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We’re set to run our first 5k outside of Portland city limits! Join us on Saturday, March 11 at Portland Cider Co. in Clackamas, OR. (It’s also their 4-year anniversary party!) Come for the run, then stick around for some additional fun festivities!

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Parrish, co-owner and head cider maker at Portland Cider Co. We met at the Clackamas taproom, which is also their production facility. The taproom, which includes many handmade elements (tables, chairs, decor and some huge murals), is intended to replicate the feel of an English countryside pub. You can also visit their Cider House at  3638 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

Portland Cider House

Portland Cider House on Hawthorne Blvd.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t acutely aware of what cider was before talking with Jeff. It’s obviously different from craft beer, but how exactly? After talking with Jeff, I learned that cider making has a closer connection to wine than it does beer. “We’re like winemakers that start with apples instead of grapes,” says Parrish. “[The process] is identical up to the point of packaging.

Jeff says the process of making cider goes something like this:

Start with, “…fresh apples pressed into juice, delivered to the cidery in a tanker truck…pump it into a tank with yeast (which changes the sugars into alcohol)… then we blend with other fruits or unfermented apple juice. Wait and enjoy!”

If that sounds simple, it’s not. The challenges come in doing each step well. “We take great care not to cut corners, control temperatures, get high-quality apples, and monitor not only the instruments but our palates as well.

To learn more about Portland Cider Co, hard cider, and our event on March 11, watch the full interview with Jeff Parrish below, then register for our 5k fun run on March 11th!

Watch the Video

About the Cider

We sampled three of their signatures products during our conversation. Jeff poured me their “Kinda Dry” cider,  “Sorta Sweet” cider, and their brand new “Pineapple” cider.

The KINDA DRY is 6.5% ABV, traditional English cider. It’s described as, “light, clean, [and] refreshing, with a pleasant finish. The kind of cider you can drink all day long!” (Jeff has at least one a day, and describes it as “the blood of life!”). I agree with that assertion, and could easily find myself drinking more of this than anticipated if I worked at a cidery.

The SORTA SWEET has less alcohol than the KINDA DRY (4.5%) because they add in more fresh apple juice. This is a more traditional American style cider, with “higher residual sugars and more tartness.” For me, this was crazy delicious, and could probably pass as regular apple juice to my 4-year old son. It’s a little too sweet for me to drink a lot but still amazing!

The PINEAPPLE Cider (6% ABV) is their newest, limited release cider. “Like a sun filled day cruising down the Valley Isle, Pineapple brings a tropical oasis to your mouth.” It is sweetened with fresh-squeezed pineapple juice and doesn’t taste as pineapple-y as I was expecting. I don’t like straight pineapple juice and was prepared to politely drink this one, but was surprised by how much I enjoyed this cider. Jeff gave me a bottle to take home, and my wife, a huge pineapple fan, was ecstatic!

Read more about the history of Portland Cider Co. and learn how Jeff discovered cider, started making it on his own, and how a pilgrimage to England was the crucible moment to go from home brewery to one of the area’s largest cider makers.

Join us March 11!

We will be running from the Clackamas taproom on Saturday, March 11. We have a nice out and back route planned, that will stay mostly on the I205 Multi-Use Path. We’re also doing a special competition with Jeff; beat him and get an extra pint!

Invite your friends and register here!