Don't look for 1859's cider in Portland anytime soon. "We've gotten a lot of keg requests since we've opened. Bushwhacker, lots of people," says Patricia Fox, who co-founded the Salem cidery last July with her husband, Dan. "I haven't filled a single one except three in Salem." Their Hunter's Moon is the rare cider that's worth a drive.
The Foxes have wine backgrounds, and they make their cider the same way—crushing their own apples, many of which come from their orchard, and not using sugar or water. But they don't leave it to chance either: Hunter's Moon is a single-varietal winesap farmhouse that uses eight yeast varieties, including wild, that the Foxes ferment in different barrels and blend to taste.
Split-batch blends are rare enough in local cider as to be unheard of, and the results pay off. Despite no spicing or back-sweetening, the yeast imparts beauteous, clove-y complexity, while the apples offer up a slight taste of cinnamon. Because the apples were sugary and harvested late, the very-dry cider fermented into a whopping 8 percent ABV. But there's no booziness or heat, just extraordinary complexity and a depth of fruit.