By Peter Holmstrom
Left photo courtesy of Hard-Pressed Cider Fest, right by Adam Lapierre
Picture the best place to host a cider festival: in the middle of apple country of course. Surrounded by orchards on all sides, and located next to a fruit packing company. This was the setting, albeit a cold setting, for the second annual Hard-Pressed Cider Fest held on April 11 in Odell, Oregon.
The second annual event, put on by the Hood River Chamber of Commerce, was a rare opportunity to taste many of the regions many cideries that are only occasionally available in local taprooms. The rarely seen HR Ciderworks, the illegitimate cider child of two local wineries, or the fresh-faced Jester and Judge out of Stevenson, Washington, joined established heavyweights like the Seattle Cider Company, and Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider for a day of sipping and conversing.
Patrons packed in to the converted warehouse space on this uncommonly cold Saturday in droves. Braving the weather, and the drive, all for the love of cider. Fan favorites for the event included 2 Towns Ciderhouse out of Corvallis with their Bad Apple and Naughty & Nice barrel-aged cider, as well as the local farm-to-table Rack & Cloth with their Stony Pig or PommePomme Farmhouse Cider. Lines were long, and space was short, but the wait was worth it. Ciders ranged in flavor from the extremely dry, to the sugary sweet. Classic hard cider, to fruit cider infusions and 100-percent perrys each were represented.
Total cider offers number more than 40, coming from 21 different cideries from around Oregon and Washington, with 8 of those coming from the Columbia River Gorge. Food trucks were on hand, and local bands provided music throughout the day. On a beautiful sunny day, this place would be ideal, making the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest a must add to any future Spring outing.