Two hard cider makers from Montana — yes, they grow apples in Montana — swept the top awards in the fifth annual Portland International Cider Cup.
Western Cider Co. won a gold medal and the overall best of show award for its McIntosh “heritage dry” cider. Montana Ciderworks won a gold medal and was runnerup best of show for its North Fork Traditional, entered in the “modern sweet” category. Western Cider Co. also was selected New Cidery of the Year. It is based in Missoula, Mont., and makes hard cider from its orchard in the Bitterroot Valley.
The competition included more than 150 ciders from more than 40 cideries in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia. This was the second year in a row that a Montana cidery won the top prize. Entries were sampled in April by 45 judges with experience in the industry, and the results were announced during the cup event earlier this month.
In a news release, Northwest Cider Association Executive Director Emily Ritchie said the Pacific Northwest is the largest cider market in the U.S. for per capita consumption, and is home to 25 percent of the country’s cidermakers.
Other gold medal category winners were:
• Square Mile, Oregon — Spur and Vine, hopped cider category.
• Square Mile, Oregon — Ginger Pear, spiced/herbed.
• Swift Cider, Oregon — Peach Oak, wood/oaked.
• 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Oregon — Traditions 2015 Riverwood, modern dry.
• 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Oregon — Flight of the Kiwi, fruit.
• Eden Valley Orchards, Oregon — Pear House Cider, modern perry.
In other awards, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, of Corvallis, Ore., was named Large Cidery of the Year, and Montana Ciderworks, of Darby, Mont., was chosen Small Cidery of the Year.