A few weekends ago, I attended my first Pour the Core: Hard Cider Festival
in Brooklyn, New York. This event was only a few blocks from my new apartment and I was excited I would be able to walk (or stumble) home after an afternoon of imbibing in hard cider.
For those of us with celiac, hard cider is a welcome addition to our adult beverage list. Hard cider is an alcoholic drink made from fermented fruit, usually apples. It can be sweet, dry, flavored, carbonated, still, and more. I guess I never realized how many variations there were until I attended this event and saw so many different types of cider in one place at the same time.
The best thing about this event was that I could drink almost everything. There were a few rogue beers presenting at the event, but the majority of the ciders were naturally gluten-free. I had contacted a few of the new-to-me cider companies prior to the event to make sure they were gluten-free. When I arrived at each table, I always asked the demo person if the cider was gluten-free. The majority of the companies proudly declared they were and only one or two people gave me the weird "what's gluten?" question. I will chalk them up to being new demo people.
My boyfriend Victor and I were new to a festival like this, but we soon found our way to the least crowded tables first with our Pour the Core cups in hand. There is a 2oz limit to each pour, but the vendors were usually very generous. Each table also had a spit/dump bucket in case you only wanted to sip and not swig the whole think like most people usually did. I only dumped a few that I really didn't like.
|Welcome to Pour the Core, neighbor!|
The ciders were obviously the best part of this event, but the people watching was also quite entertaining. We got there about 2 hours into the event, so there were definitely some people that I had enjoyed the first hours of the event in a hard core (pun intended) way. They were pretty drunk and quite amusing. Since I was truly there to do some research, I needed to pace myself.
My New Favorite: DownEast Cider
I had tried this cider at a bar in Brooklyn a few weeks before the event and I really liked it. The bartender served this cider in a glass over ice and I loved it. I can't put my finger on what made this cider different, but it was almost a little bit thicker, like an unfiltered apple juice. I was happy to see DownEast at this event and I can guarantee this will become a summer favorite.
A Certified Familiar Friend: Crispin Cider
I was already familiar with Crispin Ciders from bars across the country, but it is always comforting to see the Certified GF symbol when trying a product at an event.
The Best on Tap: Ace Pineapple Cider
This is another cider I've had before, but Victor never tried it. He didn't think he would like it, but we both did and went back for seconds (and thirds!) This is a perfect summer cider and would be great to sip on the beach or at a BBQ. I loved the pineapple tap at the Ace Cider booth.
International Favorite (TIE): Maeloc Ciders and Rekorderlig
I first tried Maeloc Cider at the International Restaurant Show back in March. This cider comes from the Northwest part of Spain and is made from Galician apples. This cider definitely has a fruity, wine taste but not too sweet which made it another favorite. The strawberry was our favorite which I expected to be sweeter than it was, but turned out to be dry and delicious!
This was one of the few ciders that I had not yet tasted. I have seen this on the menu a bunch of times, but honestly I never ordered it because I wasn't sure how to pronounce it. This Rekorderlig cider is from Sweden and comes in a wide variety of flavors. Again, we opted for the fruity flavors and I ended up liking the wild berries flavor the best.
Best Presentation of Cider: Awestruck Ciders
Cider on top in a watermelon. I repeat: CIDER ON TAP IN A WATERMELON. I loved this display so much I didn't event care what they were serving me. How awesome is this?!
Best Food: Lawless Jerky
Unfortunately, there was almost no food I could eat at this event. For an event where the majority of the drinks are naturally gluten-free, it would have been excellent to have some gluten-free food options. (Note to local vendors, bring your gluten-free food to this event in a food truck. You will do very well!!!)
I did snack on some Lawless Jerky that has many flavors that are gluten-free. We only had bite-sized samples, but they were good. Lawless Jerky recently relocated to Brooklyn so we are neighbors and I expect to see them at more local events. Thanks for being there, Lawless!
New-to-me Ciders: McKenzie's, 1911, and Yankee Folly Cidery
Overall, we had a great time at my first Pour the Core
event. It was a fun way to try new ciders and get a little buzzed while doing it. There are three upcoming events in Boston, Long Island, and Philadelphia and I highly recommend these events to anyone who likes cider. I will definitely be at the Brooklyn event in 2016. Check out http://www.pourthecore.com/
for more information and to buy tickets for upcoming events.