Something Brewing at the Merc

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It should come as no surprise that Annie Proulx, writer of stylish, spare fiction, resident of Wyoming and Newfoundland, should have what appear to be ruggedly individualistic, survivalist tendencies, exhibited in a less-discussed side of her oeuvre (co-written) that includes such titles as Gardener’s Journal and Record Book, Gourmet Gardener : Growing Choice Fruits and Vegetables With Spectacular Result, Great Grapes! Grow the Best Ever, Plan and Make Your Own Fences & Gates, Walkways, Walls & Drives, and, to my delight Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider. I can only speak to the last, having of late taken up home brewing and most recently, setting out to brew a batch of cider, having discovered that this book is more than just practical advice; it’s a delight to read. If Making, Using, and Enjoying Sweet and Hard Cider is any indicator, these are the sort of books you want on the shelf in your backyard fallout shelter. Proulx and co-author Lew Nichols cover every aspect of cider production, from the cultivation of your apple orchard, to constructing a press, to brewing cider in the French, English, and North American traditions. Information ranges from the esoteric (alchemical symbols) to the illegal (one chapter ornately details the construction and operation of a stovetop still, after warning the potential moonshiner that the practice is from a safety and legal standpoint inadvisable), to making applejack, a concentrated cider derivative (my grandfather made applejack, lovingly rolling the bottles in towels and placing them behind the steam radiator where, in the event of an explosion, chain reactions sometimes decimated his supply, not to mention woke the neighbors.)

Thus inspired, I have embarked on brewing a batch of cider to celebrate this Saturday’s Niehoff lecture featuring Annie Proulx. I think I will call it “Proulxx Cider” . Armed with five gallons of unpreserved cider and some high-quality Champagne yeast, I have started a batch of cider. Click here to see video of actual CO2 escaping through the air trap during the first stage of fermentation.

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The cider “rests”, is boiled (to kill harmful bacteria and wild yeasts).

Absolute cleanliness is paramount.

-Ed Scripsi

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Published in: on October 24, 2006 at 4:38 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] with which to be reckoned? Maybe it was Nemo Wolfe’s thoughtful musings on streetcars. Or Ed Scripsi writing about brewing cider. Or, maybe my post on how annoying it is when you get chili on your […]


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