Oh sure, everybody knows Bend is a beer town. But long before beer was the drink of choice, hard cider was as American as apple pie, drunk by our founding fathers and original patriots dating back to the 17th century.
Now, starting at the end of May, hard cider will nuzzle into the beverage landscape when Dan McCoy, a teacher with the Redmond School District, opens Atlas Cider Company and an accompanying tasting room at 900 SE Wilson (the former HydroFlask location). McCoy will debut the tasting room with his first-rate apple and cherry ciders. The hard cider also is available for fill-ups at Growler Guys, Growler Phil's and Gorilla Growlers. In addition, McCoy plans to distribute to regional restaurants. In time, he intends to create regional berry and apricot flavors.
McCoy will join neighbor Country Catering for its Party on the Patio series, held weekly all summer long. He will add his hard ciders to barbecue and live music events.
Named after his 3-year-old son, Atlas Cider Company ferments its cider with fresh-pressed apples from Northwest farmers. McCoy uses a blend of Cripps pink, McIntosh, honey crisp and Granny Smith apples. He blends in some aronia berry for added tannins. The result is a crisp, refreshing, not overly sweet balance of subtle apple flavor with a gentle fizz; it has the refreshing drinkability of a beer and the complexity of a fine wine. Making hard cider is a hybrid process that's more similar to winemaking than beer brewing. Naturally gluten-free, McCoy's cider is 5.8 percent alcohol, a proportion that's lower than that of most wines and comparable to that of a dark beer or stout. McCoy has worked hard to produce a craft cider with complexity and character that are far superior to those of mass-marketed "alco-pops." Atlas Cider is satisfying alone or paired with any food. McCoy said he hopes to "break the mold" of traditional beer drinkers with the development of these artisanal ciders.
Atlas Cider Company
900 SE Wilson
Tasting room open Memorial Day weekend