Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pour the Core: Part Quatre

As many of you know, Pour the Core 2016 was yesterday. This is their 4th year, and also my 4th year attending. It's been a real joy watching this event grow year after year from its humble beginnings - each year taking criticism and applying it to the next event. 

Pour the Core with special guest:
This Drunk Dude
This year, thanks to the generosity of Yelp, I was gifted two tickets to attend the event. Since my partner in booze was out of town for the weekend, I headed to the festival on an absolutely pristine 67 degree day with my husband, also known as This Drunk Dude, in tow.

This was probably the most spread out installment of Pour the Core yet. There were 3 main tents, and several other single tents featuring some of the heavier hitters in the industry. While I liked the smart use of the sprawling parade grounds at the beautiful Navy Yard, I felt like there was less actual cider to sample than last year. This made the lines excruciatingly long during the peak hours. Several event goers spoke about this to me as well, saying they were growing tired of standing in long lines in the the hot sun as some of the lines were not sheltered under tents. I can, however, say that Starfish Junction must be doing something right, because each year their attendance grows and grows. I think adding more cider vendors in the future will level this out and create a fantastic experience for everyone.

As far as actual ciders, there were some real winners. Sure, the big boys like Woodchuck, Magners, and Strongbow (thanks for serving your cider with ice by the way!) were there, but we are always interested in the smaller up and comers.
Strongbow had their own tent
complete with a DJ!
This year, the big new trend seemed to be dry-hopped hard ciders. On paper, it seems like a great idea to add floral and herbaceous notes to such a sweet base. Sadly, almost all of the ones we sampled failed miserably. There was exactly ONE that was actually delicious and very drinkable, and that was the Dry-Hopped Cider from Jack's Hard Cider. It was a perfect balance of sweet and crisp with light floral notes that was absolutely perfect for a warm fall afternoon such as this one. It was one of the big winners of the day.

Rebel Seed Cidery is putting out some
great products!
Another Cidery we adored was Rebel Seed Cidery, a Delaware-based up and comer with a great story that we should all keep an eye on. Their flagship First Anthem cider was perfectly balanced and not too sweet, and we went back for several samples. Their cider is currently only available at Mac's Tavern in Olde City, but I have a feeling they will be expanding their footprint sooner rather than later. They also get points for being among the nicest people we encountered at the event, and I think that definitely counts for something.

The biggest surprise of the day came from The DeCider by The Vineyard at Hershey. Their Presidential Peanut Butter sounded like it'd be a total flop, but ended up being one of the best of the day. At the initial pour, the nose was all peanut butter - but not the sugary, Reese's-type flavor I was expecting. No, this tasted like spreading a $10 per jar artisanal peanut butter on a freshly-picked Golden Delicious right there in the middle of the goddamn orchard. It was surprisingly perfect, and I'll be keeping an eye out for this one in my travels for sure.

All in all, I think this event is really helping the hard cider market take off. The growing popularity and taste for innovation shows in each installment of this great event, and I know that next year will be the best one yet.

Stay drunk, bitches!

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