Apples to Cider – Book Review

Apples to Cider

Apples to Cider: How to Make Cider at Home

By April White with Stephen Wood of Farnum Hill Ciders

Apples to Cider is an insightful narrative into the creation of hard apple cider. The book highlights the procedures followed by award-winning Farnum Hill Ciders from Lebanon, New Hampshire through a series of page breaks written by Stephen Wood.

The full color book is comprised of 151 pages with beautiful photos of the orchard and the cider-making process. The initial chapters in the book are dedicated to the basics of cider including defining cider and explaining it’s history, how to properly taste and evaluate cider, selecting the optimal cider apples and how to create establish your own cider room.

The middle of this book covers the process of making cider from apples in detail through 16 full size pages. The language used is understandable and conversational; you get the feeling that you are talking to an experienced cider maker rather than reading a narrative on the process. This is a refreshing take on the process books that we are used to. Books tend to either delve too deep into the technical information that the standard brewer or cider maker will never use or they are too basic without the information needed to create truly excellent fermented beverages. This book includes three distinct chapters titled Your First Batch of Cider, Your Second Batch of Cider and Your Third Batch of Cider and Beyond. These three chapters lay out from basic, intermediate to expert level cider making.

Our favorite portion of the book is the discussion of ice cider. Educate.Beer was introduced to ice cider while on a brewery tour in northern Vermont. Concentrating the pre-fermented apple juice through several freeze-thaw cycles creates a higher proof wine-like drink. Apples to Cider includes instructions exactly on how to make this drink, something that we at Educate.Beer will be trying very soon!

If you have any interest in understanding the history or process of cider-making, Apples to Cider is the best book that we have read on the topic thus far. Additionally, artisanal cider making has grown with the increase in craft beer establishments. Cider is an interesting and unique way to increase the non-beer drinkers to the world of craft drinks. Their section on tasting and evaluating artisanal ciders will greatly enhance your understanding of how the product should taste and what you should look for in a great example.