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: May, 2016
May 25, 2016

This is Part 1 of a two part chat with the founders and cidermakers at Farnum Hill Cider, in Lebanon New Hampshire.  The cidery sits on the slope of Farnum Hill. Like many New England orchards and farms there is not necessarily open continuous land, but small acreage here and there, wherein the case of FHC- cider apple trees are planted in large and small fields of 3 to 4 and 20 acres plots.

Farnum Hill is highly regarded for their cider, producing select cider apples, and is one of the key tap roots for moving cider out of the back room barns and into the minds of craft libation connoisseurs for the first time post prohibition.

(Not that there is anything wrong with "back room barn cider".)

Founded by Steve M. Wood and Louisa D. Spencer, the cidery and orchards are what one can call an American Heritage Cidery. Make sure to note during this chat how many scions have passed out of this site and across the US. 

For this chat, we walked up the hill to the top of the orchard. Steve provides the backdrop of history surrounding the early beginnings of Farnum Hill.

Here is a snap shoot of our chat.

  • 1965 - Steve was eleven years old when he started working at the farm. His dad was an apple farmer and the local doctor.
  • Steve and Louisa arrived back to the farm in college
  • 1984 bought Poverty Hill Orchards
  • 1989 planted the first commercial size cider orchard in the US -  a 1000 trees
  • 1995 Became bonded to begin selling cider
  • 1990s - Steve began studying winemaking
  • Throughout the 90s they began planting more and more fruit trees

For patrons of Cider Chat, via Cider Chat's Patreon page there will a YouTube clip available for viewing Steve Wood blending cider. It will go live on Thursday May 26th. It is easy to become a patron and it really helps this chat thrive. Please do consider becoming a Patron of the Chat today!

Find the show notes and photos at cider

Go to episode 032

Follow Cider Chat on Twitter @ciderchat

May 17, 2016

Sam Reid is based in Tasmania, a state of Australia. He is a partner at Willie Smith's Cider and President of Cider Australia.

Tasmania is what Sam calls the smallest state of Australia which by the way is equal in size to the continental United States. It was colonized by the English who used it in the 1700's as a penal colony. It is also in the southern hemisphere so the apple growing region is found in the south on both Australia and Tasmania. It use to be well known as the Apple Isle a claim to fame that I suspect will in time return.

There are 30 apple growers in Tasmania.

When asked what would best describe Australian cider, Sam described the overall market for the country as a New World commercial style, with fresh apples, filtered (crossed flowed filtered), carbonated and a bit sweet to please the current customer palate - with an overall ph of 3.6. Whereas for Tasmania ciders Sam says, "There isn't one specific style". Willie Smith's where Sam is the CoFounder/Managing Director they tend towards the French Style of cidermaking, with less emphasis on the acid. Willie Smith's ciders are also unfiltered and oak aged and note that they do have special release ciders in 750 ML bottles which makes a visit to their Tasting Room (The Apple Shed) even more worthwhile.

How to get to Tasmania?

  1. Take an hour and half flight from Melbourne
  2. Take an overnight ferry from Melbourne to the port in Devon. You can take car on the ferry.

Spreyton Cider is the first cidery that you can get to once off the ferry.

Head south into Cole Valley and look for Red Brick Road Cider and Two Metre Tall in Launceston.

Red Sails Cider in Middleton

Lost Pippin cider, Pagan CiderFrank's Cider and so much more

Click on the link to Tasmania Cider Trail and put it on your plans for a perfect cider holiday

Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival July 15-17, 2016

Contact Info for Willie Smith's

All of Willie Smith's ciders are produced on site. The farm itself is 150 acres (40 hectares).

Willie Smith's is 30 minutes south of Hobart, Tasmania. Hobart is the capital of this Australian state. The actual region where Willie Smith's is located is the Huon Valley.


Follow @williesmiths on Twitter

Cider Australia

Contact Jane Anderson at the Executive Office for more info on Cider Australia

More Cider Tourist info for Australia

Cider and Ale Trail in the Yarra Valley - Victoria

Thanks to Hugh McKellar at Real Cider Reviews for connecting me with Sam for this chat!

Help Keep Cider Chat thriving by becoming a Patron today via my Patreon page.

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Shownotes and photos at episode 031



May 11, 2016

"There is always something going on" say Nat West at his Reverend Nat's Taproom in Portland Oregon.

I spoke with Nat before I headed over to CiderCon2016 later that same day. This chat provides a tour of the taproom and production space. And we discuss some of his crazy ass fermentations that aren't cider, but does show Nat's passion for - Fermenting!

The facility has both a Taproom that shares space in the front room which is 3500 square feet. You can hear the cider workers in the background bottling and getting the site ready for a 100-person bus tour that was rolling in later that same morning.

Nat chats on how many of the Pacific Northwest cidermakers use Juice from: Hood River Juice and Fruit Smart

 We discussed non cider fermentations:

  • Tepache - a fermented pineapple drink
  • Kumiss Mongolian Milkwine

And the Fermented Lamb Leg Cider made with an 8-pound lamb leg.

Listen to 019: Neil MacDonald | Orchard Parks Farm, UK discuss how the Brits have had meat added into ciders in the past and his mention of lamb legs.

Find photos of Reverend Nat's and the show notes at

Follow this Cider Chat on twiiter @ciderchat

May 4, 2016

Tom Oliver chatted on hopped cider and the best of what the US and UK have to look forward to in the cider market.

What he saw in US hopped ciders back in 2013 ignited his desire to try his hand at adding hops to his bittersweet cider. He worked with 3-different cider blends and Cascade hops and in turn "ramped up" the bittersweet element to give a bit more of the drying finish.  The hop from the Czech Republic Kazbet was also used and provide a very different profile and balance to the Cascade.

I had a chance to taste his At The Hop and it was delicious.

What makes cider unique?

  • "Sharing our techniques or what some might consider trade secrets."

Tom's "Free suggestion" for cider that will conquer the world - "If you make a bottle fermented cider with Wickson Crab Apple and put it in small bottles with just enough sweetness to balance it out - it will be the perfect celebratory wedding drink!

What does the US cider offer that is different than the UK ciders?

  • The "massive fruit aroma" which helps compensate for the absence of the bittersweet in the US.


Other topics discussed in this chat:

  • The implications of the CiderAct imp
  • Concentrated juice's use in cidermaking
  • Real cider and  a probable definition of craft cider
  • Who can call themself a craft cidermaker?

For Tom only one things matters: is it a good cider, which he says is the starting point.

What is good cider?

When you smell it, it does this...

When you taste it, it does that...

and overall this is what you get with it...

What Tom says about getting into the business of making cider.

  • Need to look carefully and set your goals. Is it to make cider and perry or to make money?
  • AND -Thank goodness for the course he took with Peter Mitchell in 1999 on principles and practices, so that he knew fully what he was getting into.

"I get no satisfaction from huge amounts of money. What I do get satisfaction from is knowing that you have enough to make the best cider you can. If you are making the best cider, you see the reaction of the people tasting the cider."

Contact info for Oliver's Cider and Perry


Address: Moor House Farm, Ocle Pychard, Hereford HR1 3QZ, United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 7768 732026



Thank you to our Founding Sponsor Cider Cellars Importers  of real cider from the UK.


Fine the show notes to this episode at