Evening at McMenamins Wassail Cider Fest

McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse recently hosted their 2nd Wassail Cider Fest. Twenty local cider makers attended and served 40 ciders. By the time we arrived at 4pm, the festival was in full swing. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the large crowd. We've got a lot of cider drinkers around here!

This was my first visit to Wassail Cider Fest, and I enjoyed it. In full disclosure, event organizers gave me a pair of tickets to the fest. I've attended many beer and cider festivals, and it's the little things that add up to make an event great. For just a 2nd year event, Wassail Cider Fest if off to an excellent start!

Cornelius Pass Roadhouse itself is a great venue. The event was staged in a tent next to the Octagonal Barn. It was a cold evening, but the tent was warm and cozy with the aid of heated forced air. The tent got a bit crowded and navigating the cidery tables was challenging. It's a good problem to have though, and can be easily fixed with a bigger tent (or better weather). Although it was chilly and drizzling, several roaring campfires enabled intrepid visitors to comfortably enjoy their drinks outdoors. I was glad to see plenty of water stations at the center of the tent. More water equals more cider and no hangover!

As far as non-liquid entertainment, Falcon Heart and Bridgetown Morris Men performed in the Octagonal Barn. Of course, this was a cider festival. A wide variety of offerings, from dry to sweet  were available. My favorite taste of the day was Woodinville Ciderworks' Oaked Chipotle Cider. It had the perfect balance of heat, sweetness, and complexity. My wife fancied Riverwood 2016 New World Brut Cider from 2 Towns Ciderhouse.

Finally, while there was plenty of cider to enjoy, this family-friendly event was all about celebrating cider apple trees and the Wassail focus made this event truly unique. According to Wikipedia, Wassailing originated in the cider producing regions of South England. Wassail celebrations involve drinking and singing to the apple trees to awaken them and scare away evil spirits. In honor of that tradition, a Wassail parade led attendees to the on-site apple orchard for more mirth and merriment. Sorry to say, I missed that partI was in the tent drinking cider.

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