Pressing Matters Proper Cider & Real Ale Festival Showcases Old School Brewing Flavors

This Saturday, November 17th, there is no better place to be in Oregon than Cider Riot’s Pressing Matters Proper Cider & Real Ale Festival. This is one of the first and only events to properly merge craft beer and cider by focusing on traditional methods and ingredients for both. Cider Riot owner Abram Goldman-Armstrong is a former beer writer and real ale enthusiast, so it makes sense that he would pair cask conditioned ales that are naturally carbonated and made with ciders made from bittersweet and bittersharp apples. Pressing Matters will be a great way to get acquainted with old school dry European-style ciders and lightly carbonated, yeast- and malt-forward cask beer. Goldman-Armstrong has also thoughtfully brought in cheese pairings from Cascadia Creamery; both these traditional ciders and ales go spectacularly with cheese.

Cider Riot has always focused on dry Irish-style ciders, a style that is not very popular in America, partially because we have been conditioned to expect all cider to be sweet. Here we often use dessert apples in place of bittersweet and sharp apples that were meant for cider and express more nuance and range of flavors, just as purists argue cask ales better showcase the flavors of malt and hops.

“Like wine grapes, bittersweet and bittersharp apples have been developed over the centuries specifically for making cider,” says Cider Riot! founder and cidermaker Abram Goldman-Armstrong. “Using these cider apples you can get a depth of flavor and complexity far beyond simply fermenting common eating apples, like most ciders being made in North America. Pressing Matters celebrates the amazing ciders being made with those rare cider apples.”

Cider Riot’s Abram Goldman-Armstrong pours a sample or cider from the barrel

Goldman-Armstrong is pulling out some big and small guns for the fest; big guns like his barrel-aged Kingston Black cider from 2016 and his Porter’s Perfection single varietal cider aged in bourbon barrels. Those are just a few of the special ciders pouring from Cider Riot, with many other cideries being represented.

Cask beer fans have plenty of reason to attend as well; all the best cask beer makers in Oregon and Washington will be in one place. Porter Brewing Co., which just opened in Redmond and is Oregon’s second brewery to focus on cask beers will be available in Portland for the first time. The first Oregon cask-dedicated brewery, Brewers Union Local 180, will be there as well as Seattle’s all cask Machine House Brewing. Rounding out that lineup is Baerlic, Burnside, Santiam. and Gigantic. See the full list of beers at the bottom.

The festival runs from 1pm to 8pm Saturday, November 17th, at Cider Riot!’s Pub and Production Facility at 807 NE Couch St, in Portland. The casks of ale will be tapped in the traditional manner with taps driven in with mallet at the festival opening. In addition to the spectacular ciders and ales, there will be a dance performance by the Bridgetown Morris Men at 2.30pm. Stick around after the fest as DJs Trashcans and Odd Monster will be spinning soul, post punk, and goth. Children are welcome at the event, and food will be available from No Q’ No Taqueria, Cider Riot!’s resident food cart. Admission is free, tasting tickets are $3 each. A glass and five tickets is $20, a glass and 12 tickets is $40 day of, $35 in advance.

This year there will also be four perries on offer. Perry is made with perry pears, much like bittersweet and bittersharp apples perry pears are prized for their high tannins, and make an exceptional perry. For those wanting to learn more about traditional cider and perry, Ciderology, the new book by English cider evangelist and cidermaker Gabe Cook will be available for purchase at the festival.  There will also be cheese pairings for the ciders thanks to Cascadia Creamery from Trout Lake, Washington.

Cider Riot! Ciders

Kingston Black 2016, Porter’s Perfection 2016 Collaboration with Coach Caleb Porter, Shaken Tree Yarlington Mill Cider, 1763 Revolutionary West Country Cider, 2017, 1763 Revolutionary West Country Cider, 2016, 1763 Revolutionary West Country Cider, 2015, Pears for Heirs 2016 Perry, Perry 2017, L’alliance collabo with E.Z. Orchards, Pressing Pommeau, Wild Dabinett, Pro Am collabo with Mike Johnson

Guest Ciders:

Alpenfire -Pirate’s Plank, Bull Run Cider-Watershed Perry, Carlton Cyderworks-Barrel-Aged Porters’s Perfection Single Varietal, Carlton Cyderworks-Citizen, Dragon’s Head Cider-Traditional Cider, E.Z. Orchards Cidre-Cidre Semi Dry 2015, Finnriver Cidery-Fire Barrel, ORWA Cider Collective-Fleetwood Farmhouse, Portland Cider Company-Union Jack, Rack & Cloth-Estate Blend, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider-Sidra Bravo, Runcible Cider-Old Hoot, Sea Cider-Bittersweet, Stone Circle Cider-Farmhouse Dry, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks-Just Funky Enough Farmhouse, WildCraft Cider Works-Restoration Perry

Real Ales:

Baerlic Brewing-New Noise IPA, Brewers Union Local 180- 180 Oktane Oktoberfest Ale, Burnside Brewing- Wild Strawberry Porter, Gigantic Brewing- Culpability British Pale Ale with Simcoe, Machine House- Autumn Bitter, Porter Brewing- Justin Time Stout, Santiam Brewing- Ale

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: