It is no surprise that Oregonians love their beer and craft cider is making it’s mark in the Pacific Northwest. Salem has two craft cideries (Anthem/Wandering Aengus and the new-ish 1859 Cider Company). For those that know me and follow me on Untappd, you may see that my cider game has increased in the past few years as well. I am now up over 300 breweries and cideries and I still hold our “Matt and Marilyn’s Guide to Running and Drinking” post as one of the greatest posts in history.
I don’t define myself as a beer snob (though my wife may say otherwise) and I clearly am less fluent in the cider making processes. I don’t know the OG (original gravity) in all my beers, and can’t have detailed conversations about malt origins and hop varieties, and I am still relatively at a loss about dry ciders. Yet despite my lack of hard knowledge, what I DO know is that some of the stuff that cideries are putting forward are both delicious and refreshing. And my wife can palate ciders much more than beers, so we can actually drink together!
Though there are some “bigger” cideries in Oregon that I enjoy are Portland Cider Company, the new Schilling Cider (out of Washington but their new SE cider house is pretty great), 2 Towns (Corvallis) and Atlas Cider (Bend). However, I have also been to some that I just happened to stumble upon, such as Fox Tail Cider in Hood River and WildCraft Cider in Eugene.
And since I love exploring new and different breweries and cideries, CIDRBOX is great in that it allows me to try ciders from locations I wouldn’t otherwise be able to (aside from spending a ton of money to travel there). Each month they feature a single, distinctive American heritage orchard cidermaker (this year has been pretty much all a part of the Northeast – VT, NH, and NY). Our sample box was filled with three Farnum Hill Ciders from New Hampshire:
- 2015 Kingston Black
- Extra Dry
These are definitely not your “typical” ciders that you will likely find on the shelves of the supermarket or in taphouses. That is by design, and their included mini-brochure on the differences in ciders (macro vs. hybrid vs. craft) showcases this a little bit. These were unique to me and I found them to have more of a wine or champagne feel to them (though they may not want me to make that comparison). I’ll leave the real cider knowledge to the professions:
Wine Spectator calls Farnum Hill cidermaker Steve Wood “the godfather of new American cider,” because Wood was one of the first US growers to focus on cider fruit—over thirty years ago.
Kingston Black. Dabinett. Yarlington Mill. Golden Russet. Wickson. Médaille d’Or.
Steve Wood uses this premium fruit to make a hard cider that is dry and true to the place where it is grown. According to Wood: ”We’re trying to make cider that’s reflective of the fruit we grow and the place we grow it.”
For all the acclaim that his cider has captured, Wood would like to see folks fuss a little bit less about pairing his fine cider with food and recognize it as an all-occasion bottle. Farnum Hill tastes delicious with “Indian food, or grilled cheese, or baked potatoes or whatever you like,” says Steve firmly.
The New York Times describes Wood’s cider as: “Clean, dry Farnum Hill cider from New Hampshire, with aromas of cherries and melon. All the while your palate will remain alert, your appetite unblemished, and your mind clear.”
Farnum HIll was previously available only in fine restaurants and through limited distribution, so it’s awesome to think I am one of the few people who has three bottles of their own in the country! In addition to the ciders themselves, I appreciated that it came with a tasting card that highlighted not only basic stuff like ABV and style, but also tasting notes and the best food pairing options. There was also a seperate minibook included, the 33 mugs of cider – a pocket cider-tasting journal.
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- 3 (750mL) bottles – $75
- 6 (750mL) bottles – $135
- 3 (750mL) bottles for 3 months – $225
- 12 (750mL and some 375ml) bottles – $265
Cycle: Month to Month of 3-month subscription; Every other month subscriptions available as well
Each month your core three-bottle CIDRBOX subscription delivers a distinctive assortment of orchard ciders from a single master American heritage cidermaker. Bottled like fine wine, the ciders are curated by the maker and uniquely express the distinctive apples of the featured region. We ask our cidermakers to share their best work with our subscribers and their assortments generally spotlight dry to semi-dry ciders, with an occasional semi-sweet or sweet cider included in the mix. Tasting notes and recommended pairings are included with every CIDRBOX.