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Cider, Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own (Second Edition) Hardcover – October 6, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Countryman Press; Second Edition edition (October 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881508195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881508192
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Slack-My-Girdle. Never has a fruit been better named. It's an apple, in this case, favored in Devonshire, England, by apple cider makers. A few pints of their good cider and you may want to slack your girdle, too. Crack the cover of Ben Watson's Cider, Hard and Sweet and you may find yourself planting apple trees against the day you too can fill your basement with jugs of fermenting apple juice. You would be following in a long, long tradition.

Watson's history of cider starts with the apple itself in the Tien-Shan mountains of far off Kazakstan. Alma-Ata, formerly the Kazak capital, translates as "father of apples." There have been a number of apple-centric books published of late, all of them echoing similar historic details. Watson distinguishes himself by focusing on the place of cider--the alcoholic beverage--in human history, particularly American history. "In 1726," the author tells us, "it was reported that a single village near Boston, consisting of about 40 families, put up nearly 10,000 barrels of cider. One historian stated that in the year 1767 a per capita average of 1.14 barrels of cider were consumed in Massachusetts." That'd be 35 gallons per person!

The arrival of breweries and brewers with German and eastern European immigration in the late 1800s, the codling moth, the exodus from farm to city of the majority American population, Prohibition, bad winters--all these factors and more led to the decline of cider making in America. A few farmers continued in the tradition; everyone else made and sold apple juice and called it cider. The tradition hung on in Britain and Europe, however, and new American cider makers are taking advantage of this living body of knowledge, planting European cider apples and trying some of the old varieties still available in this country. A book such as Cider will encourage the movement.

Watson gives clear instructions to get the cider enthusiast started, and then fills in with the kind of details that push the beginner deeper into the subject, deeper into the skills and legacy. A valuable resource for anyone interested in giving cider making a go, Cider, Hard and Sweet will be just as useful to anyone who has discovered the delicious world of cider, and wants to know more. --Schuyler Ingle --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

A fascinating read, packed with minutiae on apples in history, science, the brewery, and the kitchen. -- Wine & Spirits

A thoughtful historic review...a clear, friendly handbook for the fermentation, evaluation, and appreciation of pure cider. -- Frank Browning, author of Apples

Fascinating and practical. -- People magazine

The extensive research from classic and modern sources makes this an informative and invaluable book for novice and experienced cidermakers. -- Paul Correnty, author of The Art of Cidermaking --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By T. Harty on October 13, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As far as selecting apples, and actually creating cider from them, this book is abount as detailed as it gets. The tables in in that describe US and EU apple types as well as their traits is worth the price alone.

However, if you're looking to make hard (alcoholic) cider the book only takes you half way. Anyone looking to do hard cider should buy a seperate homebrew book that goes into detail about the brew process. Combine it with the information from this book and you'll have some great hard cider.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James R. Saker on May 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many of the books on cider making skim over the selection of apples, including English bittersweet and bittersharp varieties that are critical for outstanding cider production. Not Watson in this excellent book.
Several great lists of varieties and a good description of the cider apple classification methods is represented more clearly than I've found elsewhere.
A bit more clarification could have been given to the production process, as well as pressing details, but overall the book has been my favorite on the topic.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Cornett on August 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be a very entertaining and fact-filled introduction to Cider making (and drinking). I am an experienced home brewer, and the information contained in this book was sufficient to "get me started" with brewing cider. However, I think that it is NOT sufficient if you have little or no background in brewing. That being said, if you are looking for a book about brewing cider, this would make an excellent choice if you also buy a beginner-level book about homebrewing as a companion.

And if you are just interested in apples, cider enjoyment, and a good dose of apple history, this is definitely a well-written and enjoyable book.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Michael Phillips on December 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ben Watson joins the good fight with this evocative call for real cider. Quality should matter in our lives. This definitive guide to cidermaking touches all the bases, from fascinating lore to the nitty-gritty details of sqeezing good juice and fermenting it to perfection. The 'down on the farm' photograph on the back cover of the book (circa 1900) clearly says it all: people who enjoy good cider know how to have fun in life! Lift up your own cup and enjoy "Cider, Hard and Sweet."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matthew J. Bartlett on March 20, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been making hard cider for a couple years now, this book helped me understand how to make tweaks to it and how to recognize what causes certain tastes. It also goes over additives to put in the cider to give it different tastes. The book gives a beginers outlook on making cider in general, however as far as basics to hard cider this book is very general. All and all a good read, and well worth it's money
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scott Smith on April 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful, inspiring book like few I have read recently. It opens a huge world that I never imagined existed. Cider isn't just the jugs in the grocery store and the 6-pack in the liquor store, its an important part of human and American history. The author has put a lot of time in researching this book, and is thick with fascinating information such as cider-only apple varieties, cider tasting terms, French vs English cider, etc etc etc.
The book does describe cider making, but that is not the main focus of the book. Still, any self-respecting cider maker should have a copy.
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