Cider

I'm visiting Michigan right now, and there's a decent selection of apples in this portion of the state. Consequently, we've had the opportunity to do a couple of tastings from local apple cider producers. Tandem cider is a small producer with an enthusiastic brewer. Is "brewer" the right word? In any case, Tandem makes an English-style cider, which allows most of the sugar to be turned into alcohol. This makes for a complex and often subtle product. Two of their ciders are effectively without any noticable carbonation. It's not at all what one would expect if one has only had, for example, Woodchuck as their only cider experience. Indeed, before a tasting, they are sure to ask if you've had apple cider before, to gauge how shocked you'll be when you taste. If you go to Leelanau, please do go by. Just look for the building with the Tandem bicycle as a sign.

Making your own hard cider

There's this site called instructables. Its purpose in life is to have step-by-step instructions of doing just about everything, all generated by users, with the ability to comment and so on. A lot of these projects are electronics, or carpentry, or steampunk, or what-have-you. Cool stuff, but not useful for thefoodgeek.com. However, instructables recently held the Hungry Scientist Contest intending, I think, to give me all sorts of crazy things to link to whenever I'm feeling lazy. In this case, they gave me one of the front runners, Home Brew Hard Cider from Scratch. This takes about 20lbs of apples and turns it into fizzy, tasty, alcoholic cider. There's juicing, there's pasteurization, there's brewer's yeast, there's special valves to keep the wrong critters from colonizing your cider. It's got it all. If you don't have a juicer, you could do like JohnnyT and build your own cider press from things you have laying about. I'm not sure all of those materials are food safe, but people are adventurous.