Hard Apple Cider Making Made Easy

Hard Apple Cider Making Workshop ~ Drink the Results!

SpitJack, a retailer of specialty cooking equipment in Shrewsbury, MA is partnering with Deja Brew, Armsby Abbey, and Julio’s Liquors to offer a hard apple cider making workshop starting on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. at Deja Brew in Shrewsbury. In this unique hands-on experience, participants will be learning how to craft a delicious traditional light alcoholic beverage while sampling some contemporary ciders and complimentary food and breads. Professional and amateur cider makers will demonstrate and supervise the creation of four different varieties of all-natural hard cider using local heritage apples. The workshop will be a two part event:


Part 1 – Monday, Nov. 2 (cider making overview, procedure, and setting the fermentation)
Part 2 – Tuesday, Dec. 8 (bottling, labeling, testing, and tasting. Check the Web page for details and updates.)

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Deja Brew, 510B Boston Turnpike Road, Shrewsbury, Mass.

Cost: $45 (includes six bottles of finished cider, complimentary food from Armsby Abbey)

Contact: Bruce Frankel, Spitjack, 508-425-3261

Speakers and Sponsors:
Ray Schavone ~ Deja Brew (the cider making process)
Bruce Frankel ~ SpitJack (home cider making equipment)
Armsby Abbey (serving hard cider served at the bar and restaurant, Worcester)
Julio’s Liquors (large selection of hard cider retail sales, Westborough)

First, a special blend of apples will be collected and pressed at a local orchard. Four different styles of cider will then be created (from dry/still, to sweet and sparkling) that reflect the most popular styles of ciders available at wine stores and restaurants. Five weeks later, participants will return to bottle the results and take home six full bottles of finished product. At the workshop, examples of commercial hard cider and a special menu of complimentary New England food will be tasted.

This is the best time of the year to make cider and this workshop is a great opportunity to learn how and have a lot fun while doing it. Call 508-425-3261 or reserve online at Spitjack . Only 30 seats are available so reserve now!

Hard Apple Cider ~ A Background and Overview

Hard apple cider is a great New England tradition. Before prohibition, more cider was drunk here than any other alcoholic beverage. Our region has the ideal climate for growing apples and although traditional “New England Cider” is legendary, modern local cider makers are perfecting a new style of hard cider that is not only the finest in America, but rivals the best brands of England and France.

Making hard apple cider is a very similar process to that of making wine. A fruit is crushed and the juice is then extracted and fermented under careful watch until ready to be bottled. There are many variations and techniques that can greatly affect the outcome and that is where the skill and experience of the cider maker come into play.

First, the proper apples must be chosen. Unfortunately, most of the apples we see at the store and even the farm stands are grown and sold for eating or making sweet (non-alcoholic) cider, not for fermenting into hard cider. Special heritage varieties of apples (Kingston Black, Tremletts Bitter, Roxbury Russet) had to be replanted locally before an authentic product could be created. While this is still a work in progress (it takes at least five years for new apple trees to start bearing fruit), efforts from the West County Winery and others are yielding astounding results.

While most of us don’t have access to resources necessary to create a world-class beverage, it is possible, with a little effort and patience, to make an excellent hard cider at home. The book Sweet & Hard Cider is a fantastic resource and with a little persistence, you will be able to find some of the better cider making apples at local orchards. With a modest investment in equipment, ingredients and time, you will impress family and friends while helping to preserve and enjoy a New England tradition.

Spitjack was founded by Bruce Frankel, a former chef/restaurateur in 2004. Online at Spitjack.com and with a retail showroom in Shrewsbury, Mass., SpitJack specializes in selling cooking tools for men. Starting with the simple concept of cooking in an indoor fireplace, the product line has grown to include everything from hearth gloves and wood splitting machines to 700 lb. smokers and whole hog rotisseries. Spitjack provides products, information, discussion, and just about anything a man might need to express himself as a cook.