Tag Archives: cider

Another Closure Tribute

With cider gaining a higher and higher profile in the adult beverage world, one of, if not the first, high profile cider place in Portland closed last Saturday.

Jeff Alworth provides a pretty good recap of Bushwackers and highlights something more people could stand to do more of: being happy to provide people with whatever they wanted, no judgment.

He was pro-cider, period. If people wanted Strongbow or Angry Orchard, they’d find it there, with no judgment from the house.

More of that, I think. And a toast to a place that helped usher in more cool things to Portland. Good luck on the next thing, whatever it is.

Where I Want To Go: Reverend Nat’s

One of the nice thing about going to Kells last week was that I got to see the Taphandle people again. We had a short but nice chat and during which they recommended a variety of places to check out, including Reverend Nat’s cider taphouse.  As I hope everyone knows by now; I’m always up for a new joint to investigate and tasty beverages to try.

The taphouse is barely tucked away from the bustle of Broadway and it’s located right inside the working space. It’s tiny and charming, with a distinct but invisible line between where you drink and where they work. I liked this because I could turn and see the equipment that was being used and I enjoy seeing how things operate.

I’m going to provide my notes on the sampler I got but with the caveat that I don’t know cider as well as beer. I went with my girlfriend, who seemed to pick up on some flavors I didn’t, especially in the nose. I’m not sure if this is because a) my nose isn’t all that great, b) there wasn’t that much nose to pick up on or c) I just didn’t know what I was looking for. I have a feeling it might be a combo between a and b, because cider seems to be a less imposing drink than beer is. My point is: I was lucky to have her there to help me pull out some of the flavors that I might have missed otherwise. The notes correspond with ciders starting left to right on the bottom sampler in the photo.

Holiday Hopricot has a lot going on. Soft fizziness at the end that reminds me of poprocks or champagne. A touch of vegetal in the nose: it’s faint thing and not really offputting. This cider is attempting to mimic a saison and I feel like it’s just got so many parts moving around that it’s difficult to pin down.

The Revival Dry gives me the most cider impression so far. I’m told the nose is like roses, but my sniffer ain’t working. It’s thin, probably a good drink post work day. After it warmed up, I could smell something like Bazooka Joe. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, it was just interesting.

Deliverance Ginger Tonic has a strong ginger nose and really does taste like a ginger ale soda although quite a bit drier. I found that I liked it a lot, maybe because it really didn’t correspond with what I thought about cider? But I enjoyed it.

Session-style Ciderkin has a nose like pineapple, taste like it too, along with a pink grapefruit flavor around the finish. Something subtle and savory is in there that we cannot pull out, though. The finish isn’t too appealing and I cannot explain why.

Sacrilege sour cherry; has a hard candy taste, smells lambicy, cinnamony. The girlfriend picks up a flavor that she doesn’t like- cherry & cinnamon together. I’m more ok with it, although the cinnamon gets very strong as it warms up.

Finally, the Revelation Newton Pippin tastes like an apple peel and is pretty dry. I like this to: very drinkable, I want vanilla ice cream to go with it.


I was able to visit Bushwacker Cidery a couple weeks back and the girlfriend and I got sampler trays.

I know, I know, cider in a beer blog?

But I like libations of all sorts and mixing things up is good to help keep the palate interested.

Which brings us to the sampler tray:

cider sampler

Pretty eh? Colorful and luminous, ciders don’t offer the same kind of weight that some styles of beer will. They’re all pretty drinkable and while the Bushwacker isn’t huge, it feels pretty spacious so it’s easy to get comfortable while you try out their wares.

In addition, they server multiple beer-cider mixes. I’m not sure if these would be officially called cocktails but we had a couple and they were very pleasant. I’m not going to insist that cider be a seasonal drink but I do think that Bushwacker is a place people ought to stop in during the summer months.

The drawback to cider, for me, is that there is no nose. Of the 6 samples, I could really only get a scent off the blackberry cider and the ability to smell it helped push it to the fore of my favorites. The house cider was also very tasty, so resembling a white wine that the girlfriend and I agreed that if we hadn’t been told it was cider, we could have easily mistaken it for wine.

The lack of a nose on most of these samples though made it difficult to get a sense of them. Smell matters a lot and every good beer taster will start of with how it looks and smells. Tasting ciders, as a result, present some challenges I’m not used to. It’s possible that they should be approached more like wine, breathing in little sips of air while the cider is in your mouth, in order to get a better sense of flavors.

Instead, we noticed things like mouthfeel, where the cider felt dry on the tongue, if there were sweet or tart notes and where they rested in the mouth; all in all, the more physical characteristics we could accumulate, the more interesting the cider was. For a neophyte I feel like I found something to start with on these ciders and the next time I come back, I’ll have more context to judge them by.

As an added bonus, before we left we were able to strike up a conversation with the owner, who told us of some of his hopes for future cider batches and gave us a taste of a smokey cider that he said wasn’t quite ready for prime time yet, but would be in a few weeks.

It was smokey and a little sweet, cloudy and a bit mad sciencey looking. I do believe I’ll be returning soon to try the more mellow version.