Merry Christmas Eve! If you are looking for some libations for today or tomorrow’s dinner, read on for some seasonal cider options that can be picked up locally.
Even with some breweries in Oregon and across the Northwest closing due to COVID-19, overall the craft sensation in the PNW seems to be strong. One that is still going strong and pumping out new items is Portland Cider Company – the first craft cidery I ever visited. PCC, at the time, was housed in an extremely strong small taproom in the back of an industrial park in Oregon City. I was out there for work a few times a month, and it was a cozy place to hang out. I remember really taken aback by how great their ciders were during my first try. My palate, only really experiencing mass-produced super sweet hard ciders at the time, was not prepared for the real depth of flavor that PCC provided. It was delicious. I couldn’t believe they were confined to this tiny taproom…
Fast forward a few years, and Portland Cider Company is right where I thought they deserved to be – in much bigger spaces and delivering tasty cider across the region. PCC now has two great locations – a large facility just east of I-205 in Clackamas (you have probably driven past it numerous times), and a cider house on Hawthorne – which dozens of taps of just craft ciders from across the country in addition to their own stuff. In fact, their locations have won local awards, as have their ciders.
Two of their year-round staples, Sorta Sweet and Kinda Dry, are extremely accessible to even the most novice of cider drinkers. Both are made from 100% NW apples (Gala, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Jonagold, and Golden Delicious) and really hit the spot. I am personally a huge fan of their Concord Grape (the greatest cider ever made?!) With official winter just around the corner, PCC Is releasing their winter seasonal – Crangerine, which is a fun cider that screams out to be enjoyed at Christmas Dinner (and beyond).
Their PDX Community Cider is a cool “collaboration” of sorts – and one I always like to check out when it is released.
Every summer, we call upon our Portland-area neighbors to recycle their fallen and unwanted backyard fruit to our Fruit Forward Drive as part of our annual PDX Community Cider fundraiser program. Our Drive takes donated edible fruit and turns it into a community cider to raise funds for school meals for hungry children. Thanks to the kindness of the collective community, we collected over 1,000 bushels in 2021 – 41,000 pounds – of apples, fruits, and berries. Our largest collection to date, every piece of fruit is showcased in our 2021 batch of PDX Community Cider.
So cool. It’s like drinking a concoction from your neighbors – but actually have it taste good :). On top of that,10% of sales for all PDX Community Cider sold will be donated to Hunger-Free Schools. I have LOVED the 2021 version – a crisp cider that falls a little on the sweeter end with just a little tartness to keep things interesting.
One of PCC’s newest ventures is their Ciderade series – a low sugar, carb, and calorie option that has an added benefit of natural electrolytes (thanks to Jacobsen Salt Co.’s salt harvested from the Oregon Coast). While there are is a new one that is released every few months, the most recent available one is their Strawberry release. It weighs in at just 4.0% ABV and has just 96 calories per 12 ounces. The flavor is very light and crisp – definitely not overpowering or super sweet – and a nice everyday drinker that will get you some refreshment without weighing you down. Look out for Orange Ciderade coming soon!
Portland Cider Company also hosts an Oregon Brewery Running Series event each year – which is more than enough reason to check it out if you haven’t yet. Their bottles can be found in taphouses and supermarkets across the NW so pick up a couple of bottles next time you are out.