Our Authors

5 Festive Ciders to Spice up Your Holidays

If you haven't eaten at least two dozen cookies by New Year's Day then you are doing something wrong. Along with all that butter, cinnamon, and sugar, it's the time to reach for flavorful, full-bodied ciders. American cider makers have embraced these colder months by releasing ciders packed with cranberries, spices, and a big heaping of holiday cheer. More

Gift Guide: For Cider Lovers

Whether your loved ones are gluten free gourmands or adventurous homebrewers, cider just might be on their holiday wish lists. We're here to help with gift ideas: books, bottles, gear, and even a weekend getaway that your favorite cider lover is sure to enjoy. More

Highlights from Franklin County CiderDays 2013

For nineteen years—long before every magazine was telling us that "hard cider is easy choice for fall"—farmers and cider makers in western Massachusetts have gathered to celebrate autumn and their region's long relationship with apples. Originally a small harvest festival for local producer West County Cider, CiderDays has grown into the most recognized cider event in the United States. More

Cider Apple Guide: Bittersharps

When I first learned there were more—many more—apples than I could find at my local Shoprite, I went on a mission to try every one of them. But I didn't want to try them in the delicious, fermented form for which they were intended. I wanted to pull each cider apple off the tree and take a big ol' bite out of it. Because if you are really into cider, then you can handle the coarse, papery fruit that's often referred to as 'inedible?' Right? I was sure that once I got past that first bite—like spitting out that first sip of hard liquor—there would be a world of wonder beneath. Well, I was wrong. More

Cider Apple Guide: Bittersweets

If there is one style of apple prized above all others by American cider makers, it's the bittersweet apple. Affectionately referred to as a "spitter," these apples are low in acid, high in tannin, and impart the classic flavor of finer French and English ciders. At first bite, most would consider bittersweet fruit inedible. But what is ill suited for the fruit bowl is ideal for the cider press. More

Cider Apple Guide: Sharps, Sweets, and Sharp-Sweets

Most of the trees bearing traditional cider apples in the US were replaced during Prohibition, and even though American cider makers are planting hundreds of acres of cider fruit trees each year, those trees aren't bearing a ton of fruit just yet. In the meantime, the same varieties you see at your local grocery story—favorites such as Gala, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith—provide the base for most American cider today. Thankfully, when blended with more structured cider fruits, these apples can still make a fine cider. More

Rosé Ciders to Try this Summer

There is no better conversation starter in the world of cider than pouring a rosé cider. After all, apple juice is yellow, right? But this cider is pink. Or crimson. Are there grapes involved? Perhaps berries? At best, most people assume food coloring or some sort of extract is added to the cider. Most people are wrong. More

Go Back in Time with New England Style Ciders

The early settlers' weak cider would only keep for so long and cider makers soon began adding sugar to their juice to increase the final alcohol level. More booze in the cider meant that it kept better—both at home and for export. A handful of homemade raisins contributed fresh yeast for fermentation. More

Where to Buy Cider in New York City

You've probably heard by now that there is a cider revival in the United States. But, unfortunately, many of New York's best bars and restaurants have not caught on and the options at your local pub or wine store may leave you unsatisfied. So where can you find interesting ciders to try? Who has a good selection to buy or to stay and sip? We combed the city's markets, restaurants, and bottle shops to find the best sources for cider. More

5 New Jersey Beers to Drink Right Now

New Jersey is not all fists pumps and Real Housewives. Thanks to public demand, recent legislation has eased up on microbreweries, brewpubs, and growler sales to allow beer options in New Jersey to improve significantly. Want a taste of the new New Jersey beer scene? Check out these 5 brews. More

Get Funky With Wild Fermented Ciders

Forgoing the precision of modern technology, these cider makers embrace the old-world method of fermenting with yeast already present on the skins of the apples. While producing cider using native fermentation can be unpredictable, the results can offer an array of savory and earthy flavors—these ciders are more complex than any others in the American cider landscape. More

The Basics of Pairing Cider and Food

In my kitchen, we don't have a restaurant's ready supply of open bottles to tinker in search of a laser-focused, ideal food-and-beverage pairing. For me, the untested bottle that I open up is the bottle I am going to drink, whether or not it's perfectly compatible. But that's where learning the basics of how to make food and drinks go well together comes in handy—especially the ability to adjust what I'm cooking to the bottle I'm drinking. More

The 10 Best Beers We Tried at New York City Beer Week

With this past week's NYC Beer Week, the five boroughs have once again proved themselves a formidable voice on the American beer landscape. From strong ales to funky sours to impressive IPAs, the "style" of NYC beer is in its diversity. While our heads are still a bit woozy from ten days of strong drinks and small plates, we've managed to pick out the most memorable beers (many of them new and rare) that we tried in a week full of standouts. More

4 Up-and-Coming Cider Makers To Watch in 2013

As the American cider scene grows, a craft that was once reserved for orchardists is now finding roots into every corner of the American landscape. From bloggers-turned-ciderists in the Pacific Northwest to urban cider makers in Richmond, Virginia, we recommend that you keep an eye out for these four up-and-coming cider makers. More

5 Festive Ciders to Spice up Your Holidays

@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.

Highlights from New York Cider Week 2013

We'll be there next week. See you then!

Cider Apple Guide: Sharps, Sweets, and Sharp-Sweets

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.

Orleans Aperitif Ciders: Vermont-Made Alternatives to Campari and Lillet

@jebruns…

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.

Strong Ciders, Ice Ciders, and More Apple Drinks for Your Winter Hibernation

@scalfin

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!

Strong Ciders, Ice Ciders, and More Apple Drinks for Your Winter Hibernation

@PSFam

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.

Spiced Ciders for Your Holiday Table

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!

6 New English Ciders and Perries Arrive in The US

@andrew…

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.

6 New English Ciders and Perries Arrive in The US

@tinybanquetecommitee... We had a great talk with Louisa Spencer of Farnum Hill Ciders last year... check it out!

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/05/farnum-hill-new-hampshire-interview-louisa-spencer.html

Serious Eats Day 2012: What Day Should We Celebrate?

February 18th! Yay Serious Eats Day!

GABF Highlights: 15 Unique Brews from the Great American Beer Festival 2011

@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.

Our Favorite Sips from the Mammoth Festival of Beers 2011

@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!)

The Cider Press Taste Test: Canned Ciders

@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.

The Cider Press Taste Test: Canned Ciders

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

Cider Sangria

@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.

Scenes from Chicago Craft Beer Week

@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.

Scenes from Chicago Craft Beer Week

@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!

Spice Hunting: Lemon Drop Chiles

Are these the same as Aji Amarillo peppers?

2011 Samuel Adams Utopias: Beer Worth $150?

@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.

2011 Samuel Adams Utopias: Beer Worth $150?

@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.

The Cider Press: Spanish Sidra

@painoh83:

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!

The Cider Press: All About Traditional Perry

@salsasis -

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.

Hoppy Red Ale (For Beginning Homebrewers)

@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!

Cider Cocktail: Uncle Buck

@seriouseater83 - I buy my cider molasses here although you could probably get serious and make it yourself. My favorite allspice dram is The Bitter Truth's version available online from DrinkUpNY here

April Sours: A Celebration of Tart Beers

@ghostly - the wine barrel aged Abbaye de St. Bon-Chien beers are pricey… and they are usually flat in my experience. You can get the 750ml Grand Cru bottle for around $20 and that's the way to go. It's fantastic!

Highlights from Franklin County CiderDays 2013

For nineteen years—long before every magazine was telling us that "hard cider is easy choice for fall"—farmers and cider makers in western Massachusetts have gathered to celebrate autumn and their region's long relationship with apples. Originally a small harvest festival for local producer West County Cider, CiderDays has grown into the most recognized cider event in the United States. More

Go Back in Time with New England Style Ciders

The early settlers' weak cider would only keep for so long and cider makers soon began adding sugar to their juice to increase the final alcohol level. More booze in the cider meant that it kept better—both at home and for export. A handful of homemade raisins contributed fresh yeast for fermentation. More

Get Funky With Wild Fermented Ciders

Forgoing the precision of modern technology, these cider makers embrace the old-world method of fermenting with yeast already present on the skins of the apples. While producing cider using native fermentation can be unpredictable, the results can offer an array of savory and earthy flavors—these ciders are more complex than any others in the American cider landscape. More

Where to Buy Cider in New York City

You've probably heard by now that there is a cider revival in the United States. But, unfortunately, many of New York's best bars and restaurants have not caught on and the options at your local pub or wine store may leave you unsatisfied. So where can you find interesting ciders to try? Who has a good selection to buy or to stay and sip? We combed the city's markets, restaurants, and bottle shops to find the best sources for cider. More

The 10 Best Beers We Tried at New York City Beer Week

With this past week's NYC Beer Week, the five boroughs have once again proved themselves a formidable voice on the American beer landscape. From strong ales to funky sours to impressive IPAs, the "style" of NYC beer is in its diversity. While our heads are still a bit woozy from ten days of strong drinks and small plates, we've managed to pick out the most memorable beers (many of them new and rare) that we tried in a week full of standouts. More

10 Best Sips from the Chicago Cider Summit

Chicago's cider scene is an exciting mashup, with traditions stemming from a long heritage of apple farming in Michigan and new energy and influence from Chicago's impressive and inventive craft beer movement. We recently attended the Chicago Cider Summit and tasted dozens of ciders from the Midwest and beyond: here were the highlights. More

Strong Ciders, Ice Ciders, and More Apple Drinks for Your Winter Hibernation

When most people think cider, they tend to think of the fall; harvesting apples alongside squash and other autumnal produce while the leaves change and we all prepare to hold up indoors for the next few months. But cider is much more than a seasonal beverage and, as we turn to stronger drink these colder months, there are many ciders and other apple-based drinks perfect for a roaring fireside. We're declaring 2013 the year of the apple and here are a few ways to kick things off right. More

We Chat With Greg Hall of Virtue Cider

The name Greg Hall is well known in the world of craft beer—Hall was an early advocate of beer pairings and the man behind the world class beers at Goose Island Beer Co. Greg's newest obsession is cider, and the first pints from his Virtue Cider venture are now on tap in Chicago. More

The Cider Press: American Ice Cider

If traditional cider is delicate and nuanced, ice cider is its complex and assertive counterpart. Served cold, ice cider takes the best aspects of cider and intensifies them, layer upon layer, for a sipping drink bursting with the full spectrum of apple-y, earthy cider flavors. More