Graphic Designer by day, craft beverage junkie by night. I write The Cider Press here on Serious Eats:Drinks and blog about (mostly) beer culture over at http://www.idrunkthat.com
@cosmicmojo - While you are right, the styles in Maryland and Delaware align much more with the cidermaking in Virginia and North Carolina than that in New York and Massachusetts. So, in that respect, we chose to include them here.
@uncgargolye - Fishing Creek in Whitakers, NC is fantastic and I have had some good bottles from the McRitchie winery in Thurmond, NC, further west.
@khark - Yes! This is the same cider at J.K. Scrumpy Winter Solstice. They changed the name a few years ago.
@vg3oe - Normally I am with you and I like my ciders on the dry side (although not bone dry) but - like champagne - its hard for them to hold up to richer foods with fats and oils. If you are looking for something on the dry side for the holidays I suggest the Leprechaun as the driest of the ciders we tried. Or go with anything from our Thanksgiving Cider guide. The dishes are similar so those same rules apply.
We'll be there next week. See you then!
You're quite right, Eric!
Claude's new book is a fantastic resource for apple classification for cidermakers. We'll get a little more into bittersweet varieties - Claude's ideal apple - next week.
I also recommend Tom Burford's new book Apples of North America for anyone looking to get serious about apple varietals for both a cidermaking or a historical perspective.
The Bitter holds up really well to whisky, particularly bourbon where sweeter flavors balance out the dry, bitter tartness. I do a modified Manhattan with it to great success. I've made variation of the Special Manhattan cocktail which has received quite a positive response.
Good point. And ice cider is - at least from a procedural standpoint - the closest thing available today to the traditional "jacking" method.
But the spirit we consider applejack today - Laird's being the classic example - is always a distillate. Or at least I have never run across one. If you can think of one please let me know. I bet it would make for a great side-by-side comparison article!
Great question. Applejack is closer to an eau de vie de pomme in that the juice is fermented and then distilled into a spirit. With ice cider, there is no distillation process. The equivalent in grain would be an eisbock beer vs, say, a bourbon.
Suprisingly Dana, most great ciders are not found in big cities but close to the farms they are made on. Cider is still so small in America that a lot of these folks don't distribute outside of their state, let along their farm-stand. That is why we try and give some guidelines and a very national spread of ciders.
Florida is really tough because it is too warm to grow apples there. For the time being, I do suggest you enjoy the Angry Orchard or even some of the better Crispin's if they get down your way. The Cigar City brewery is launching a cidery soon as well. Until there, unfortunately, you may need to contact the cideries and see if they ship (you can buy Finn River cider here) or check out some online stores via Wine Searcher.
Stay thirsty! Cider is growing by leaps and bounds every years and there will be great cider in Florida soon!
Astor wines typically carries most of the Christian Drouin and Eric Bordelet ciders and poires. Whole Foods on Bowery will also often have the Drouin ciders.
@tinybanquetecommitee... We had a great talk with Louisa Spencer of Farnum Hill Ciders last year... check it out!
February 18th! Yay Serious Eats Day!
@annifer, thanks for the catch, clearly I'm still not over my jet lag(er).
@steamsolder. Defenstration is def. more in the the class of Damnation and Redemption than the sour "tion" beers. I'm not really a fan of the entire Belgian IPA style but I think they pulled it off really well. Must people either get too bitter - such as Duvel's Belgian IPA - or throw a ton of American hops in to satisfy the flavor "hopheads" are looking for. The later is my ultimate offense as there is simply something off about high levels of Myrcene around Belgian yeast. Defenestration solves both these problems with (what seems to be) a heavy dose of late-edition noble hops.
In regards to your Pliny comment, I have say that - while it is indeed not my favorite beer they make - it is one fine double IPA. I think to really appreciate it, you needed take into perspective that it was first brewed over 15 years ago, before a lot of the hops we covet today were even invented. While it can be debated to all ends, to me, Pliny was really the pioneer for dried finishing, late hoped IIPAs that led the way for the work at Firestone Walker, Ballast Point, Hill Farmstead, and many other of today's flagship examples.
@starblanket. You are totally right! Mammoth Lakes Brewing Company is the highest altitude brewery but Telluride is the highest festival. Both are fantastic events and well worth the trip (especially if you like a little blues with your brews!)
@Mickey… Magner's is another one that doesn't make it to the States in cans… only bottles. We talked about Magners on The Cider Press here back in March. I agree it is not bad for a mass market cider.
Unfortunately, Scrumpy Jack does not make it to the States. My guess is the Bulmer's would prefer to concentrate their efforts on Strongbow as it is a larger seller worldwide
@violarulz - Ice cider is an alcoholic cider that has been concentrated by leaving the juice out during the cold months. It is mostly produced in Canada and Vermont. You can find out more by reading our American Ice Cider article.
@ghostly - yeah, that daisy cutter was shot at this crazy art gallery party put together by Three Floyds, Half Acre and Dogfish Head. There wasn't much room to walk around let alone snap a photo. There were some crazy beers there in the basement too, but it was lit by a single blue bulb thus rendering photography pointless. You can check it out a bit more here but most of what I shot that night was a throwaway.
@McNormal @Ghostly - I would say that most of these beers have a good portion of wheat, rye and other grains in their malt bill which will not flocculate out and leave them a bit cloudy… that stems from the intersection of my personal tastes and what was available on draft. In the case of the Daisy Cutter, it was served in a translucent, plastic Solo cup in an art gallery. That, combined with natural condensation, make it appear a bit more hazy than it really is. I do believe there is a small bit of wheat in the recipe as well but I can't be certain as the recipe remains a secret.
As far as properly clarified beers being "out of style" it really depends on the style. Belgian ales, barrel aged beers, and wheat beers are, by nature, cloudy… rendering that haze "in style." Alternatively, if you are speaking to how all 2-row, west coast IPA's are not longer the king of craft beer then, well, I'd have to agree. The trend in craft beer these last few years seems to go a bit beyond hop bombs in favor of complex grain bills and aging techniques. Additionally, most small breweries these days do not have the facilities to properly cold-lager their beer for clarity purposes and leave such persuits to larger breweries and homebrews in seach of BJCP medals.
@Colephelps1986 - I tried desperately to find Two Brother's Askew but it was already drained every place I went . Personally, I am a big fan of both Bare Tree (esp. the 2010 bottles) and Cane & Ebel but, alas, I did not come across any of these beers either. Sometimes there are just so many beers and not enough time to drink them all. Perhaps next year!
Are these the same as Aji Amarillo peppers?
@thingstea - Brooklyn Brewery is contract, Sixpoint is contract, Southampton is contact… the list goes on and on. To me craft beer is not based on geography, annual output or any of the other governmental standards. It's well made beer using quality ingredients.
@meatntaters - I will say that the 2011 Utopias is way better than the 2009. Its actually quite some and complex with a surprising hop bitterness that you won't find in other "spirits." After hearing how in depth the process is, I understand the cost and would sooner shell out the money here than on the more gimmicky extreme beers such as Sink the Bismark.
@thecoop - well put. BBC has been championing craft beer since day one. While Sierra Nevada and Anchor get a lot of credit for the craft beer movement, brands like BBC and Pete's Wicked Ale were there at the beginning as well paving the way for today's smaller brewers. So what if they were good at it and got successful? They are still making the same Boston Lager they were a decade ago. More people are just drinking it these days.
Tinto fino in NYC sells and ships most of these. Look in their "other" section here
I buy Sarasola Sagardoa at Astor Wines who also ship and you can pick that up here
When in doubt, you can always check out winesearcher.com, 1000corks.com or the good, old fashioned, "shopping" tab on Google. Happy hunting!
Pear cider is a bit of a misnomer. The word "cider" refers to a fermented apple beverage and the world "perry" refers to a fermented pear one. So technically a "pear cider" would be apple cider with pear flavoring added similar to blackberry cider, cherry cider, etc. Just as you would call fermented grape juice wine and not "grape cider," you would call fermented pear juice "perry."
Does that make sense? I know it can be a bit confusing… I have to explain this often.
The term "pear cider" has been thrown around a lot in recent years in an effort to create a perry revival. Especially in England, people just get the term "cider." They don't even have the whole "sweet cider vs. hard cider" problem that we have here in the States. So when you tell someone that "pear cider" is "cider from pears" they just get it. Is it technically correct? No. Does it work well at a festival on a hot summer day? Sure does.
There are plenty of great pear ciders. Some are apple cider with pear juice and some are 100% pear. If you want true perry, its best to buy bottles labeled perry or poirè… the French term for perry. Else you are going to need to check the label.
In regards to Magners Pear Cider, it is made from 100% pear juice so it would technically be perry. I assume they call it pear cider for the sheer accessibility of the term to their market.
@mayan - I think you comments are a bit off. I brewed this yesterday and ended up with an OG of 1.064 with 48 IBUs based on my AA%s (all whole leaf from Freshhops.com). I'm figuring it will probably finish around 1.014 for about 6.5% ABV which is spot on, if not a little high, for a red ale. 48 IBUs actually seems hoppy to me (and is high by BJCP guidelines) but it is probably standard for am American Red Ale. Perhaps you are are taking a NW approach to the Red Ale where 70+ IBUs is the norm… but I think anything higher than this would be more of a Red IPA.
Also, I always dry hop in a secondary as its best to have as clear a beer as possible before dry hopping. I've read a lot of notes that insists that less is more when it comes to dry hopping… especially with homebrew. Dryhopping can effect the clarity of your beer. This is particularly true when you are dealing with a non-wheat brew and can not hide particulate matter in the desired haze. Perhaps you cold crash your beers or use another clarifying agent but I don't so clarity control throughout the process is quite important and I have found that excessive dry-hopping leads to murky brews in the end.
Overall, I think this recipe is a solid American Red Ale. My suggestion is to use this as a jump off point and make adjustments as you see fit. If you are looking to brew a 9% Red Ale with 100 IBUs then by all means go ahead and up all the numbers 25%. Personally, I like my beers a bit more balanced with a subdued hop character. That said, I would probably cut the hop addition back by 10% and try and get the malt bill to finish around 6% ABV. That's just my personal style though and personal preference is what makes homebrew so enjoyable.
Overall, I'd say RDWHAHB. Cheers!