You can read about what makes WildCraft Cider Works unique in todays Register Guard. Below is an excerpt hit the jump for more.
Hidden local fruit treasures
“What makes us different is all Oregon-sourced fruit,” Kelly explains. “I’ve tried to promote our local orchards, and also our local landowners that have trees with fruit that goes to waste. We’re trying to revitalize land that’s not been used over the last 50 years. That offers us a different flavor component — from apples that aren’t commercially grown.”
While WildCraft draws on more than a dozen American-origin and English-origin apple varieties to produce its ciders, Kelly’s favorite is the Gravenstein. “It’s loaded with good tannins, and it really pops with that old colonial cider flavor.”
Kelly builds relationships with landowners whose unmanaged orchards still produce healthy crops but are no longer in commercial production. These hidden treasures provide not only diverse fruit, but hearty yeast strains that WildCraft uses as part of the fermentation process.
“There’s a biodynamic component to those old orchards,” Kelly says. “They aren’t sprayed or irrigated. There’s a balance to the microbes and the fruit.”
Once those apples are fermenting, Kelly and fellow cider maker Matt Silva focus on a mix of wild fermentation and controlled additions of yeast that bring out subtle aromas and flavors not found in other ciders. Added yeast could be cultivated strains from Oregon, Belgium or France. Sometimes pears, elderberries or plums are added. Otherwise, WildCraft uses no additives, sugars or sulfates.
“No back-sweetening changes things a lot,” Kelly says of the common practice of adding sugars or concentrate to finished cider. “You’re relying instead on the delicate aromas of fermentation, not overwhelming them or changing them by sugar additions. There are more subtleties. It awakens the palate to perceive the subtleties of what we offer, rather than try to throw it in your face.”
Kelly acknowledges this might be different, but he likes it and trusts others will, too. “The general consensus is that Americans have a sweet tooth and they need sugar. But I believe that the delicate flavors, aromas and qualities of the product make it stand out,” he says. “Our dry ciders have been well-received.”
Read more here: Oregon fruit for Oregon cider | Tastings | The Register-Guard
Story by By Anthony St. Clair For The Register-Guard FEB. 25, 2015 | Photos by Amanda Smith