The Journey of Crafting Artisanal Cider: From Orchard to Glass

Read about the journey of crafting artisanal cider: from orchard to glass.
July 5, 2023
The Journey of Crafting Artisanal Cider: From Orchard to Glass

If you've ever enjoyed a crisp, refreshing glass of cider at your local pub, you may have wondered about the journey that led to its creation. The process of turning apples into cider is a fascinating blend of science, art, and centuries-old traditions. From carefully selecting the perfect blend of apples to fermenting and aging the liquid, every step of the process requires skill, patience, and attention to detail. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the magic behind cider production, exploring the techniques and tools that transform humble apples into a delicious and complex drink. Whether you're a casual cider drinker or a seasoned enthusiast, understanding the craftsmanship that goes into each glass is sure to deepen your appreciation and enhance your drinking experience. Read on to understand the journey of crafting artisanal cider: from orchard to glass.

Local Orchards' Role in the Quality of Your Favorite Craft Cider

The creation of artisanal cider is as much an art as it is a science. Harvesting is the first step in the cider making process, where quality is the key. Each apple is chosen for its unique characteristics: flavor, acidity, and tannin content. Only the best apples, free from damage or rot, are chosen for cider production. 

The quality of cider is heavily influenced by the quality of the apples used, which is why many artisanal cider producers source their apples from local orchards. These orchards provide a variety of apple types all enhancing the cider’s flavor profile. The harvested apples are then transported to the cider mill where they undergo the processes of washing, sorting, milling, and pressing to extract the juice. 

Understanding the Journey of Crafting Artisanal Cider: An Insight into Craft Cider

The cider manufacturing process involves three key stages: crushing the fruit, pressing out the juice, and fermenting the juice into alcohol.The juice is extracted leaving a raw material from which the cider will be crafted. This juice is then carefully fermented, a process in which yeast converts the apple sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The fermentation process is where cider makers can truly exercise their creativity and expertise, manipulating variables such as temperature and fermentation time to create a unique flavor profile. 

The Importance of Fermentation in Crafting Flavorful Artisanal Cider

Fermentation is a pivotal stage in cider production. It’s where the sugar in the apple juice is converted into alcohol by yeast, producing carbon dioxide in the process. The type of yeast used, the temperature at which fermentation takes place, and the duration of the process all significantly impact the flavor and aroma of the final product.

Craft cider makers often experiment with different fermentation methods to achieve a variety of tastes. Some may opt for wild fermentation, allowing the natural yeasts present on the apple skins to ferment the juice, which can lead to unique and unpredictable flavors. Others may use specific strains of yeast for a more controlled fermentation process, ensuring consistency in their products.

Aging and Blending: Key Steps in Creating Perfect Artisanal Cider

Aging and blending are crucial steps in the artisanal cider-making process. After fermentation, the cider is aged to allow the flavors to mature and develop. The aging process can take place in a variety of containers, from stainless steel tanks to wooden barrels, each imparting different characteristics to the cider.

Blending is another essential step. It involves mixing ciders made from different apple varieties, or from different batches, to achieve a consistent and desired flavor profile. For instance, some apple varieties like 'Kingston Black' are known as cider apples due to their balanced levels of sugar, acid, and tannins. Others, like 'Golden Delicious,' contribute sweetness and flavor, while varieties like 'Granny Smith' provide acidity that gives the cider its crispness. The blend of these apples, the terroir, and the cider maker’s skill all play a part in the journey of crafting artisanal cider.

From Still to Sparkling: How Cider Makers Add the Fizz to Your Favorite Drink

After the fermentation and aging process, the cider is still, meaning it has no bubbles or carbonation. However, many cider makers choose to carbonate their cider to give it a lively, effervescent quality that enhances the overall drinking experience. There are two main methods of carbonation: natural and artificial.

  • Natural carbonation occurs when the cider is bottled with a small amount of residual sugar or unfermented juice, also known as "cider lees." This residual sugar provides a food source for the remaining yeast in the cider, which consumes it and produces carbon dioxide gas as a byproduct. The carbon dioxide is then trapped in the bottle, creating natural carbonation.
  • Artificial carbonation involves the injection of carbon dioxide gas into the cider under pressure, similar to the way carbonation is added to soda or sparkling water. This method allows for more precise control over the level of carbonation and can result in a more consistent product.

Regardless of the method used, the carbonation process adds a refreshing and lively quality to the cider, creating the characteristic fizz that makes it so enjoyable to drink. It also helps to release the aromas and flavors of the cider, making it more aromatic and flavorful. 

Inside the Craft Cider Industry: From Orchard to Refreshing Glass

The craft cider industry is a vibrant, evolving sector steeped in tradition and innovation. From the careful tending of apple orchards to the meticulous crafting process, every step is a testament to the dedication of those involved in this industry.

So whether you’re a seasoned craft cider drinker or just discovering this delicious drink, next time you’re at Ciderworks@Story Tavern in Burbank, be sure to make it your go-to happy hour option. Enjoy mouth-watering, organic beverages you’ll never forget! Try our award-winning apple cider, cherry/blueberry, pineapple,ginger/lemongrass, strawberry/orange, and many more exciting flavors proudly made in-house from fruit picked from the trees in local orchards - including the owners’ backyard. 

Ready to Discover Craft Cider for Yourself? 

Come visit our Taproom and enjoy gluten-free, mouth-watering food and beverages you’ll never forget! Plus, you’ll find Ciderworks menu loaded with unique, 100% gluten-free food choices - all made by hand using the highest quality, farm-to-table ingredients.

Head to Ciderworks@Story Tavern and try some of our delicious flavors today! We’re located next to Story Tavern at 150 S San Fernando Blvd. in downtown Burbank.

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