by Mandi LeCompte
Based in Portland, Oregon, Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider offers cider connoisseurs something a little different. Owned by Nat West, aka Reverend Nat, this cider, and its creator is obsessed with flavor. After making cider for nearly a decade, West found that creative flavor combinations was his passion and started brewing in the spirit of craft beer geeks. The obsession has led to many tasty creations, including a Gin and Tonic Cider and Whiskey Sour Cider that will be available at Capitol Cider this month.
When did you first start making cider?
About 10 or 11 years ago was my first batch in my basement. That first year I made 5 gallons, the next year it was 50, then 500. Then it made sense to go commercial and start buying steel tanks. We sold our first bottles in 2012, and the taproom opened in 2013.
What’s the story behind the name “Reverend Nat’s”?
I really am a Reverend; I got ordained to marry some friends years ago. When I started making cider, I talked about it so much to all my friends that when I started thinking about selling it commercially, the name Reverend Nat’s made sense.
If you could only drink one drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cider. There is so much variety and possibility within the drink, it can take on any character and pairs well with any food. From fine French cider to hoppy, fruity West Coast cider, there are so many options you never get tired of it.
When you’re not brewing up something tasty, what are you doing?
Eating unusual foods, drinking new beers and other libations, sampling different cuisines and discovering flavor combinations to inspire my ciders.
Jonathan mentioned we’ll have some pretty awesome drinks from you like a special bottle release, can you tell me more about those offerings?
Our gin and tonic; we’ll have this imperial cider that has been aging for eight months in Ransom Old Tom Gin barrels, which are typically reserved for fancy farmhouse breweries and the like. Once drained, we add a house-made tonic of lime, lemongrass, quinine and juniper berries. Lastly, we incorporate fresh-pressed ginger juice and fresh cucumbers. This 10.0% ABV cider reflects the true nature of gin botanicals, while maintaining a full body and pleasant dryness. Fans of last summer’s ‘Whiskey Sour’ will be happy to know that we’ve created another cocktail-inspired cider that captures the essence of the famous warm weather libation.
What sets Reverend Nat’s apart from other cideries?
I create ciders that no one else does. I want to offer the unexpected, put together flavors no one has considered and make people re-think what cider is.