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The Art of Cidermaking.

Method of making hard cider at home are covered in a new book from Brewer's Publications of Boulder, CO. The Art of Cidermaking, authored by Paul Correnty, begins with a discussion of cider history. He traces the origins of apple cultivation and cider making to classical times, noting the contributions of the Moors and Europeans.

He also explores the role of cider in early colonial America, where hard cider was one of our primary tipples. In 18th century New England, colonials were busily cultivating apples, and Correnty notes, "and hundreds of new varieties spitled forth from the extensive orchards, and thousands upon thousands of gallons of hard cider were produced on the farms of this agricultural land." In 1767, Correnty reports, the per capita consumption of cider in Massachusetts was 1.14 barrels.

Correnty traces the decline of cider to the period when America was transforming itself from an agrarian to an industrial society in the mid-19th century. As Correnty points out, farmers moving to the cities could more easily buy beer than make cider. He posits that temperance movements also contributed to cider's demise.

Fortunately, hard cider is enjoying a re-birth in America in the 1990s. Numerous imported brands are now available on the U.S. market and a new generation of domestic hard cider producers are cropping up from California to New England.

It may take a while for the supply and demand curves to meet, however, and there is where the Art of Cidermaking comes in. One of the marvels of cider is that it can be made right in the home, as Correnty explains. As described, it all seems remarkably simple. Several gallons of store-bought sweet cider are poured into a glass carboy, sugar and yeast are added, and the mixture is allowed to ferment. Within a month, the initial fermentation will subside. At that point, fermentation begins to slow, and the cider is allowed to settle. After a few more weeks, the cider can be transferred to a clean container and aged. Overall, Correnty says the process takes about 20 weeks.

In the first instructional chapters, Correnty covers the best sources for sweet cider, and offers in-depth discussions of fermentation, clarifying and aging. For the expert, he offers more details on the virtues of various apple types; the merits of home-pressing; east choice and kegging.

He also offers a number of recipes - raspberry alder, cherry cider, pear cider and classic New England cider, and explores the use of apples in two related areas - mead making and beer brewing - with recipes for an apple mead and an apple beer.

The book casts welcome light on hard cider, one of our least understood traditional American beverages. On its merits, this book should help fuel the growing consumer interest in cider, and help this worthy beverage rise from an unjustified obscurity.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 10, 1995
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