Lydia Valenti
The Redmond Spokesman

Dry Fields Cider

Where: 611 NE Jackpine Ct Suite No. 3

Hours: 12-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Contact: 971-800-0215

If you go

Santa and Art Showcase

2-6 p.m. Sunday

Meet artists from the community gallery and take your own picture with Santa

Dry Fields Cider aims to bring options to Redmond — both in hard cider and community activities.

The cider house and taproom, which opened in the Jackpine Industrial Complex in northeast Redmond in September, is owned and operated by Redmond native Stephen Fields and his wife Robin.

One of the first things you notice when entering the building is the family-friendly environment. Space is divided into two main rooms, one of which has a large children’s area with toys and a drawing wall.

Robin — whose background is in childcare — is the event coordinator for the cider house, which has already held a variety of events from fundraisers for charity to arts and crafts nights, as well as afternoon storytimes and crafts for kids.

They are currently hosting a giving tree for Candy Cane Lane, which provides gifts for foster children, in addition to offering their walls for a community art gallery that rotates bi-monthly.

The Fields, who have a young child, find there are not many activities in Redmond, especially in winter, for young families to do.

The space has worked out well, said Robin, because families can sit by the kids’ area, providing them a way to get the kids out of the house, while people who want more of a taproom feel can enjoy their time in the main room.

Starting in January, they plan to have monthly activities for kids and would like to eventually hold weekly storytimes.

In addition to the family-friendly distinction, being a cider house rather than a brewery also makes Dry Fields Cider stand out in Redmond.

Because cider is gluten free, their customer base includes many people who don’t drink beer, as well as couples who differ on beverage preferences.

“There’s a lot of couples who are excited because they say, ‘I like to go out with my wife and I feel bad when she has two options and I have 20, so it’s kind of nice to switch that around a little bit,’” Robin said.

They offer 15 ciders (including five of their own), as well as five non-alcoholic beverages such as kombucha and three beers on tap. Committed beer drinkers can also order from Porter Brewery next door and have the beer sealed to take over to the cider house. Bad Boys BBQ food cart provides food options for both establishments.

Dennis and Rhonda Meyer, from Crooked River Ranch, visit the cider house weekly. Rhonda enjoys cider and Dennis likes that he can order a beer from Porter Brewery next door and drink it with his wife at the cider house. The couple, whose kids are grown, said they enjoy the family friendly atmosphere and the “super friendly owners.”

“It brings back memories of when our kids were little,” said Rhonda.

“It’s good for the moms to have an outlet,” Dennis added.

Dennis is dressing up as Santa for a event Sunday at Dry Fields Cider.

Fields got his start in home brewing soon after turning 21, when he found that he liked craft beer but couldn’t afford to buy it. A friend already had the equipment, so Fields was able to experiment with making beer before investing a lot in the process. He was introduced to traditional dry cider while serving for nine months in humanitarian aid in South Africa.

“At that point in life, I had already been home brewing and I loved craft drinks and so I started sampling some of the South African beers and ciders and found that I loved Savannah Dry. It’s a nice clean, fresh, apple cider,” Fields said.

When Fields returned to Central Oregon, he found that the cider available here was often very sweet. So he decided to try crafting his own dry cider, an experiment that got him excited.

“I’m very inquisitive,” he said. “I love doing math and I love doing science, and there’s a whole lot of both going into production of cider and getting it to taste the way that you want and finding the sugar balances and playing with different yeast strains and just everything that goes into making a good quality cider.”

Fields enjoys introducing customers to the variety available in cider.

“There’s not a lot of good, dry ciders on this side of the mountain,” he said. “And so we get a lot of people who come in and say ‘I’m not a cider drinker.’ And so I say, ‘Why?’ And being as small as we are, I can individually craft or figure out what somebody wants and why they don’t like cider.”

Fields said the things that set them apart are their dedication to quality and keeping the cider dry — with 100 percent real fruit and no added sugar.

Cider starts with at least 51-percent apple juice and then other juices can be added for different flavors. Dry Fields Cider’s flavors on tap currently include apple, chipotle-pineapple, passionfruit-mango, strawberry-kiwi and banana.

Fields enjoys experimenting with flavors and can do custom batches on request.

They hope to find a market in weddings, added Robin, offering custom flavors, private tastings for the bridal party and kegs for the wedding. One feature they are able to offer is to seal any cider left in the keg into cans with a custom label as a wedding memento.

They have also enjoyed being a part of various brew festivals in the area.

Currently, their distribution is limited to the cider house, kegs and any cans they sell from the cider house. Over the next several years, they would like to expand production and add a pasteurization step to make the cider shelf stable.

The cider currently includes live yeast, said Fields, which is safe to serve in the taproom or have canned for short periods of time, but the yeast can re-ferment over a longer period of time which changes the quality of the product.

Fields is looking into options such as UV or heat pasteurizing, which would allow them distribute their ciders more widely.

— Reporter: 541-548-2185, lvalenti@redmondspokesman.com

21944594