Book Review: Making Craft Cider – A Ciderist's Guide by Simon McKie
£7.99, A5, 112 pages, colour
Books on cidermaking are comparatively rare when you look at the number of titles available on home brewing or home winemaking, so it's good to see a publication such as this come out. The 1999 Real Cidermaking on a Small Scale by Pooley & Lomax (see below) has been on the shelves of many a craft cidermaker for years but there has been a bit of a gap in the market for anything with more detail in without being too academic. Luckily Simon McKie takes writing about cidermaking that one step further without overcomplicating the process involved.
Each chapter is lavishly illustrated with colour photographs as well as technical information such as a specific gravity/alcohol table which is something I find very useful as am always wondering how strong a cider will be after we've just spent all day juicing the apples. Although the results given in the table in this book do differ from those given in Real Cidermaking on a Small Scale by Pooley & Lomax!
The book begins with a brief history of cidermaking and the chapters lead through into apple selection, pressing, measurement, fermentation, tasting and even a piece about cider brandy. The section featuring the hydropress was an innovation to me as I had never come across one before reading this book. The trusty Fruit Shark mill has a photo as well, I can recommend these little Czech-built electric scratters as have been using one at Llanblethian Orchards for years. There is also a relatively easy-to-follow couple of paragraphs on the technique known as keeving which I have seen pages of in some publications.
At the back are a useful, easy-to-find series of appendices with a glossary of cidermaking terms, a troubleshooting guide and a tasting methodology.
All in all, a good little book for the cider enthusiast and the small-scale producer.