Hood River’s Cider Trail

Cider makers in Hood River on the Columbia Gorge Cider Trail

Gorge-grown apples. Photo Brian Yaeger

Along the south bank of the Columbia River Gorge—generally perceived as a kiteboarder’s, hiker’s and wine-lover’s dream come true—we are witnessing a new farm-fresh industry take root. Whether you’re gluten-free, an adventurous beer drinker looking for the “Next Big Thing” or simply a devotee of full-flavored liquid artistry, the Hood River Valley’s newest craze is in the pomme of your hand. Following the late summer harvest and accounting for fermentation times, count on cider season in early autumn.

As an added bonus, the Gorge Cider Society has created a handy Columbia Gorge Cider Route site and map to this always-expanding exciting destination.

Beertender, there’s a kumquat in my beer

Thank you, Brian Park, from Frasier Creek Farm for the vitamin C.

Kum-whats? Most beer lovers have never had a beer made with kumquats. That’s a perfectly reasonable prediction even among kumquat’s quasi cognoscenti. But if you have never tried one, picture an orange the shape and size of a grape. Then picture biting into it—peeling the thin skin takes some effort and eating it whole is perfectly acceptable and helps temper its pucker. The sour factor makes sucking on a Lemonhead seem like eating a Creamsicle.

So, yeah, writing about kumquat beers for a magazine is an odd topic considering how precious few kumquat beers exist. Still, if anywhere is poised to become the kumquat beer capitol of the world, it’s Oregon. And you probably didn’t even know they grow here. Read this story on 1859, Oregon’s magazine, to learn more.

Oregon Collabeerations for 1859

Illustration by Brandon Loscar

As Ben Dobler, a brewer at Widmer Bros, elucidated: “Some (collaboration beers) play on the strengths of one partner, some play on the strength of both partners, sometimes we take a big leap of faith and try something completely out of our wheelhouses.”

1859: Reading the Hop, er, Tea Leaves

c/o Rogue Ales Buckman Botanical Brewing

1859 is a beautifully printed magazine either named in honor of the year Oregon was admitted to the Union, or an homage to Charles Blondin who became the first man to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls. My money’s on the former, otherwise I’ll need to come up with all new angles each month on a beery perspective on non-acrophobic, non-hydrophobic daredevils with impeccable balance.

For starters, yes, I wrote a blog about Oregon beer, but since I strive to incorporate some other distinctly Oregonian subject, it tackled the collaborations between local brewers and teamakers. With tragic irony, it published the day legendary “tea savant” Steven Smith passed away. I believe we’ll see a great many more tea beers, as well as at least one more story up my sleeve about ongoing projects at Smith Tea.