Cider Central: Cider Café opens, ’Gorge Society’ rebrands

CRUSH CIDER owners Guntram Jordan and Sam Dowdy offer a rotating choice of local and regional ciders in a variety of styles, with food to match, at the Wasco Street café.

The Gorge cider scene this fall features a new cider café and return of annual cider event, sponsored by a group that has a new name.

Owners Sam Dowdy and Guntram Jordan opened Crush Cider Café at 1020 Wasco Aven. on Aug. 25, featuring ciders from Hood River County and Oregon and Washington, paired with chef Jeff Croke’s salads, empanadas, rostis and other flatbread dishes (and a grilled cheese “samich” for kids.) The café is open to all ages and has non-alcoholic beverage choices for sale along with wine and beer choices among the tap handles.

“We see the cider movement in the early stages similar to the craft beer movement where it was 20 years ago, and certain ciders sell immediately, such as the slightly sweet ones, gold in color, and fizzy,” Jordan said. “But as we progress here, we have a great selections that have a taste you need to get used to dry, oaky, or sour like the Spanish style or the French with a kind of barnyard taste, and there are great local ones like that. We want to help people discover these other tastes, and I think that movement will really grow.”

“We wanted to have a single place to come in and try all these other ciders on tape, and very week we try something new,” Dowdy said.

Look for Jordan’s signature “Mutt Cider” starting next week. It’s being guest-produced for now; starting in November, Jordan and Dowdy will begin producing cider on premises; the cidery portion of the business is still under construction. Rregional ciders are also sold in bottles along with sodas, juices, and waters.

Hours are 11 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Outdoor tables are shared with neighboring New York City Sub shop, whose sandwiches are welcome inside Crush to go with libations.

The Columbia Gorge Cider Society is planning its annual CiderCamp, Oct. 2-4 in Hood River and environs.

Cider Camp, a weekend behind-the scenes look at the cideries, orchards and purveyors of society, involves orchard tours, pressings and tastings, speakers, and food pairings.