Cider Chat

Interviewing cidermakers importers, orchardists, foodies, farmers and cider enthusiasts around the world. Let’s delve into the semantics of cider…or is it hard cider, cidre, sidra or fermented apple juice? The truth is out there in Ciderville and we are going to find it. We toast in celebration of cider; As a libation, a gift from the gods, a taste of terroir, and a hard pressed good time. Ready to quench your thirst? Grab a glass and join this chat! See you in Ciderville!
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Now displaying: April, 2016
Apr 27, 2016

John Bunker teaches us that identifying an apple tree doesn't begin with the apple, it always goes back to the root of the tree...unless it is one of the Eric Clapton apples, i.e., you immediately recognize it as a variety that you all ready know. John provides a great metaphor for recognizing apples that you have learned to instantly know, much like you would a riff from your favorite musician.

The core of the issue is your knowledge base of beginning to recognize key attributes that stand out during the identification process.


Where to start?

As John says it, Begin by learning at least 24 varieties.

Two to learn first:

  • Macintosh
  • Cortland

"You want to obsess over a Dingaling Sweet, not a Mac or Cortland apple."

Is it a seedling tree?

How old it the tree?

  • I need to see the tree to determine if it is a seedling

You learn what are the attributes or the characteristics of the tree

Even a hundred years later you can see the graft.

Determining the age

  • Trunk diameter.
  • Is it hollow. All old trees are hollow, so you can't do a core sample. "
  • "They are coreless"
  • Is there a pattern?
  • Are they in rows?
  • Can you see how they were planted?
  • What was the distance between the trees?

When you are finally ready to look at the fruit you have eliminated what it could be.


How do we then find out if what we have is a particular apple?

John says, "You eliminated the pool, you are like Sherlock Holmes"

Apples mentioned in this chat?

Go to the shownotes for episode 028: John Bunker | Apple Identification


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Apr 20, 2016

Austin Eastcider is helping to make Austin Texas a cider mecca in a land where the apple root faces harsh growing conditions. Aaron Anderson is the R&D Coordinator at this growing cidery. He sat down for a chat with me at CiderCon2016 in Portland Oregon during the United States Association of Cider Makers conference. The head cidermaker is Preston Nickens.


Austin Eastcider opened in 2011 and is distributed in cans and draft throughout Texas and into Oklahoma, New York and New Jersey. The cider is selling so fast that come June of 2016 they will be moving into a much larger production facility.

Austin Eastciders ciders available

  • Texas Honey Cider, with wild flower honey sourced from Texas 5%
  • Original Dry Cider 5%
  • An English cider called Gold Top was produced but at that point Texas cider drinkers weren't ready for a bittersharp/sweet cider. That cider is still being produced, but is barrel aging.
  • There is also a hopped cider made with Falcon hops.

The juice from the cider is sourced from the UK, France, Italy, and the Pacific Northwest. It is easy to taste the bittersharp and bittersweet apples in each can that I tried. I was quite pleased that the cider was so balanced and refreshing. The cidery did well with the branding for a Texas Cider and meeting a mass market demand without going overboard sweet with the final product.

All the artwork for Austin Eastciders is done by Simon Walker

Austin Eastciders


Austin Eastciders Facebook page

Austin Eastciders Twitter @Eastciders


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See you in Ciderville!

Apr 13, 2016

Neil Worley's of Worley's Cider makes cider in the area of Great Britain called Somerset. Climb the high hill at the farm and your can see the Bristol Channel. It is a remote location by UK standards and the soil at the farm is only 3 inches in depth before you hit limestone. Instead of growing apples at the farm, the apples are brought up the hill.

When Neil traveled to Portland Oregon in February 2016 to speak at the United States Association of Cider Makers annual event called CiderCon, I caught up with him to chat about a very specific cider making technique called "keeving".

What is Keeving?

It is a process, whereby the nutrients of the sweet cider (before fermentation) are removed from the juice. During this process the nutrients float to the top of the juice forming a brown cap that Neil says looks like a "brown omelette". The brown cap is punctured and the juice is rack over into a new container to then be fermented into cider.

As there are no nutrients in the juice that was keeved, the yeast will not digest all the sugars in the juice thus leaving a refreshing cider that has a dry yet slightly sweet flavor profile.

Worley's Cider has won numerous awards and Neil is highly regarded for his cider making.

The full transcript of this chat with Neil including all the details he shared on keeving is available for patrons of Cider Chat. Go to Cider Chat Patreon Page and find our how you can receive your copy of this informative chat with Neil discussing the technical aspect and tricks of keeving.

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Apr 6, 2016

Jim Wallace is a cheese maker and cheese tech a.k.a the "Cheese Guru" at New England Cheesemaking Supply in Ashfield Massachusetts.

When not helping the cheese world sort through problematic cheeses, he teaches classes at his his cellar where he also ferments wine, beer, and cider and has his beloved cheese cave. Our goal for this chat was to have a cider and cheese pairing and discuss a baseline approach for discerning between the right cheese to choose for a pairing.

Find the full show notes to this chat at

Go to Episode 25 Jim Wallace | Cider Pairing with a Cheese Maker

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