On Memorial Day, Latha and I spent the afternoon in McMinnville, Oregon. While visits to brewpubs and breweries are usually intertwined as part of our excursions, this was different. We went there to visit Carlton Cyderworks.
I only recently re-discovered hard ciders and was excited to visit a local producer. Carlton was founded in 2009 by Mark Bailey, Keenan Bailey, and Allen Gould. It's a small but growing cidery. The three owners maintain a hands-on approach as they press the fruit, ferment, age, and bottle all of their artisan ciders at their McMinnville cidery.
While I'm no cider expert (or even a beer expert), I was impressed by depth of their product line and enjoyed sampling each of their ciders:
Newtown Pippin: A new single varietal cider showcasing Newton Pippin heirloom apples from Hood River. It's dry, crisp, and reminiscent of a Pinot Gris.
Asian Pear: Features four varieties of Asian Pear complemented by 10% apple. Aged for 6 months.
Duke: Apples and Duke blueberries are fermented together to create a sublime paring of flavor!
Citizen: Carlton Cyderworks' original cider is a traditional English-style cider. Its higher concentration of tannins provide a bitter tang and a bit of astringency.
Carry Nation: A sweeter cider that uses Braeburn and Jonagold apples.
We also got special sneak preview tastings of two new, soon-to-be released ciders:
Trapper: Aged in whiskey barrels for 90 days. Allen pulled a sample directly from the barrel! The oak and not-so-subtle whiskey elevated this cider into a different realm. Keep an eye out for this gem.
Scrumptown: Made from Scrumpy cider apples, this one is sour and dry!
Although we're both new to hard ciders, we were struck by the differences between the each of Carlton Cyderworks' creations. Like beer, there are vast differences among styles. The fun is in learning about (and especially tasting) each! I will post detailed profiles of some of our favorites in the not-too-distant future.
Keenan and Allen spent quite a bit of time educating us about the history of cider, the process of making cider, and their experiences and challenges as entrepreneurs. I'm writing up a full interview and will post it soon!
In the meantime, you can find their ciders at these bars and retailers. Or even better, stop by Carlton Cyderworks to taste free samples and say hello. Summer tasting hours will be held on Saturdays from 12-5pm, beginning June 18. If you plan to visit, please call to confirm they're open before making a trip.