Last weekend after the Little Woody we swung by the new Maker’s District to check out some of their block party action and to stop in at the new Far Afield Cider, which was having its grand opening the same day.
Far Afield is located on NE Second Street, in the former Nectar of the Gods Meadery (you might remember this mead was only available at the Horned Hand before closing). As such, they go into the space with minimum renovation needs—it was already plumbed and set up for fermentation, and included a walk-in cooler.
The Bulletin ran a profile of John Gessner, the owner (whom I’ve known along with his wife Brenda for years), back in July and highlights a few key points behind the Far Afield philosophy:
Gessner, who formerly homebrewed as a hobby, said he’s doing something a little bit differently than the other Bend cideries — aging the cider. He currently has about 1,200 gallons aging and hopes to have it available in kegs this month.
One day he would like to have the apples pressed on-site. But for now, he said, he gets his juice from the Yakima Valley in Washington. When the juice arrives, he ferments it. He adds yeast, lets it sit for up to 10 days, removes the yeast and stores it in the cooler to age from two to six months.
The only difference now is that I believe the juice is coming from Hood River—at least that’s what I thought they’d said last week.
They are focusing on two main types of cider (as well as apple cider vinegar): a sweet cider that is sweetened with honey and seasoned with vanilla, and a cider fermented with an ale yeast—“For the beer lovers,” as they said last week, pouring samples of this particular one. I don’t know that it had a beer character but I do think it had a bit of a fruity ale yeast profile and more body/mouthfeel than you usually encounter in a cider. (The sweet cider wasn’t pouring, as the latest batch was still aging.)
Look for their cider to go on tap at the usual suspects initially—the Platypus Pub, Broken Top Bottle Shop, the Growler Guys—but I don’t know when and where that will be for sure yet. But you can follow their Facebook page to keep abreast of updates.