In a way, Brian Moore was destined to be in the cider business. He was born into a family of farmers and grew up in Eugene, Oregon, where his family has farmed for four generations.
“My parents tried really, really hard to make sure that I never farmed in my life,” Moore says with a laugh. He explains how he eventually found his way back to his roots after going to brewing school then leaving to work in the wine industry for five years. When Moore was beginning to think about his next step from wine, he met his now-wife, Leah, who inspired him to follow his heart and pursue cidermaking.
Together, the two founded a cider company named Rookshire Orchards based on traditional methods and recipes, producing a line of ciders using the apples grown on Moore’s 60-year-old family orchard. While the response to the ciders was very positive, the Moores wanted to break free from the rigidness of the ciders they’d created and decided to rebrand into something new: Evenfall Farm Grown Fermentations.
The inspiration for the name Evenfall, meaning “sunset,” comes from Greek mythology’s Hesperides, the goddess-nymphs of evening and the sunset’s golden light. The three goddesses were said to guard an apple orchard at the western edge of the world where the apples, if eaten, grant you absolute knowledge. Being self-proclaimed “literary nuts,” the Moores always envisioned having a literary reference be a part of their brand’s name. To them, the story fit perfectly into that of the family’s apple orchard and thus, Evenfall was born.
The official launch of the cidery kicked off in the end of September, currently with four ciders but also leaving room for more creativity without straying from the craftsmanship that Moore brings from his days in the wine industry. Take their flagship cider, Wayfinder, made with seven different apple varieties from the farm, like Gravenstein and Rome, is aged in neutral oak barrels for nine months. “[It’s] our flagship dry cider which is your standard dry cider, but it’s kind of the best of the best of what we do,” Moore adds.
Evenfall also offers the Wild Sidra, a Spanish-style sour cider; the Unity, a New England-style made with raisins from wine grapes; and a cucumber cider with lemongrass and sage, a savory yet herbal concoction made with leftover ingredients that Moore wanted to use together in a creative way.
Moore draws a lot from his winemaking experience to his approach with cider now. He uses a lot of the same techniques and keeps the ingredients simple, adding only sulfites and sugar for bottle fermentation. Everything Evenfall presses is barrel-fermented, with no filters or pasteurization. Each cider is aged for six months to a year, or longer, to get a bit more body. “We believe in doing things the way that will best express the year and the orchard,” he says.
The Moores are optimistic about their future, already selling ciders around the state of Oregon, and while they hope to keep production as small as possible, the couple has plenty of ideas when it comes to expanding the business. They aim to plant another apple orchard and open a quaint tasting room somewhere on the 40-acre property.
With plenty of ideas stashed away in their back pockets, the Moores are ready to embrace this new chapter and continue the Oregon family’s farming legacy.