Few people ever got to drink the excellent cider made by Hedgerow Cidery's Robert and Opal Morrow, who planted 58 varieties of cider apple on their tiny farm outside Salem. But one of them was Portland Cider Company's Jeff Parrish.
When Hedgerow closed two years ago, Parrish bought not only the entire harvest of apples, but Hedgerow's last production batch of cider, bottling it as Union Jack and selling it for $13 in large-format bottles. It's round, uncarbonated, wildly tannic and unlike any other in the state. It'll also probably never exist again.
But Portland Cider Company cidermaker Deron Davenport also used the Morrows' cider apples for a new batch. The resulting cider took months to make, and when it was done the result was a whopping 10-percent alcohol with almost no sugar—tannic, dry and boozy. He balanced it with dessert-apple cider to make a pleasant 7.2-percent English Pub cider with a bit of sweetness, a bit of wildness and a lot of depth at the back of the palate.
This is the only batch with Hedgerow's apples: Next year's English Pub will be made with apples from a two-acre farm near Sherwood whose cider Parrish used to buy off a pick-up truck. Each year's batch will get a little more tannic, says Davenport, as customers' palates adjust.
To pick up a bottle of Union Jack or the current year's Hedgerow-apple English Pub cider, you'll need to stop by Portland Cider Company's taproom on Southeast Hawthorne. The Morrows are apparently selling their farm, so that wild mix of apples might not be a flavor you taste again anytime soon.