The Northwest School of Wood Boatbuilding and Finnriver
The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is kicking off its 40th year anniversary with a little help from Finnriver Farm & Cidery. The organic orchard and craft cidery located in Chimacum, WA is issuing a limited edition version of its oak-aged 'Oak & Apple’ cider, featuring an image of “Bryony”, a gaff cutter built by the Boat School in 1983, on its label.
Although launched nearly 40 years ago, “Bryony” is still a strong little boat, moored near the Boat School in Mystery Bay and owned and cared for by a Boat School Alum.
The hard cider label celebrates a rich history of craft on the Olympic Peninsula which has been preserved by the Boat School for 40 years through its mission to “Teach and preserve boatbuilding and marine systems skills while developing the individual as a craftsperson”.
”The Olympic Peninsula is home to so many makers, builders, growers and people who work with their hands,” says Betsy Davis, Executive Director of the Boat School.
“Bryony” is the epitome of that sentiment.
She was designed by a local resident and built by the founder of the Boat School, Bob Prothero and some of his early students. Wrecked by a massive winter storm in 1989, she was rebuilt by the Boat School with significant help from the supporting community, making her the quintessential expression of the Finnriver / Boat School connection which stems from a shared vision of traditional craft, artisan creations and a wholesome and sustainable bond with community.
Like so many other local and regional artisans, Finnriver and the Boat School embrace and sustain a tradition of craft, which “reflects the values of so many of our neighbors on the Olympic Peninsula”, says Davis.
Head Cider Maker and production manager at Finnriver, Andrew Byers, says the proprietary blend of juice from organic, Washington, high acid, dessert apples, which is fermented and then aged in repurposed oak whiskey barrels, creates an “exposé of oak and apples.”
The Oak & Apple, semi-dry hard cider is created through a complex interaction of the creamy vanilla and caramel notes derived from the rye whiskey-soaked oak barrels balanced by the slightly tart apple juice.
The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is part of a much larger local community of skilled crafts persons, located in a region of dense artisan inspiration and creation. The school promotes the preservation of traditional boat building skills through hands on education and active practice of the craft.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery shares a similar philosophy with its mission to re-connect people to the land that sustains us and to grow community— through organic agriculture, land and resource conservation and restoration, renewable energy, support of local business, and preservation of craft in a vibrant and growing rural farm environment.
The cider label, which will be available for the rest of the year, is a fitting “toast” to the Boat School as it completes a major expansion including the addition of a new Marine Systems teaching facility, renovation of the Historic Galster House and repairs to the workshops located at the traditional working waterfront of Lower Hadlock.
You can find the Oak & Apple Cider online at Finnriver.com or at regional farmers markets or at the Finnriver Cider Garden, open Weds-Sunday 12-9pm for summer hours.