As John Gessner describes it, two major factors drove him to establish Far Afield Cider, which is due to become Bend's third cidermaker when it opens for business.
One was a chance encounter with a couple in Wisconsin running an apple orchard. "My family and I traveled across the U.S. and I got to sample a lot of beer," he told the Source, "but the cider this couple produced really opened my mind to the idea of cider. So I began looking into it a little more, and it was inspiring to me because cider really has a role in American history that beer didn't have until fairly recently."
The second factor? The perfect cidery location virtually falling into his lap. Far Afield's cider house and tasting room are in a roomy warehouse on NE 2nd Street, right next to Humm Kombucha, in the recently-christened Makers District. The building was formerly occupied by the now-defunct Nectar of the Gods meadery, which meant that "in terms of the equipment and the plumbing and so forth," Gessner explained, "it was almost a turnkey operation I was moving into."
Far Afield kicked off operations in the building earlier this year, and Gessner already has a cooler room packed with cider to share with greater Bend. Valiant is a European-style cider, a tad dryer than the norm for U.S. outfits, while Temptation offers a spicier, honey-infused kick. Both are made with apples from Yakima orchards, and both offer a very elegant, almost wine-like tasting experience.
But when can you enjoy it? Soon! Gessner has no specific opening date for the tasting room yet, but doesn't expect it to be more than a couple weeks away. Bottle distribution will follow as fall turns into winter, which is timely—Temptation, in particular, is worth enjoying fireside in your comfiest easy chair.