This page is dedicated to resources used in cider-making, mead-making, home brewing, and more. As I discover and utilize new resources along these lines, I will be sharing them with you here.
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Home brewing/cider-making/mead-making/wine-making supplies:
More Beer–a one-stop shop for home production of beer, wine, mead, and more; also, has free shipping over $59 in most situations. If you’re starting from scratch, a beer kit plus a few extras will get you started on cider or mead. Look for posts from me on this, or use the contact form on the About page to ask me questions.
More Wine–same folks as More Beer, but this is their wine-centric page, which is a bit quicker to navigate if you’re looking for wine…stuff. Then again, there’s a search box on either page, so…yeah. But, you know, choice is good.
Midwest Supplies–home brewing and wine-making supplies, equipment, and books. They offer some fairly advanced wine-making equipment such as pH and SO2 meters that are useful in cider-making.
Northern Brewer–a great source for home brewing and wine-making kits, ingredients, and information. They also founded BrewingTV, which has some great brewing tutorials and product demonstrations…there are even some cider and mead videos there if you dig a bit.
Presses and Grinders:
Happy Valley Cider Presses–purveyor of big, traditional cider presses and grinders. Big, heavy, not cheap, but authentic and effective. I use one of these for my home cidermaking and it’s a lot of fun to use on a hobby scale.
Oesco, Inc–electric apple grinders and other orchard-related equipment.
Unfortunately, this can be a tough area these days–bee population die off from Colony Collapse Disorder is rampant, and supplies of quality, locally-produced honey are hard to come by. As I find good, ethical suppliers (i.e., those who don’t cut their honey with corn syrup like many of the imported-from-China honeys are), I’ll be sure to include them here.
Madhava Sweeteners–based out of Colorado, they have various varieties of honey, to include wildflower and clover (single-source honeys like clover tend to be a bit more consistent in terms of mead-making, but are harder to find).
Northern Brewer–decent, single-varietal and other honeys, in sizes up to 12lbs. I’ve had good results with their Orange Blossom honey.
Beeyond The Hive / Colorado Honey Company–retail and bulk honey. My favorite, local Colorado supplier–Jeff at Colorado Honey Company is very knowledgeable and has found me some outstanding Colorado clover honey.
Cummins Nursery–cider apple trees are hard to find; Cummins has the best selection I’ve seen anywhere and some of the best pricing to boot. Don’t let the rudimentary website scare you–these guys know what they’re doing. Order in fall for Spring delivery…don’t wait until Winter like I did or you’ll find they’ve sold out of a lot of the special varieties.
Treco–one of the largest producers of apple rootstocks in the country–grows something like 50% of all U.S. apple rootstocks. Great selection of rootstock varieties at low prices–make sure you order early (e.g., in the fall) for Spring delivery of rootstocks, as they tend to sell out. Also, they sell in bundles of 100, so go in with a friend (or 10) on an order. Smaller quantities of rootstock may be available at other nurseries, many of whom buy theirs from Treco.
Raintree Nursery–good source for small quantities of rare varieties as well as small quantities of rootstocks. Expensive, so I don’t recommended them for large quantities.
Fungi Perfecti–how can you not want to check out a place with a name like this? In terms of orcharding, the connection is vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas (VAM) gel, an inoculation of helpful fungi spores which form symbiotic relationships with the roots that help roots grow and expand their water uptake capabilities through their interconnection with this fascinating, fun guy…har, har.
Stark Brothers Nursery–a 200 year-old nursery in MO responsible for the reign of the Red Delicious apple. Mostly table-fruit-oriented, but with some heirlooms here and there.
A.M. Leonard–horticultural supplier; carries a full line of nursery equipment and supplies.
Penn State Orchard Guide–a free, extensive tree fruit production guide by Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
USDA Organic Producer’s Guide–essential, though not comprehensive, information you need to know if you are going to pursue organic certification for your orchard.
Propagation Of Plants By Grafting And Budding–aka, Pacific Northwest Extension publication PNW496…because that’s so much easier to remember. Great overview of grafting techniques applicable to apple and pear propagation. Some very interesting examples of bridge and approach grafting as well…for example, who wouldn’t want to graft a potato and tomato together so that the resulting plant produced both fruit and tubers?
More Coffee. Do you brew/make mead, cider, or wine during the day? In the morning? You do? Without coffee? How? Fuel your production day with coffee. For hard core mode, roast your own coffee, brew and press it, while simultaneously making your craft beverage of choice. Then, tell me all about it and I’ll share your awesomeness (or embarrassing failure–hey, we all have one or two) on the blog.
Informational Web Sites:
The Real Cider and Perry Page–lots of information about cider and perry. UK-based and has some great history around apple growing and use in the UK. The site design might make you cry a little inside, but don’t let that stop you–there’s CONTENT to be had here!
U.S. Cider Association–the new cider producer organization. Evidence that the industry is beginning to mature in the U.S. Exciting times!
Rocky Mountain Cider Association–the Rocky Mountain Region’s Version of the above.
Orange Pippin–comprehensive information on numerous apple varieties.
Meadmakr–a new site focused on meadmaking and all things mead. They’re starting up a podcast as well (first mead podcast that I’m aware of)!
Winemaker’s Academy–winemaking instruction, recipes, podcasts, and more. Includes many discussions of topics that overlap with cider and mead (e.g., the use of sulfites and potassium sorbate).
Micro Brewr–podcast centered on microbrewery startups, with some cider-related episodes.
The Cider Subreddit–page for sharing cidermaking experiences, asking questions, etc.
Other Cider Blogs:
Cider Guide–blog, reviews, books, events, and other things hard cider and perry by Eric West, the organizer of the GLINTCAP competition as well as interim directer of the US Association of Cider Makers’ Cider Certification Program.
Along Came A Cider–prolific cider reviewer; great, detailed reviews of cider and writeups of events, including USACM’s Cidercon.
Cider Says–cider reviews and venue writeups with a Pacific Northwest emphasis.
Great Lakes International Cider And Perry Competition (GLINTCAP)– the biggest (only?) annual U.S. competition for cider and perry only, held by the Great Lakes Cider and Perry Association, which has some connections with BJCP, though it’s a separate organization.
Cider Summit Chicago–summit for cider makers and enthusiasts alike. Cider tastings and networking abound here. Looks like the Cider Summit organization that runs the Chicago summit also puts on Cider Summit Portland and Cider Summit Seattle.
Lakewood Cider Days–Oct 5th/6th, Lakewood, Colorado. Apparently, CO has a cider festival. I must admit that I only just learned about this, but it looks interesting and I’ll try to make it there and report back to you.
Colorado Hard Cider Festival–two years running, in Paonia, CO in early November. Showcases Colorado cideries.
Orpheus Cup Mead Fest (CO)–a BJCP-sanctioned mead competition, with meaderies in attendance from the Colorado area. A very fun event in a nice venue–if you’ll be in the Denver area in October, look into it. My 2014 Black Currant Mead, ‘Berry and Blaze’, took 3rd in the melomel competition here in 2014.
Mazer Cup–the biggest mead-only, BJCP-sanctioned mead competition in the U.S, held in March in Colorado.
Blue Mountain Cider Company–Washington state-based cidery that produces some good dry and Winesap-based ciders.
Colorado Cider Company–hard cider, hopped hard cider, and perry, distributed in Colorado and served out of a tasting room in Denver.
Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar–a tap house in Fort Collins, Colorado which specializes in serving hard ciders from around the country and food that pairs with it. Its in the early stages of producing its own hard cider.
Stem Ciders–new cidery near Coors Field in Denver; opened Jan 2014. They specialize in dry, tart ciders as well as barrel aging–their current lineup features a cider aged in Bourbon barrels and another in Wine (Zin) barrels.
Compass Cider–new cidery in Fort Collins on North College. Various ciders under the Blossomwood and Compass labels, as well as food specifically designed for pairing with cider.
Wild Cider–cidery in Firestone, Colorado. Distributes in CO and elsewhere; has a number of ciders with other fruits (e.g., berries, pineapple) added.
Big B’s–cidery in Hotchkiss, CO
Snowcapped Cider–cidery in Cedaredge, CO
YaYa Farm and Orchard–a you-pick-it operation between Longmont, CO and Lyons, CO. Primarily focused on table apples in small quantities, plus some sweets like apple pie and apple cider donuts (these latter are not to be missed–I speak from experience). Production is currently too small-scale to reliably produce enough surplus for cider-makers.
Masonville Orchards–orchards based in Ault, CO with representation at various farmers markets. Another potential supplier of cider apples for me in 2013; I’ll keep you posted on how this goes. Featured in the Denver Post recently.
Ela Family Farms–organic orchard and farm in Hotchkiss, CO. Some representation on the front range (e.g., Longmont farmer’s market), and while they focus on table apples such as gala, may have some cider apple availability–as well as ‘seconds’, or apples perfectly suitable for cider but not as symmetrical as desired for the table–as well.
Big B’s Fabulous Juices–another Hotchkiss producer of cider and now, apparently, hard apple cider (I’ll have to explore this more…until recently they didn’t make hard cider to my knowledge). Their sweet apple cider comes out in the fall and can be found briefly in such places as Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage, and it is great for making hard cider (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) straight from the jug without having to juice and press the stuff.
Other Colorado Resources:
For those of you in my stomping grounds, congratulations: you live in a great place on the leading edge of the craft beverage world. For those of you who find yourselves in town at some point, send me a note via the contact page–I’d be happy to meet you and show you around.
Longmont Liquors–1st/main/303-678-7084. Owned by Chris McGilvray, who bought the place recently and made some great changes. At current writing, sells Crispin and Angry Orchard hard ciders. Longmont’s only liquor store that delivers (through Longmont Delivery). Who needs beverages delivered? You, if you’re thirsty and in the midst of home brewing!
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