Pour the Core fills North Brooklyn with high-end apple ciders

Greenpoint’s Expo Center is cider Ground Zero for a traditional, yet much-varied beverage

June 15, 2017 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Eagle
Audience members cheer on their favorite doughnut-eating contestant. Eagle photos by Andy Katz
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For the third year in a row, Pour the Core schooled Brooklyn residents and aficionados of all things apple about cider. More than 40 vendors filled Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Expo Center to challenge taste buds with varieties of cider ranging from hard, fermented varieties — the consumption of which required the presence of state-issued I.D. and a designated driver — to more playful, flavored ciders. Some versions were carbonated enough to create delightful, foamy heads, while others were far denser, bottled with minimal processing and leaving fine sediment in the bottom of each glass.

“Cider’s a great anti-oxidant,” said organizer Lynda Calimano. “And it’s great for people with gluten intolerance, too.”

Not surprisingly, most of the brands on hand were craft-type ciders from small-scale bottlers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and, of course, upstate New York. One of the best-known European labels, Stella Artois, was on hand filling a third of the Expo Center with a sleek Airstream-style trailer from which samples of Stella Cidre were handed out by friendly reps.

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As with any liquid tasting, dump buckets were set at the ends of each brand’s table, but these were used mainly to rinse the official sampling glass with a bit of water to avoid contaminating the next sample — most everyone drank whatever cider had been poured into his or her glass. Because hard ciders are typically closer to beer than wine in their alcohol content guests managed to keep an even keel without wasting a single drop.

Cider veteran Jessica Schwab persuaded her friends Justin Klein and Breanna Kreztler to make the trip from Long Island to attend their first official cider expo. “Delicious!” Kreztler admitted, as Klein stood behind her, nodding. Asked if the trio had found a favorite, they sorted through an impressive collection of pamphlets and cards before coming up with Rekorderlig Strawberry Cider from Sweden.

Later in the afternoon, expo staff were seen hanging glazed doughnuts from strings dangling about five feet from the center floor.

“There was supposed to be a pie eating contest,” one organizer admitted, “but people were afraid they’d get too messy, so we’re going with doughnuts.”

The event took place in five heats, with contestants trying to best the fastest recorded time. “If your doughnut falls off the string, you can decide to keep eating it on the floor, or withdraw,” the announcer assured the contestants.

The winner of each session won a $150 gift card, two tickets to Pour the Core: Philly on October 21, 2017 and a hotel stay in Philadelphia the night of October 21, 2017.

A beverage long taken for granted, apple ciders and their artisanal variations have become increasingly popular in the past few years, with cider aficionados demanding more quality and variety than ever. Manufacturers have responded. The third week of October will be designated “Cider Week” here in New York City, to be capped by a “Cider Crawl” with what one imagines will be crews dressed as Johnny Appleseed making their way from one organic pub to the next.

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