Cider Tasting Tour

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{Hosted by Buick} Do you love cider or want to learn more? Here are 4 great places to go tasting around Portland.

As with many American adults, college was a time that formed my tastes for alcohol.  To this day I can’t drink Spiced Rum.  A few too many, a few too many times.  And I’ve also been a little weary of cider, but not because I drank too much.  

Buick White House cider pour

I went to school in Eugene and loved to spend time at Max’s, an old tavern near campus.  I’m sure most Ducks remember this place.  One night I was there cozied up with friends in the window booth.  It was a wet, rainy night, the place was packed and I was having a great time.  Until someone spilled an entire pint of pear cider in my lap.  An entire pint!  Being 21 at the time, I was not about to do the logical thing and walk home to change, so I simply let it dry.  By the end of the evening I reeked of sickly sweet old alcohol and my pants from the waist to the knees were crusted over.  So gross.

Buick cider tour lineup

I’m by no means opposed to drinking cider now, but I need a good experience to wipe that old association in my mind.  So when Buick (yes, the car company) invited me to go on a Cider Tasting Tour with other local bloggers, I said yes immediately.  We did 4 tastings and were lucky enough to have a “cider expert” along, Abraham from Cider Riot.  He guided us through the tastings and gave us a great overview about the history and process of cider making.  It was a great tour and one you can easily do yourself (with a designated driver of course).

Buick Abraham lecture

Buick Fox Tail brewer

Here’s where we went:

Buick gorge whitehouse cherry cider

  1. The Gorge White House:  This first stop was probably my favorite of the bunch, the perfect number of ciders with a great variety of flavors.  It is on the famous “Fruit Loop” out in Hood River.  I liked their Tart Cherry brew the best, but also the sweeter Mixed Berry.  There is a food cart on site with some great sandwiches and flatbreads, as well as you-pick fruit and flowers in the summer.  I’ll stop here again for sure!
  2. Fox Tail CidBuick fox tail cider tasterser:  Just a short drive down highway 35 from the White House is Fox Tail Cider.  They had a great tasting room and a lovely selection of ciders.  I be perfectly honest,  I did not care for these, but please don’t let that sway you, half of the people on the tour loved them.  They just did’t sing to me as much as the others.
  3. Buick Portland cider coPortland Cider Company:  Back in Portland, this tasting room is right in the heart of Hawthorne.  This place is CRAZY!!! They have 28 ciders on tap including a few of their own.  The selection is massive and it was actually kind of overwhelming for someone like myself who is just learning her cider preferences.  But if you are in Portland and interested in trying a wide variety, this is the place. You are sure to find something you like.  We did a quick tasting of The Portland Cider Company’s own ciders along with a Cider Riot selection.  My favorites here were the Hop’rageous (which is flavored with hops like beer) and Cider Riots’s Never Give an Inch.  Buick bushwhacker tasting tray
  4. Bushwacker Cider:  They have a beautiful new space up on NE Dekum, right across from Breakside Brewing.  At this point I can’t report much about what I tasted.  I’d had too much by this point in the evening, but I can say they served us a delicious dinner and I enjoyed everything I tasted.  When selecting a tasting flight, they have two options, “Classics” and “Unusual” which I thought was a pretty nice offering.

From Portland to Hood River and back we were being whisked around in beautiful, brand-new Buicks.  I don’t know if I’ve ever even been in a Buick before.  Have you?  They are not a very popular choice, here in the Pacific Northwest.  But what I saw was really nice.  

Buick bridge of the gods

Buick cider tour blue

Before we started drinking, I got to test drive a Regal a “mid-sized luxury sedan” and it was really fun to drive!  It had a high performance mode that changed the suspension and responsiveness of the car with the touch of a button.  It also had all the modern bells and whistles: lane departure warnings, back-up cameras and onboard navigation.  But hands down…. the favorite feature was onboard wifi!  That’s right the wifi travels with you.  All us bloggers loved that! But if you purchase the car, you do have to buy a data package, like you would for a cellphone.  

Buick interior dashboard

My second favorite car was the big one, the Enclave, a crossover vehicle.  I’m trying to avoid buying an SUV or minivan for our family, but this reminded me of why they are so great.  Tons of room, three rows of seating, built-in TV with wireless headphones, plus all the other features I mentioned in the Regal.   Oh SUV you tantaliser… why do you have to be so convenient?  

Buick gorge White House view

 The whole day was just so much fun and beautiful.  I love the local blogging community and it was great to spend the day with 9 other local bloggers.  Here are links to the other participants:  Will Run For Pasta, Do 503, PDX Food Love, Running With Tongs, Beer Guy PDX, Landing Standing, Our Daily Brine, Food Carts Portland and Right at the Fork (podcast).  Check them out!  They all do great work.

Buick Bushwacker cider case

At the end of the day, I still prefer beer, but I’m so glad to have had the experience.  When I think of Cider, I’m going to think of this day instead of my smelly crusty pants from college, so goal accomplished.  I feel much more educated about cider and will probably drink a little more of it in the future.  Thanks for reading about this fun Cider Tour.  And extra thanks to the good folks at Buick for inviting us.  Please let me know if you have other suggestions for cider tastings around town.  Cheers!

DISCLOSURE:  BUICK HOSTED THIS CIDER TASTING TOUR.  THEY PROVIDED ME WITH FREE TRANSPORTATION, TASTINGS, LUNCH, DINNER AND CIDER TO TAKE HOME AS WELL AS A ONE-WEEK VEHICLE LOAN.   ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE MY OWN.   

 

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