Highlights and Notes

CiderCon 2024, Portland OR

Production Tour at Finn River’s Orchard and Cidery (Monday)
An amazing farm based cidery that is top 5 all-time favorites.
Info here

Sunset at Finn River’s Orchard and Cidery (Monday)
Locally conscious, earth-forward, and amazing all around
Info here

Sunrise over Puget Sound at Fort Worden (Tuesday)
A very historical fort built in the late 19th century to protect the sound, we stayed in the officer’s quarters that have been turned into logging.

Sunrise over Fort Worden’s Historical Buildings (Tuesday)
An already historical area, then turned fort, then boy’s prep school, it is now a visitor attraction that I recommend.

Selfie at AlpenFire’s Organic Orchard (Tuesday).
AlpenFire is an organic orchard (meaning extremely difficult to maintain; lots of love and work) maintained by a former wildland firefighter nearing his 70th birthday.

Cool image of the trellising and management of AlpenFire’s organic orchard (Tuesday).
As a former wildland firefighter, he shrouds each tree with the fire-protective blanket and control burns around the trees and steams the trees, after rains, to kills bugs and varmint.

Walking to opening 8am sessions. We got there and then they announced it was delayed 2 hours. Everything is covered in ice, but the gracious staff at the conference center made a snow shovel width path.
Zack-0: Ice-1

We got some unique apple varieties in our registration bags. This is a Mountain Rose (red flesh apple) from a local third generation Japanese descendant farm.
Feel free to learn more here

Just to reiterate, everything is ice. EVERYTHING
Zack-0: Ice-2

Make your own roads. Hardly no traffic and icy sidewalks meant we just walked down the slushy roads to make our own path to find something to eat.

Clay was awarded the Peter Mitchel (A living god in the world of cider) 2024 award for education excellence and betterment of the cider community.
To the left is Bridghid O’Keane, Executive Director of the Cider Institute of North America and to the right is Ryan Burke. You may know Ryan from his time as head producer for Boston Beer, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, and Virtue Cider.

“Because we all want credentials, dammit”
– Andrew Byers, Director of Production/Head Cidermaker of Finn River

One of the sessions we attended was cider from the Nordic region. Since they have a colder climate, they do several ice-wine variations with high sugar variations.
A few ciders were from the Hardangerfjord region, a protected label for cider producers.
If you ever want a destination to try cider, this is it (link).

A HUGE turnout of producers pouring at the CiderShare this year. Essentially an open bar on ciders from across the world for 3 hours. PNW had their own regional section in an adjacent room and a surprisingly large international presence this year.

Hotel room grafting lessons from the master, Aaron Sturgis, from outside Pittsburgh (Link).
. Our grafting success rate has been around 40%, we are hoping to now get above 90% to match Aaron’s rate. Oh, the other guy is Joey, a friend and producer in Nova Scotia, Canada.

And in case Portland didn’t have enough ice, they got more.
Zack-0: Ice-3

We did an initial poster session to help other orchards to capitalize on their 30-40% crop loss from fruit that drops to the ground. Most consider these drops untouchable from murky regulations and standards. We hope to change that to better the cider community.

Thanks for viewing!

While we had flight problems, not associated to any ice storm or weather event (not pointing fingers Southwest, but 5 out of 5 flights were late), I spent just the perfect amount of time in Las Vegas, 20 minutes.

We landed, spent 10 minutes de-boarding and running to the next gate, then getting window seats because people are afraid they will be the next Boeing 737 MAX victim on a Boeing 737-800.