Cider Riot! is dedicated to producing high quality ciders from Cascadian grown apples. With tradition as our guide and our roots firmly planted in the rich soils of our bioregion, our urban cidery produces refreshing, flavorful ciders.
From a high-school job planting traditional cider trees such as Yarlington Mill, Kingston Black, and Dabinett at the Slow Food recognized White Oak Cider in rural Yamhill County, to student days drinking cider from plastic 2-litres on the streets of Cork City, Ireland, cider has fascinated me from an early age. Ive been making cider for over half my life.
We pressed juice from Gravensteins on the farm when I was kid in the wilds of northern Yamhill County. As it started to ferment in the fridge, I always enjoyed the prickle of carbonation and the winey notes. My first batch of fermented cider, was based on a recipe in Profane Existence zine, made from apples smuggled out of my college-dining hall in my flight jacket a dozen at a time, then macerated with a cheese grater from the local hardware store and pressed between two dinner plates. I fermented it in my Macalester College dorm-room closet, in a carboy borrowed from a homebrewer across the hall. After a month I began drinking it, at times straight from the 5-gallon carboy. How it taste? Well, lets just say every batch since has been better, and the next thing I made was a stout.
Drinking cider in Ireland was inspirational, and in my senior of college, back in the states a friend and I salvaged materials from a closing restaurant and built a massive cider press for our homebrew club. We sought out the most acidic apples Minnesota had to offer and made some pretty drinkable stuff.
Every year since then Ive gathered together a band of friends and headed to the family farm in Yamhill to pick our wild apples (high in acids) and use the old handcranked cider mill. Combined with traditional cider apples from White Oak, we make some pretty world-class cider. Our ciders have received the acclaim of not only friends and family, but of commercial cidermakers as well.
Ive converted the passion for beer I acquired growing up in Oregon during the micro-brew boom of the 1980s and 1990s into a career in beer. Since my college homebrewing days Ive become a National ranked Beer Judge Certification Program beer judge, and have judged at competitions from the American Homebrewers Association Nationals, the British Columbia Beer Awards, and the Heart of Cascadia competition, to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, and the Mondial de la Biere in Montreal. Ive visited and written about breweries all across the US and Canada, Ireland, and Germany. My work appears regularly in Northwest Brewing News, Ale Street News, Oregon Beer Growler, and American Brewer. Ive organized beer festivals, from the North American Organic Brewers Festival, which I helped grow from a single day with 1500 attendees to a regular fixture in the Portland beer festival calendar, with three days and 20,000 attendees. I help the Oregon Brewers Guild put on the Cheers to Belgian Beers event, Brewers Dinner, and Fresh Hop Tastival. Putting my day-job skills as a carpenter and deconstructionist to work, Ive built bars for Gigantic Brewing Company, and Breakside Brewery. Ive teamed up with breweries such as Hopworks Urban Brewery, Lompoc, and Widmer Brothers to brew my recipes on a commercial scale. (My Green and Gold Kölsch, which recently took silver at the North American Beer Awards, is brewed by Widmer Brothers and may be found on tap and in 22-ounce bottles throughout the Portland area).
So why cider? As passionate as I am about beer and brewing, there is something magical about cider. Picking bittersweet apples in Alan Fosters orchard at White Oak Cider on a clear autumn day. Traipsing through the wet woods of my family land in Yamhill to seek out wild seedling apples. These experiences ground me to the land. Cider challenges me, it inspires me, and theres nothing quite like the dry tannic flavor of a well made cider.
Raise a glass of Cider Riot! cider and I think youll agree. Cheers! Abram Goldman-Armstrong: Cidermaker and Owner