July 22, 2013
This past weekend, I went to Bend, OR, a place known for its up and coming beer scene with its Ale Trail. Thing is, this year there have been two new cider companies that have opened there: Atlas Cider Co and Red Tank Cider Company.
We went to Atlas Cider Co first. They have a large industrial facility that will allow them to grow and better hours to allow you to come visit. Right now, they have two ciders: standard apple and then the same cider flavored with cherry. They are also getting ready to release an apricot version.
Maybe a quarter mile away in a different industrial complex is Red Tank Cider Company. They have tricky hours to visit, but we managed it. Their space is much smaller, but it looks like they are still trying to upgrade before they can go. They probably had a smaller start up than Atlas. I did not see a red tank. They have two ciders made from the same juice that they just have different degrees of dryness on. They also have a cider in which they flavored it with ginger and pineapple, which was unique.
Both cideries had kind of the same business model. Since Bend is a desert and you don’t even really see homestead apple trees, both companies worked with Hood River to obtain juice and then ferment it. One was picky about the apples that went into their juice, while the other seemed to care more about the acidity and sugar. One also used some berries to create some tannin. Both of them work on a beer schedule, producing nice semi-sweet/sweet refreshing ciders that probably the core cider drinking market likes. I drink them, too, but I’ve kind of gotten used to higher acid crispness of a dry cider that has been allowed to age a year.
The experience was very pleasant and a good break from all the beer, and actually better in the high temperatures than beer. Of course, I’m biased, but even Burtle is coming around to the idea that cider is more refreshing on hot days than beer is.