There’s a new trend in cidermaking that’s helping to introduce new people to cider; Hopped Ciders.
If you are are reading this blog outside of North America, then you might not of heard about a new wave of cidermaking that is quickly becoming mainstream. While ‘fruit cider’ is helping grow marketshare in the UK with Reorkdling and Koppenburg leading the charge, here in North America we are seeing some growth partically on converting beer drinkers to cider drinkers through the melding craft beer techniques with craft cider. Interestingly, putting hops in ciders is not a new thing. The history of adding hops dates back as far as the 1820’s in North America and possibly further in England. Although this technique had been long forgotten somewhere between Beer’s explosion in popularity and prohibition, believe it or not, this isn’t the first go around for this type of cider.
Although still controversial with traditionalists, it seems that quite a few Cideries on this continent are trying thier hand. The popularity proving such that one cidery, Grizzly Ciderworks in Woodinville Washington has decided to make only hopped ciders. The peliferation of hopped ciders covers coast to coast from Doc’s Cider in New York to Rev Nat’s in Portland and all points inbetween. Yes like it not, Hopped Ciders are here. So with that, it makes sense with all these hopped-up ciders, that a festival be held in the land of craft beer; Portland. Saturday’s event was stacked shoulder-to-shoulder with Portlandians looking to try hopped ciders from as far away as Canada and New York. The lines moved quick, but there was no room for idle chit chat in this normally spacious cidery as fellow enthusiasts clamour for more of their favourite limited release.
There were quite a few hopped ciders that I hadn’t tried yet, with a couple standouts being:
- Rev Nat’s Hopland #3: – “The IPA of Ciders” – If I’m going to go to a Hopped Cider Fest, then it’s no wonder that I ended up drinking the hoppiest of Ciders. This special cider was hopped with over 5lbs of hops per barrel including; Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe, 4 CS, Liberty, Willamette, and Magnum. I really wanted to hate this cider, but couldn’t help utterly enjoying it. You wouldn’t think it with that much hops, but it still had a bit of apple aroma and notes of tropical fruit, citrus and with a slight bitterness that wasn’t out of place.
- 2 Towns Hop & Stalk: This limited release cider made from a blend of their Rubarbarian with an “outrageous amount of hops” was a pleasent surprise. I’m not normally a fan of the Rubarbarian as I find it a little floral, but this blend of Hop and Cider was one of the most sessionable ciders of the day. Super quenching and very well balanced.
- Eaglemount Boot Brawel: Eaglemount have been pretty secretive about their cider, but who can blame them as I’d want to keep this one a secret too. This was one of the standouts of the day with a distinct note of ginger and melon. This was probably the most approachable for new cider drinkers as it was a little on the sweet side for my liking. That being said, it was definitely one of the ciders I’ll be looking for as the weather starts to heat up.
Also available were the following:
Rev Nats, Portland OR; Hallelujah Hopricot (Cascade), Hopland #3 (Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe, 4 CS, Liberty, Willamette, Magnum), Pear Simcoe (Simcoe)
Cider Riot, Portland OR; Everybody Pogo (English Goldings)
Anthem Salem, OR; Hops (Cascade)
2 Towns, Corvallis, OR; Hop and Stalk (Citra)
Square Mile, Portland OR: Spur & Vine (Galaxy)
Doc’s Draft, Warwick, NY: Dry Hopped (Centennial, Chinook)
Schilling, Auburn, WA: Original (CTZ)
Finnriver, Port Townsend, WA: Dry Hopped (Cascade)
Tieton, Tieton, WA: Yakiima Valley (Cascade, Fuggle, Palisde)
Eaglemount, Port Townsend, WA: Boot Brawl (Unknown)
Portland Cider, Oregon City, OR: Hop’rageous (Citra)
Woodchuck, Middlebury, VT: Dry Hop (Cascade)
Citizen, Burlington, VT: Full Nelson (Nelson Sauvin)
Colorado Cider, Denver, CO: Grasshop-ah (Unkown)
Grizzly Cider, Woodinville, WA: Triple-Triple (Cascade, Chinook, Centennial)
Merridale Cider, Cobble Hill, BC: Hoptimized (Willamette, Cascade)
Sasquatch Brewery, Portland, OR: umbrElla (Ella)