Mattie Beason has a sommelier background, but when he found himself in the Basque country of Spain 10 years ago, it wasn’t wine that intrigued him. Mattie fell in love with cider, and in the years since he discovered his affinity for the drink, it has become increasingly popular in the U.S.: Five years ago when he first started going to CiderCON – cider’s national conference – 250 people were in attendance. This past year, Mattie says there were more than 1,000 cider enthusiasts. He enjoys being on the “front edge of something that I’m really excited about,” he says. And now, Mattie is sharing his expertise with the rest of us, offering classes at his Black Twig Cider House.
Passion clearly drives Mattie to share what he has learned about cider, and the group of about 30 at the class I attended hung on his every word, from cider history to the tasting lesson (swirling, smelling and aerating of the cider). We sampled four ciders from four cider-producing regions of the world: Great Britain, France, Spain and the U.S. Each was distinctly different, but all were enjoyable, especially the Txotx taste at the end, which involved catching our sip from a barrel spout.
There’s one more class on the roster for Mattie, slated for Aug. 27. And if you really want to get a sense of cider, check out Black Twig’s first-ever Txtoxfest on September 10, where he will bring together some of his favorite cider producers with restaurants offering crafted pairings in one grand cider celebration.