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Entries in Cider (17)


Transplanting a cider apple orchard at Finnriver Farm & Cidery.

Quick post from the weekend. My brother Ryan and I spent Saturday with some friends up in Chimacum, Washington transplanting a few trees at Finnriver's brand new cider apple orchard block. Sadly Washington suffered a bittersweet cider loss last year when Northwest super cider guy Drew Zimmerman shut the doors on his popular Red Barn Cider in Mount Vernon Washington.

Our loss was also our gain as Drew has been keeping himself busy sharing his wealth of knowledge and more as a cider and orchard consultant. Finnriver Farm & Cidery has been one of the beneficiaries of Drew's wisdom, advice, the Fire Barrel recipe one of his cider legacies, and now his 8 year old cider variety apple orchard.

After our 4 hour work party we joined in some of the festivities of Port Townsend's Wine and Chocolate weekend back on Finnriver Farm.I snapped a few shots for you to enjoy.


New Cider Infographic

Well how could I not post this. I mean graphic design and cider? Two of my greatest loves in life and the image below does both much justice. Get some cider history from the American perspective and some fun and interesting facts of cider's amazing growth.

Originally posted at HackCollege


Hot Rum Cow Issue 2 - The Cider Issue

Good reads on cider aren't always easy to come by. While that fact may change one day it's still pretty hard to put together a great cider book collection. At first you it fairly easy to collect all the readily available gems. My very first cider books were Making the Best Apple Cider and Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider both my Annie Proulx. Ben Watson's book Cider, Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own was a game changer for me. The moment I finished that book I knew I was hooked and I began to seek out and buy all the genuine cider reading I could find.

With a little internet search ingenuity and good old fashioned dilligence I've grown my cider library quite a bit over the years. Besides the aforementioned reads some of the other easy to find "must haves" on my list include Craft Cider Making by Andrew Lea, Ciderland by James Crowden, and if you find yourself craving a little bit of apple history I really enjoyed Apples by Frank Browning.

In 2011 I missed out (along with a couple of you) on a chance to buy Vinetum Britannicum: A Treatise of Cider on Ebay which ultimately sold for $1975. 

This morning I ran across a link to Hot Rum Cow's Issue 2 ~ The Cider Issue. Now I haven't read a lick of this magazine yet but the playful yet tastefully worked layout and illustrations are fantastic. At once I knew this would be a release that any cider afficianado would want in their library. To boot they are British and in my experience the English hardly ever do cider injustice.

Take a look and see for yourself...

How can you not want THAT on your shelf?

Well I did it. Sight unseen I pulled the trigger and bought an issue. At around $20, which includes shippng to the states, it may seem like a lot for a magazine. But I've seen even more photos from Hot Rum Cow's Flickr account and the magazine looks to be printed very nicely on terrific looking slightly "toothy" matte paper. I'm 99% sure it'll be a worthwhile purchase. If you want to save some money and indulge in a little instant gratificiation you can download it from iTunes for £2.49.

Hot Rum Cow also published a nice blog post on my buddy cider photographer Bill Bradshaw last week. They are a fairly new drink publication but they seem to know their stuff and have me intruiged so I did a little reading up.

Here is how they describe themselves on their website:

Hot Rum Cow is a labour of love, created by White Light Media. Its aim is to celebrate the wonderful world of drinks by exploring the stories and people behind them.

You can buy the print or downloaded versions of Hot Rum Cow Issue 2 - The Cider Issue here:

Find them on Facebook here:
Follow them on Twitter here:


2011 Franklin County Cider Days Photos.

This past November I had the pleasure of attending Franklin County Cider Days once again. This was my second year in Western Massachusetts for Cider Days and the best one yet. I bet a say that every year too. Seriously if you are in the area, or can plan to be in the area do it. It is a THE BEST weekend of cider and apple related events available in the US. In Western Massachusetts apples just seem to be a part of the culture. There are small orchards, heirloom growers, specialty nursuries, cidermakers, and more tucked into this small pocket of the country. Make sure you take a few days to really explore the area. It truly is a treasure everyone should see once.

More on Franklin County Cider Days later...


A proper start at The Green Well ~ West Michigan Cidermakers Tour

For what was our first full day in Grand Rapids the Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association had thoughtfully organized a day tour of West Michigan and a couple of the area cidermakers for the GLINTCAP 2011 guest judges.

After our morning espresso back at MadCap Coffee we met up with Gary Awdy at our hotel and with him was Dick Dunn. Dick is the man. He is the guy who currently runs the Cider Digest. Dick tells me Cider Digest has been arounf for nearly 20 years and he has maintained it for close to 17 years. It was an honor to be able to meet and hang out Dick Dunn. While I don't know the exact history I do know he provided one of the first places for the exchange of thoughts and theories on craft cidermaking. I'm a longtime loyal reader and Dick lived up to all the great things I've heard about him from mutual acquaintances over the years.

After a short wait we were met by Paul Vander Heide owner of Vander Mill Cider who would be our tour guide and host for the day. Our hosts  I can't imagine he volunteered for the gig. He must have drawn the short straw to end up carting all of us around…

Just as soon as we all jumped into Paul's van we were off and headed to South East Grand Rapids for a quick lunch. Along the way Paul regaled us with lots of very cool local factoids and told us about Grand Rapids' creative culture, their connection to the arts and the relatively new Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts. What a cool place and I always love hearing about a town from a genuine local's perspective.

Dick Dunn from Cider Digest with is Flight.

Lunch at The Green Well where we met up with the rest of our tour party. Nearly as soon as we sat down Mike Beck from Uncle John's Fruit House Winery showed up with Ben Watson author of "Cider, Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own", and Fox Barrel's Bruce Nissen. It was a great group of folks to get to have lunch with.

Coincidentally owned by the Bistro Bella Vita folks, The Green Well shares the same exact philosophies only condensed into a more approachable neighborhood pub-style format. Having ate at both I can assuredly say that they maintain all the quality, enthusiasm and dedication to the local producers and fresh food philosophy as the Bistro Bella Vita. Only accompanied by a larger selection of great draught beverages.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Grand Rapids. The atmosphere at The Green Well was friendly and casual. Of course with all the cider folks at the table, our conversation eventually drifted from the beers we were ordering and what we were going to eat to.... Cider. But I suppose that wouldn't be news to anyone.

Great food, good drink and excellent company I thought the lunch experience was a spot on start to our day tour, and a great ice breaker. The only thing that could possibly eclipse the great menu options, was the overwhelming experience of making 3 choices for a Green Well draught flight from their ALL MICHIGAN selection. Beers and ciders. Choosing my libations was far more time consuming and difficult than it should have been. Priorities... Paul's Vander Mill ciders were on the draught menu but I knew cider at Paul's place was in the forecast so I quickly narrowed it down to the beers.


Draught Flight @ The Green Well - Grand Rapids, MI.

So what did I drink? From left to right: New Holland Brewing Company's Dragon Milk, Dripalicious from Short's Brewing Company, and Hangin' Frank also from Short's Brewing Company. What didn't I get?  Vander Mill Cider. On the average day i'd never pass up cider in a place like this but Paul's place was going to be our second stop after lunch and we would get a chance at the source.

 The Green Well Roast Beef Sandwhich

I like to think I live in culinarily progressive region in the Northwest but this is the sort of place that I truly love... I'm sad to say that we do not have anything quite like this in Olympia where I live, and gastro pubs of this sort are far and few between in both Portland or Seattle too. I'm pretty jealous of the Grand Rapid locals. If I lived near this place, there would be a stool with my name on it. When I started I had no intention of making the lunch stop it's own post but places like The Green Well are pretty rare and deserve a few words.

I love The Green Well...