The Or­chard Artists

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Contents: April/may 2015 - By Dave Car­pen­ter

Cider and perry are re­fresh­ing, civ­i­lized, and gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity. That they hap­pen to be gluten-free is merely con­ve­nient hap­pen­stance.

Cider and perry are re­fresh­ing, civ­i­lized, and gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity. That they hap­pen to be gluten-free is merely con­ve­nient hap­pen­stance. Ev­ery year brings new ver­sions, but thank­fully, you need not camp out­side the store overnight to get your hands on th­ese ap­ples.

MY FIRST TASTE OF

a Mcin­tosh is branded upon my mem­ory. All I’d known be­fore that glo­ri­ous day was Red De­li­cious, whose name I’d al­ways felt was at best 50 per­cent ac­cu­rate. The Mcin­tosh was dif­fer­ent, though, with an in­tox­i­cat­ing jux­ta­po­si­tion of sweet, tart, crisp, and juicy. This was noth­ing like those mealy ap­ples I’d suf­fered through in my younger years.

Dis­cov­er­ing ar­ti­sanal cider has been equally as rev­e­la­tory. Far from the generic fizzy ap­ple juice that hides be­hind the un­for­tu­nate name “hard cider” in the United States and Canada (a term un­known else­where), craft cider is ev­ery bit as so­phis­ti­cated and nu­anced as wine, a bev­er­age with which it shares even more sim­i­lar­ity than it does with beer.

From France’s cham­pagne-like cidre brut and Ger­many’s thirst-quench­ing Apfel­wein to tan­nic scrumpy from Eng­land and New Eng­land’s for­ti­fied win­ter warmers, there’s a cider for vir­tu­ally ev­ery taste. And let’s not for­get perry, cider’s lesser known but no-less-re­fined sib­ling. Th­ese aren’t just fer­mented fruits: They’re ap­ples and pears from heaven.

Cider Ba­sics

If you live out­side North Amer­ica, cider means a bev­er­age made from the fer­mented juice of ap­ples. But, in the United States and English-speak­ing Canada, the word cider with­out fur­ther des­ig­na­tion refers to the cloudy, un­fil­tered, un­fer­mented juice of freshly pressed ap­ples. An Amer­i­can or Canadian cider seeker in search of the good stuff must usu­ally re­quest “hard cider,” an in­sult to both the prod­uct it­self and to the per­son try­ing to or­der it. Perry, the fer­mented juice of pressed pears, suf­fers from no such in­dig­nity, but you might oc­ca­sion­ally hear it called “pear cider.” For the pur­poses of this dis­cus­sion, cider and perry re­fer to the fer­mented juices of the ap­ple and pear, re­spec­tively.

Mak­ing cider may ap­pear de­cep­tively sim­ple in that there is no malt­ing, no mash­ing, no lau­ter­ing, no sparg­ing, and no boil­ing: In­deed, there’s no brew­ing at all (brew­ing is a term re­served for beer). Af­ter ap­ples are picked, they are washed and then crushed into a rough pulp, a process rather ono­matopo­et­i­cally termed scrat­ting. The pulp is pressed through a fil­ter to col­lect as much of the sug­ary ap­ple juice as pos­si­ble, leav­ing be­hind a fi­brous mass called po­mace.

Af­ter the juice has been lib­er­ated from the ap­ples, it is in­oc­u­lated with yeast (ex­cept in cer­tain cases in which un­pas­teur­ized juice is al­lowed to spon­ta­neously fer­ment) and is fer­mented for a pe­riod of weeks or months. Af­ter fer­men­ta­tion, the

Mak­ing cider may ap­pear de­cep­tively sim­ple in that there is no malt­ing, no mash­ing, no lau­ter­ing, no sparg­ing, and no boil­ing: In­deed, there’s no brew­ing at all (brew­ing is a term re­served for beer).

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