Hard cider musings
Nov/07/2012 12:55 PM Filed in: Hard Cider
We spent a lot of the Cider Days weekend talking about and tasting hard cider. There are a lot of fine hard ciders available at this time, as represented by the ciders available at the Cider Days salon held Saturday night. One thing that is very interesting to us is the preponderance of carbonated ciders. Why has carbonated cider become the standard, when there are so few carbonated grape wines? We have a book about making cider commercially from 1869, and even then bubbly cider was so sought after that a good portion of the book is focused on how to make it bubbly. We offer a possibly explanation based on the traditional seasonality of cider for people who made it themselves, and pulled some from the barrel in the basement throughout the year. Cider that is fermented using wild yeast ferments gradually, so that by Thanksgiving or Christmas it is alcoholic but still fizzy, with varying amounts of residual sweetness depending on timing and speed of fermentation. A few months later it has completed fermentation, so the rest of the year you would be drinking still cider. Perhaps people valued that fizzy, slightly sweet cider given its limited availability and holiday spirit. Once people came up with technological ways to stop fermentation such a cider could be enjoyed year round, but the market still valued the formerly rare, fizzy cider.
Something to think about the next time you enjoy a glass of cider.