Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Getting Excited for my Favoritest BOOZE!!!

For those of you who know me, I'm not much of a drinker. I was quite the lush in college, but as an adult, not so much. It's expensive and bad for you and hangovers are harder to bounce back from. Hard liquor is expensive and it's hard for me to find a beer in like. Cider has filled that void.

It was back when I was still with my ex that I met him and a few of his friends for the mid day happy hour at Ivar's Salmon House on Lake Union. I tried my first Strongbow. I'd had Mike's and Hornseby and those syrupy apple flavored malt drinks, but this was crisp and dry and delicious. Some time later I went to Pies 'n Pints in the Roosevelt neighborhood, which to this day is probably my favorite restaurant-bar type place. They have 6 different ciders in bottles, ranging from sweet to dry, paired nicely with hearty, English style pot-pies and free pool. Sometimes they have Guinness cake, (though mine is better).

Flipping through the Seattle Weekly I saw an ad for the 1st annual Cider fest to be hosted at the Ivar's salmon house. Since I knew this was fate I bought my ticket and in November on a crisp, cool night, alone with myself and yet not alone, I sampled many varieties of scrumpy as to make my head spin. Heavenly elixirs paired with seafood hors d'oeuvres and regional cheeses and fruits. Well worth the ticket price. Throughout the year I discussed cider with friends, finding a hidden love amongst them all. The next year only one was able to join me. This year, the 3rd year, maybe there will be more.

But this is not about the cider fest. Moving into our rental house this last January we didn't know what was growing in the spacious backyard. There was a basic garden plan drawing that mentioned Malus Gravenstein. I'd recognized the name Gravenstein as one of the heritage apple varieties frequently used in English dry ciders (I received a basic talk on cider history and production at the first Cider fest). Once spring came, Tamara(my housemate and good friend) and I started cleaning up the backyard to tame it into a garden (still much work to be done) and found many many rotting apples on the ground. This proved to us it was a well producing tree.

This last month Tamara, Robert, my parents, grandparents and myself harvested 200+lbs of Gravenstein apples. Most were pressed into 5 gallons of 100% Gravenstein juice. The rest we supplemented with 50lbs of Gala apples from the store (much larger and juicier apples) and a flat of raspberries (which looked like blood when pressed) and made another 5 gallons. The press we rented from Aurora Rents and the brewing supplies are from Bob's Homebrew Supply. I was treated well at both places. The full story is here at my grandmother's blog. The two fermentation buckets, one per variety have their yeast and are doing there thing for the next 6 months (or as long as we can stand to wait) until we'll transfer them to carboys for clarifying for a few more weeks. Then we can fill and label all the bottles we've been collection and share them with friends.

That brings us to now. I did some sketches of potential label designs and names. Robert insisted I do a few non Star Warsy ones. I was thinking drunken scout...dancing scout, but no. Too silly, like bad silly. In Aruk Besh (Imperial SW language) the one with the apple Death Star (my favorite) says "Imperial All Apple". The Newton's apple is the cliche. The helmet one is a joke. When we we harvesting apples, the easiest way was for one of us to climb up the ladder and shake the branches. The rest of us would scurry below and gather up the fallen apples, checking for worm holes. we did wear helmets, because falling apples hurt. (Next year we plan to spray the tree since there would've been at least twice as many apples were there not worm holes). The other SW one says "Rebel scum Red" but I like the TRIPLE THREAT better. We're assuming the raspberry cider won't lose it's color.

I missed the NW Cider Summit (it was a saturday) and I'll most likely miss the Vashon Island Cider fest (also a saturday). The Ivar's Cider Celebration was on the second thursday the last two years. That would put it on the 11th.

Cider links:
Old Time Cider blog
Eagle Mount winery Their ginger cider was one of my favs at Cider fest. Reminds me of pie.
Northwest Cider Society. Good people.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home