The life of a beer writer is…
…weird at best, hedonistically problematic at most. Your subject is the drink, which, by its very nature, must be drunk. And in this wildly rotating world we inhabit where words alone won’t do, photographic evidence of said drink must be provided. ‘Tis not enough to simply put the can on the cliff and shoot; you then have to place the can’s contents in an appropriate vessel and shoot that too. And after the shot is got, you sail that vessel all the way to its final destination, your lips, because pouring precious goods down the drain runs counter to everything I believe in. It can all be a bit much, really. Hard on the pocket book, for one, but also a bit much for the waste line. Or the liver. Or life balance in general.
And so I decided to take a sabbatical of sorts. No beer may enter here! Not for ever, mind you (I’m not crazy!) Just for right now. A corollary to that proclamation is no beer writing. There are ways of getting ‘round that secondary situation but I’m a purist, a method-writer. I demand verisimilitude where others only “shoot the can.” And so fine: no beer. This is all very well and good (it’s neither, of course, but for now let us suspend our disbelief) except for one tiny detail: I have an article overdue for What’s Brewing Magazine*.
If the BC craft beer industry has been a series of Richter-registered earthquakes over the last five years, the cider industry can be thought of as a series of aftershocks, moving & shaking of their own accord. Take the town of Squamish, for instance. Once we were content with the one, solitary establishment: Howe Sound Brewing. Now we eagerly imbibe at any and all three of the town’s breweries, with A-Frame and Backcountry joining the club. But in the space of a year our 20K town has now found room for two cideries as well: Cliffside and Northyards. There are even rumours of a third cidery (Geo Cider: the rumours are true) gracing the town’s limits, which would tie the cider & beer situation at three a piece! But back to my self-imposed beer exile, coupled with an impending deadline. Add to the mix a midday hunger pang and you now have a fairly serious situation that demands resolution. Enter Northyards Cider.
The second cidery on the scene, Northyards Cider is situated in Squamish’s historic Northyards Industrial Park. Owners Alison Round and Kathleen van der Ree have created a warm, welcoming space with artisanally orchestrated foodstuffs to accompany their deliciously crafted cider. And today it is the Semi-Dry that I’m sipping on as I take in the rich aromas of Northyards “Famous Mac n’ Cheese.” Let us attend the cider in a second and first off, focus on the Mac. If you’re going to put ‘Famous’ in front of something, you damned-well better have the balls to back it up. Or in this case, the cheese. Three cheese’s, in fact, all bathing happily in a creamy sauce comprised of truffle oil and chives. I don’t really know what a truffle is, only that the culinary world clamours for them and my taste-buds are prostrated in a state of reverence normally reserved for second comings. Are there seconds coming? Let me end the Mac debate with this: If the Famous prefix fits, you must acquit.
And what of the Semi-Dry? It’s perfection, brothers & sisters, pure and simple. I would say more but my word count is high and “perfection” is… well… perfect. It is of great comfort to know that, should I wish for a palate-cleanser between Porters or fresh start after a hearty Stout or (Gods forbid) some ACTUAL doctor-imposed exile from beer, my needs will be more than met by the awesome crew at Northyards Cider.
*The reason you’re seeing this lovely article right here, on my website, is because I did, in fact, miss What’s Brewing’s deadline. Verisimilitude indeed.