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Entries in Washington (4)

Tuesday
Aug242010

Wildfire Cider - Port Townsend Washington

Friday
Oct032008

More NW Cider Press and Cider Events at Harvest Time

Well it is that time of year again. The harvest season where you'll find all of us involved in apples (or trying to be) running like mad. Picking, milling, pressing, sanitizing, storing, testing, adding nutrients, racking, worrying. I don't have my own trees or an orchard yet but I've been beyond busy "hustling" and collecting early season apples and pressing them since about a month or more ago, and I don't see any signs of it letting up. I'm actually starting to panic about my cider storage situation. I'll probably end up a little shy of the legal home-brewing limit for the year. Good thing I haven't done any cider making since pressing last year. I have the room I think, but what I don't have is ample proper storage. But I'm working on it and welcome any and all inexpensive or reasonably priced solutions or suggestions. At least I'll be able to justify having a full size oak barrel or two.

Red Barn Ciders award winning cider Burro Loco Red Barn Cider's award winning cider "Burro Loco"

More Cider Press... The Red Barn Edition.
The Seattle Times has really been doing a great job covering the traditional and craft cider revolution happening here in the NW. They might just be trying to "predict" the next craft beverage dos to them for understanding what it is all about. I do my best with Google News Alerts to keep on top of cider news Worldwide but somehow I missed a great article featuring Drew Zimmerman at Red Barn Cider up in Mount Vernon.

Check out the Seattle Time's newest cider article "Northwest artisans are crafting a renaissance in handmade hard ciders" here.

Drew was a mainstay at Cider School last June. He is an all around really great guy, a very knowledgeable cider maker not to mention lots of fun to talk apples and cider with. It was an honor and a privilege to have him participate in WSU's Cider School. Red Barn's Cider has become one of my favorites over the past couple years and it keeps getting better. Thanks again to both Drew and the kind folks Red Barn!

Irvines Vintage Blend Cider - Vashon Winery - Vashon Island, Washington Irvines Vintage Blend Cider - Vashon Winery - Vashon Island, Washington

Vashon Cider Fest.
I've anxiously been awaiting Vashon Cider Fest coming up this weekend at home here in Washington State. Heather and I take off from tomorrow at around 8 AM to catch a ferry at around 9 AM to attend the whole event.

They've got a great line up of cider related activities planned.

  • Juice pressing and apple identification with the Vashon Fruit Club from 10 AM to 3 PM.

  • A cider making seminar with Dr. Bob Norton, Ron Irvine (Vashon Winery and Irivine's Vintage Cider) and Drew Zimmerman (Tulip Valley Winery and Red Barn Cider) from 1 to 2 PM.

  • Cider tasting showing 8 different cideries and up to 15 ciders from 3 to 6 PM.

  • All followed up by a 4 course cider dinner at Vashon's The Hardware Store Restaurant that will match ciders to each course at 6:30 PM sponsored by Vashon Island Rotary and the NW Cider Society.


Heather and I just recently signed up and paid dues with the NW Cider Society and this will be our first NW Cider Society event. Needless to say we are both pretty excited about the whole day's events, and Heather is especially excited about the dinner.

Anyway I'm hoping for some great note and picture taking so I can blog the event when I get home... Stay Tuned.
Friday
Apr252008

Cider Academy.

Done deal. 4 years in the waiting and I'm finally going to attend Peter Mitchell's Cider Academy. The course I am taking is Cider Making - Principles & Practice course and it is held at the WSU Mount Vernon extension. Not too far away.

I'm pretty excited overall and the syllabus is a dream. I hope to really absorb a lot. I've never spoken with anyone who has attended these courses but I read great things. I'm hopeful as this isn't a cheap class to attend. I'm confident it will meet my expectations and be a great experience to say the least.

It is hard to choose but I expect some of the course highlights to be;

Cider Orcharding.
An really interesting topic for me. My Mom's side of the family is from Wenatchee here is Washington. The once self proclaimed "Apple Capitol of the World" is now host to a ailing apple industry and a virgining wine industry in neighboring Lake Chelan which is or was once equally apple heavy. Now orchards are being torn out to make way for vinyards. Other than just going organic can diversifying product by means of grafting cider varieties as well as other old time varieties be a viable answer? If you know apples you know apples... Why grapes? Anyway that is another blog post entirely.

Principles for Cider Production and Preparation for Fermenting.
Can you go over read about them enough times? When all is said and done this is the real reason behind going. It will be great to hear it all and take notes from a respected professional. Fruit selection, harvesting, processing, juice composition and preparation. Nice!

Commercial Cider Producer Visit
One of the days we'll be headed North of the border to Vancouver Island to check out Merridale Estate Cider. I've had sought out and had their cider twice now while in Victoria. Heading out there for a tour was high on my list for Heather and my next trip up there. It isn't harvest or anything but it should be a nice time of year to visit and for sure interesting to no end.

The Legislative Requirements, Assessment and Profiling of Cider, Blending, Lab Analysis and so-on. Honestly it all looks great and I'm pretty excited to finally be going.

On a side note some of my own pressed and blended batches are starting to take shape. Man oh man. Much much better than what I am using from the local cider mill. I don't know what they did to their recipe but at one point I was pretty successful with their juice... I was beginning to think it was me. Well anyways fresh pressed and thoughtfully blended is key, my fermentation temperature re-revelation didn't hurt either. Keep it cool brothers.

Sometimes apple picking/press partner, fellow fermenter and coffee colleague Michael Elvin wrote me up nice review of what I think will be one of the better batches yet. Surprisingly or not, it contains some great cider apples kicked down by a buddy on Whidbey. Thats trouble... How the hell am I suppose to get my hands on cider apples every year? Ideas offers and inquiries welcome...
Friday
Sep212007

Apple Crazy in Olympia.


1884 Apple Orchard, Washington


Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. The temperature, the weather, the colors, the sounds, the smells. It all works for me.

The past two years have left me Apple crazy during Autumn. This condition is exacerbated now that I own an apple press. I've been out hustling them apples and harassing my friends or anyone else I can think of for my share of the apples and/or pears that lay waste in backyards all across the Olympia/Tumwater/Lacey area. Lots of looking and lots of asking (well 1 note and 2 classifieds) but no finding... Until just this last week, it was all beginning to feel a little bleak.

Until I received an email last week from a guy Steve I met at the Darrington Bluegrass Festival in 2006 . Steve lives on Whidbey Island in or near a town named Coupeville. As we got to talking last year it was revealed to me that Steve has 2 or 3 Vintage Cider Apple varieties growing on his property. I don't recall them all by name but I do remember he's got a Kingston Black however. Well anyway Steve emailed to offer me 40-50 lbs of his cider apples. Although not enough press and ferment an entire batch, that amount of apples is more than adequate to supplement a good solid base of local Olympia neighborhood apple blend.


Besides all of that I got a phone call last night about some apples I was inquiring about on the Eastside of Olympia. My buddy Kaplan had lived in this house last year and Michael Elvin (of Batdorf & Bronson) and myself were able to take as many as we needed. We took more than we could press as it turned out but the cider that resulted from our pressings was really pretty good. Very tart but very nice. Tart and nice being WAY better than sweet and syrupy any day.

I've also had my eyes on a couple trees that are in a yard adjacent to my buddy Chris' backyard which may work out too.

If you live anywhere near the Olympia and know folks with apples or pears drop me a line. I'm not against rewarding donors or finders with some finished product... Sweet or fermented.

P.S. I promise part one of my Hard Cider Tutorials are coming. I've been too busy visiting great places and scamming apples to be inspired by the computer.

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