Catching up on the news. With alacrity, now...
1. Cider Riot launches.
During my first extended conversation with Abram Goldman-Armstrong years back, I learned that he was a child of Yamhill County and its abundant fruit. In the years since he was a kid, Abram has traveled the world and been associated with the Timbers and beer (his Twitter handle is @BeerAbe), but he recently launched a project that feels like a homecoming--a small Portland-based cidery. He's actually been making cider since high school, working with both wild seedling apples from home as well as cider apples from the White Oak orchard (a cidery that closed in 2005). Last night, he shared small-batch versions of the ciders he plans to make this fall, including a crisp, slightly tannic draft cider called Burncider (his cidery is located just off Burnside), a hopped cider called Everybody Pogo, and a rich, tannic cider called 1763--the year of the famous cider riots in England. (Auspiciously, that happens to be exactly 250 years ago.)
The Northwest is one of the leaders in the national cider revival, but a lot of the products are made with sweet desert apples, the kind made for eating. Cider apples, though--bittersweet, bittersharp, and sharp--are "the heart and soul of a proper cider." Abe uses "proper cider" a lot, and he plans to make his dry, in the English fashion. As a taste of what he hopes to one day make, Abe broke out the last of a blended cider with '07 and '09 vintages made largely with Kingston Black apples. It was one of the best I've ever tasted--complex with deep tannins, a bit of French-cheesy funk and rustic English skin character.
Abram has a modest Kickstarter going, and if you're at all interested in cider, this is a good project to back.
2. Beer cocktails by Jacob Grier
While we're talking Kickstarters, let me direct your attention to a prospective book by Jacob Grier called Cocktails on Tap. This project has grown out of the "Brewing up Cocktails" events Jacob hosted with Ezra Johnson-Greenough and Yetta Vorobik. (You'll recall my amazement over one of their early offerings, the sublime hot scotchy.) It's going to be an impressive book when completed; Jacob's working with photographer David Reamer, designer Melissa Delzio, and publisher Ellee Thalheimer (whom you'll remember from Hop in the Saddle).
Twenty bucks is like a pre-order on the book, so go check out the Kickstarter.
3. Portland Monthly's beer issue.
I don't totally get the business model for Portland Monthly, but I gather it involves these monthly best-of cover stories (best doctors, best neighborhoods, etc). This month beer gets the spotlight, and I have to say, hiring Christian DeBenedetti to select the fifty best Oregon beers was a very good move. No two people on the planet would choose the same fifty, but DeBenedetti's fifty are really tight. I had to work very hard to come up with even minor quibbles. If you have friends transitioning into beer-fandom, tell them to pick up a copy and use the list as a guide. They could do infinitely worse.