Canadians invade Portland…

Recently I was given the opportunity to be a ‘celebrity’ judge at the Portland International Cider Cup at Reverend Nat’s new Cidery on June 23rd, 2013. This event was organized by a group of group of fellow cider evangelists including; Nat West of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Abram Goldman-Armstrong of Cider Riot, Dave White of White Wood Cider & President of Northwest Cider Association, and Mark Crowder of Rainbarrel Cider.

This year was the inaugural year of the PICC and was open to Commercial Ciders from only the Northwest. Luckily for Merridale and Left Field Cider that includes BC. And our cider was well represented in the medal lineup with Merridale & Left Field winning a total of 6 medals with 9 entries. Pretty damn good for a very young cider industry in BC. Merridale took top honours with ‘Large Cidery of the Year’ and ‘Best of Show’ while Left Field won a Silver for the ‘Little Dry’.

If you read this site, then you know I already love these ciders, but it was vindicating to see these two great Real Cideries get some ‘International’ recognition for their amazing product! hopefully next year we can get some other BC ciders to join in on the fun. I’m looking at you Summerland Heritage, Sea Cider, BX Press, etc…!

A big thank you to the organizers for allowing me to attend this event. If you are in Portland this Summer make sure you check out Nat’s Taproom and tell him Cider Monger sent you…

Reverend Nat’s Cidery and Public Taproom
1813 NE 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97212

Check out the press release from Merridale below;


“We are so honoured and ecstatic to receive this recognition” beams Janet Docherty, co-owner of Merridale Ciderworks in Cobble Hill. “To be named ‘Large Cidery of the Year’ and have our Cyser cider named ‘Best in Show’ along with three golds, a silver and two bronze medals is well beyond our hopes. We want to thank the group at the Cider Summit for devoting their time and energy to make this show happen.”  Cider is enjoying a big resurgence and the Northwest Cider Association is helping to push it to the forefront.  “We are very appreciative of their work.”

“We are also extremely proud of the whole team that works in the orchard and the cellar at merridale.  In the years since we purchased the farm, we have worked very hard to continuously push for our products to be the best we can make,” Pipes says.  “Every member of our team takes pride in each aspect of the production. It starts in the orchard with our sustainable farming practices, continues in the cellar where we use passion and care to avoid the addition of chemicals, and completes by delivering an authentic experience to our customers.  It is our team that makes this happen – we are so lucky to work with such great people!”

 Janet Docherty and Rick Pipes have owned merridale since 2000, but the Cobble Hill orchard has been making cider for more than 23 years.  Under their direction, Merridale has become one of the leading producers of craft cider in North America. They have added a farm bistro specializing in foods made with local ingredients, a bakery using yeast from the cider, and a farm store that supports the local community as well as their own in-house products, and a very busy wedding venue. It’s a place where people can relax, learn and enjoy.

 Recently another feather was added to the merridale cap when they became the first distillery to qualify under the new craft rules established for BC.  To celebrate, they held a speakeasy party to say goodbye to the prohibitive distilling laws of only a few weeks ago.  Hosted in 1920s fashion, it was an evening of cocktails, canapés, and swinging jazz sounds.  “It is the beginning of new era”, says Janet Docherty.  “Our goal is to not only create the best cider we can, but also the best spirits.”. “We will continue to use local ingredients and follow the same philosophies used for our cider making”, added Pipes. “We never want to lose sight of delivering a first class experience for our customers”.

Leave a Reply