November 29, 2003

Paradise Blogging

In Kauai'i - Jen and I are traveling with my Mom and Dad - today we are scheduled to take a helicopter flight over the Na Pali'i coastline. Should be fun!

Couting down the days until our flight to Seattle though - not fun but looking forward to getting back to work on all the projects…

See you in a few days
Dave

Posted by DaveH at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2003

Few entries until December 2nd.

Entries on this blog will be few and far-between from now through December 2nd.

I will be onboard a ship all day tomorrow doing some electronics and then we are heading up to our property this weekend.

This sunday, we will be flying off to the island of Kauai'i with my Mom and Dad for a Thanksgiving holiday.

Have the best of holidays all of you and see you upon our return!

Dave

Posted by DaveH at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

CAMRA web site

Here is the link to the U.K. site CAMRA
This is the CAMpaign for Real Ale

They also have interest in preserving traditional Cider - the web page for that is here with links to National Cider & Perry Month as well as a good description of the difference between 'keg' cider and real cider.

Black Mountain will be kegging our ciders so we can get them into various bars and restaurants and bottling for sales to markets but we will be adhearing to the basic principles of farm cider.
No Adjuncts, Pure Organic Apple Juice. We will culture our Yeast but they will be cultures of local Wild Yeasts and not some generic Champagne yeast…

Posted by DaveH at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

NY Times story on Cider Day

this is from the NY Times

THE second-floor chapel of the old Brick Meetinghouse in this Berkshire mountain town was standing room only. Simple white pews spilled over with hard cider enthusiasts, amateur fermenters and fall-color weekenders who found their way here earlier this month for Cider Day, the largest — and possibly only — national celebration of artisanal ciders, heirloom apples and every doughnut, juice and jelly in between. On the first weekend of November, Colrain and other towns across Franklin County held apple festivals and grafting workshops, cooking demonstrations and cider making clinics.

PLEASE NOTE:
Articles over a couple weeks old are excerpted and the full article is offered for sale on their site.
I have a copy from when it was originally published.
Click on “Continue Reading” for the full story…

THE second-floor chapel of the old Brick Meetinghouse in this Berkshire mountain town was standing room only. Simple white pews spilled over with hard cider enthusiasts, amateur fermenters and fall-color weekenders who found their way here earlier this month for Cider Day, the largest — and possibly only — national celebration of artisanal ciders, heirloom apples and every doughnut, juice and jelly in between. On the first weekend of November, Colrain and other towns across Franklin County held apple festivals and grafting workshops, cooking demonstrations and cider making clinics.

In the Colrain church, volunteers patrolled the aisles, pouring generous samples of hard cider, while six cider makers sat at folding tables under the altar, explaining production methods and gently sparring over issues of pest management and sulfite use.

The ciders —- sparkling and still, sweet to bone dry, all less than 10 percent alcohol —- won’t be found in supermarket beer sections. Part of a renaissance of cider making over the past decade, they are complex blends and varietals made in the styles of northwestern France, western England and Colonial America.

Cider Day was founded nine years ago by Terry and Judith Maloney, who helped lead the revival in 1984 when they started West County Cider. They produced 300 cases their first year; this fall they expect to make 2,100. They still ferment cider in their basement, crammed now with giant stainless steel fermentation tanks, which look like wayward props from the set of “Lost in Space.”

Hard cider, nearly eradicated by Prohibition, showed signs of a comeback 20 years ago on the heels of the microbrewing movement. Like many early microbrews, artisanal ciders are labors of love. Cider makers — some still holding day jobs as orchardists, emergency room physicians and cattle farmers — have tirelessly promoted their product in restaurants, liquor stores and specialty-food shops. The proselytizing has paid off, and producers are seeing a loyal (and finally expanding) customer base.

Producers have been inspired by the trend toward sustainable agriculture —- these ciders rely on fresh juice from local sources. Cider makers are constantly fighting the consumer perception that their products fall into the same category as mass-produced ciders made from the concentrated juice of nondescript apples.

“Once you taste an artisanal cider, which usually takes about a year from the time you start fermenting, versus the stuff that’s made in under a month, it’s like night and day,” said one of the panelists, Roger Mansfield, whose Traditional Company is based in Culver, Ore.

Mr. Mansfield and his Cider Day colleagues have different solutions to the perception problem. Mr. Mansfield calls cider the other white wine. Flag Hill Farms in Vershire, Vt., uses the slogan “Cyder with a `Y.’ ” The spelling of Furnace Brook Winery’s barrel-aged cidre declares the drink’s ties to French production methods, and Rhyne Cyder in Sonoma, Calif., refers to its sparkling cider as “Champagne-lite,” promoting its low alcohol content.

“It is not simply alcoholic fruit juice, but it’s not wine either,” said Charles McGonegal of AEppel Treow Winery in Burlington, Wis., which uses the labor-intensive Champagne method to produce cider. “It has its own tartness and tannin profile that sets it apart.”

Most ciders retail for under $10, but Matt Wilson, the fine- and rare-wine specialist at Chelsea Wine Vault in Manhattan, made cider history by charging $24.99 for Farnum Hill’s 2001 varietal reserve, Kingston Black. “People love the idea that it’s dry and palate-cleansing,” Mr. Wilson said. “A lot of people drink it with sushi. I like it with simple stuff like roast chicken or turkey.”

No one expects hard cider to regain the prominence it held centuries ago when taverns and families made their own and children were given a weakened version called ciderkin. Hard cider constitutes only one-tenth of a percent of the alcoholic beverage market in the United States, according to Impact Databank, an industry publication. Most producers are not set up to navigate the complexities of interstate alcohol distribution laws, and so, to cider enthusiasts’ consternation and travelers’ delight, artisanal ciders are likely to remain treasures to be experienced in situ.

“There’s a lot of potential for growth, but it’s really one person at a time” said Ben Watson, the author of “Cider, Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own” (Countryman, 2003).

Steve Wood, from Farnum Hill Ciders in Lebanon, N.H., agreed.

“We practically have to kneel on people’s chests and pry open their mouths to get them to drink this stuff,” Mr. Wood said. “And then they generally like it.”

Posted by DaveH at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

great profile of a Cider Maker

in the Rocky Mountain News

Dunn was one of the judges at the Cider Tasting dinner we went to and we had the privilage of sitting at a table with him and Peter Mitchell. Great people!

Cider-Man, Cider-Man …

He does whatever an apple can - using his press in Hygiene

By Todd Neff, Daily Camera - October 29, 2003

HYGIENE - When chlorophyll drains from leaves and branches bow with the pull of fattening apples, Richard Dunn knows it's high season for cider.

Dunn, 54, is a computer scientist who programs printer software for a living. He also nurtures a 70-tree apple grove he began planting in 1996 on a 22-acre farm near Hygiene, about 45 miles northwest of Denver.

bq. He owns a cider press and, about twice a week, sends out a free e-mail newsletter, Cider Digest, to about 600 cider enthusiasts around the world.

Dunn will be the first to say his cider isn't for everyone. He likes the fresh-pressed variety as much as the next guy, but his passion is the fermented variety.

“The term 'hard cider' is a holdover from Prohibition,” he said. “In England, it's just called cider.”

That's what he calls it, too. By extension, what most people call “apple cider,” Dunn calls “juice.” At its best, Dunn said cider - his kind of cider - is a clear, not highly carbonated, yellow-tinged drink. More like wine than beer, it has a smoky, dry flavor and packs about 7 percent alcohol.

Dunn makes cider because the mass-market stuff is, as he calls it, “alco-pop” - more wine cooler than wine.

Not much quality cider is available in Colorado, he said. If traveling to the Pacific Northwest, he recommends watching for White Oak, Westcott Bay, Ford Farms and Irvine's. In New England, West County and Farnum Hill are good choices. Locally, CooperSmith's Pub and Brewery in Fort Collins makes a pretty good cider in the fall most years, he said.

Dunn evolved into a cider connoisseur. He began brewing beer at home in the late 1970s. When microbrewing took off, he switched to mead, or honey wine, because he couldn't find that in stores. He still brews mead alongside his cider.

By the early 1990s, he had taken over the free e-mail newsletter, Mead Lover's Digest, which now has about 1,200 subscribers. Like Cider Digest, it's a modified e-mail message board. Dunn receives questions and answers from subscribers, filters out spam, batches several postings together every two to three days, and sends it off.

The postings are remarkably thoughtful and intelligent. A September issue of Mead Lover's Digest touched on everything from slow fermentation of the agave plant to brewing tej, which was popular among ancient Ethiopians. There are postings that muse about the development of alcoholic beverages in the pre-European Americas.

Dunn discovered cider on a trip to his wife's native England in 1994. He was, by his account, “all fired up about cider,” and ended up taking over Cider Digest.

As far as his own cider production, Dunn's said he makes about 50 gallons in a good year, though the lingering effects of the drought could reduce that this year.

Posted by DaveH at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2003

Meeting with Lawyers

Spent this afternoon talking with a Law firm about getting the corporation set up plus the permits for State and Federal production.

Good people but we are checking a couple others first.

Posted by DaveH at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

Tanks a Million (well 2,000 anyway)

I was at the auction of the Seattle (Greenlake) Vitamilk Dairy and picked up a gorgeous 2,000 gallon food-grade stainless steel tank. This will be the primary fermentation vessel for our cider production.

Here it is - it's the first one of the three. (the prettiest)

tank.jpg

We should have it up at the Cidery sometime in early December.
Pictures will follow…

Posted by DaveH at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Major Changes to the website

I had been working with some new software for editing a “WebLog” or 'blog'.
These are a sort of a daily diary of news and events.

I realised that the BlackMountainCider website would be best served by this.
I am in the process of converting the site over to MoveableType.
The page will be very rough for the next few days but please bear with us — the end result should be very nice…

Dave

Posted by DaveH at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2003

Cider Tasting dinner

Jen and I had a wonderful time November 8th at a Cider Judging dinner.

Here is the press release:

NORTHWEST CIDER SOCIETY

For Immediate Release

Seattle, November 8, 2003: The Northwest Cider Society has recognized six American and Canadian cidermakers as award winners in its First North American Cider Competition.

The competition was the first of its kind in North America, treating cider as a distinct category, judged by cider specialists, rather than an extension of a beer or wine competition. All of the winners are small “artisan” cideries, who produce their ciders from fresh fruit. The judges tasted a total of 30 ciders made by producers across the United States and Canada. The award winners include:

Gold Medals:
Merridale Traditional Cider, made by Merridale Ciderworks of Cobble Hill British Columbia, Canada
Oliver Beanblossom Hard Cider made by Oliver Winery of Bloomington, Indiana Westcott Bay Vintage Cider, made by Westcott Bay Orchards of Friday Harbor, Washington

Silver Medal:
White Oak Traditional English Style Cider, made by White Oak Cider of Newberg, Oregon

Bronze Medal:
Rhyne French Style Sparkling Hard Cyder, made by Rhyne Cyder of Sonoma, California

Certificates of Commendation:
Irvine's Vintage Blend, made by Irvine's Vintage Cider made by Irvine's Vintage Cider of Vashon, Washington
Merridale Cidre Normandie, made by Merridale Ciderworks of Cobble Hill, British Columbia, Canada
Merridale Cyser Cider, made by Merridale Ciderworks of Cobble Hill, British Columbia, Canada

The competition's judges were Peter Mitchell of Worcester, England, a cider production consultant and trainer; Dick Dunn of Hygiene, Colorado, an amateur cidermaker and organizer of the international “Cider Digest” online community; and Jon Rowley of Seattle, a food and beverage consultant.

Posted by DaveH at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)