In apple-harvest time in England, the rural childhood and farm hand pursuit of stealing the windfall apples, or the small apples left on the trees after harvest from orchards, is called “scrumping”. Scrumping evolved into the illicit taking of any sort of apple.
If you’re familiar with British cider, you will know “scrumpy” for a cheap and rough, though strongly alcoholic, variety which is a hazard to the unwary. Its name is a relative of “scrumping” in its oldest sense because it was often brewed from the apples that were stolen (“scrumped”) from the orchards. Modern brands that go by that name are mild compared with the vinegary farm-made sort of old, that was also described many years ago as “squeal-pig cider”, this being the noise you made when you tried it! It’s said that it takes three people to swallow a mug of true scrumpy, one to drink and the other two to hold him upright!
Here at Portland Cider we’ve made our own take on a scrumpy which is now in very limited quantities and available exclusively at the tap room. It is called Barnyard Scrumpy. It’s dark, dry, still (no carbonation), oaked, 11.5% abv, and served at room temperature. One sip and you’ll understand while it is only available in 4 oz pours!
We’ve been hard at work within the ciderhouse on some great new cider blends. The cider community owes a bit of gratitude to the craft brewing because they have helped establish an openness in the drinking community to new and different variations of the drinks we enjoy. As a result cidermakers such as ourselves have the freedom to try new and different representations of our favorite beverage. In the coming weeks here’s what to look for:
Our first perry, or pear cider, we call Pearfectly Perry will be available on draft. Using NW grown pears we’ve made a light, medium sweet perry, that goes great with lighter fare.
Following that will be our first hopped cider, Hop’rageous. We dry hop our cider with the unique citra hops, and it takes on a fresh, citrus tone that screams warmer weather. We’ve been slow to warm to the hoppy cider trend, but we think we’ve found a winner with this one.
Also coming are some unique ciders made with botanicals you would normally associate with gin than with cider, but trust us, these will be worth trying.
Growing up I always associated the holidays with many things apple. We’d make apple pie, or hot spiced apple juice, apple crisp, or if we were lucky we’d find some fresh pressed apple juice.