred! We had the chance to taste pretty much anything on the menu, but as I am a straight up lightweight when it comes to alcohol, I asked for a cider flight. This allowed me to try six different ciders without feeling tipsy. They were happy to oblige.
By far, my favorite cider of the night was the newest member of the Portland Cider Co. family, the Concord Grape cider. Jeff told us about how this cider came to be, made with 100% Northwest apple cider and fresh, locally pressed Concord grapes. “It resulted from a tiny batch,” he explained. “We stomped grapes with our feet and did that for the Willamette Week Pro Am—and who knew, people loved it!”
This is a super fruity cider with a very full, round flavor; it is totally about the grapes. There are less tannins than I expected from a grape like the Concord, which I received each year in my CSA fruit share in NYC. Concords have thicker skins than the more familiar table grapes, as well as a prominent seed in the center, and are really tasty little flavor bombs. The resulting cider is not overly sweet, is a little tart, and has an almost gentle quality to it; suffice it to say, it is very easy to drink. We were all sent home with a large bottle of it, but I liked it so much I bought an additional bottle.
Concord Grape cider is officially out today, and I encourage you cider lovers to give it a try. It’s available now through April 2018 in 22 oz bottles and draft kegs, and can be purchased at Portland Cider Co.’s two taprooms, as well as at select retailers in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.
My beautiful cider flight at Portland Cider Co., minus the English Pub cider (that came later).
As for the rest of my cider drinking escapades that night, I was especially happy to taste the Sangria cider—-fruity, tart, and with light tannins—and the Pearfect Perry—a sweet and gentle perry (a kind of pear cider) that oozed pear essence. I especially loved the way it smelled. Another memorable drink was the English Pub cider—a relaxed and chill apple cider with light tannins, solid apple flavor, and a buttery finish.
I’m also very happy that Portland Cider Co. has switched to cardboard to package their six-pack of cans. Plastic continues to be a problem for our landfills, waterways, and oceans, harming marine life like sea turtles and birds, and generally increasing the toxicity of our environment. Paper is a sustainable and on-trend choice that fits in with Portland’s green lifestyle.
So head on over to the Portland Cider House, their Clackamas Taproom, or anywhere you can buy the 22 oz bottles to give the Concord Grape cider a try, or really any of their delicious ciders. And look for Portland Cider Co. ciders in cans and cardboard packaging! Thanks again for Portland Cider Co. for the opportunity to get to know their ciders a bit better.