by Dan Clarke
Years ago a friend warned me about hard ciders. “Avoid scrumpy,” Dick said when I was about to depart for my first trip to Britain in the winter of 1973. He made it sound as risky a practice as drinking too many shots of Tequila in a border town cantina My mentor was a teammate on the Captiol Rugby Club. He'd grown up in Cardiff and had been a London policeman as a younger man. I figured he'd had experience with the abuse of this beverage on several levels.
Decades later, a Scottish friend used to integrate a few ciders into his beer consumption. Pat didn't seem particularly the worse for those afternoon ciders, so I tried one. It tasted pretty good and didn't leave any ill effects. Maybe the dangers were overstated. More recently I've been frequenting a pub that has only a beer and wine license. On a warm day when no gin & tonic was available, I discovered Two Rivers, a Sacramento company which makes ciders from other fruits, as well as apples. They're delightful—bracing and refreshing with decidedly adult flavors.
So I'm somewhat of a convert and was intrigued to see the Spring/Summer issue of Cidercraft, the initial effort of what's to become twice-yearly magazine devoted to North American ciders. It's a product of Seattle-based Sip Publishing, which also does a quarterly on beverages and travel in the Northwest. Cider isn't beer, but it seems a close cousin. The maazine's editorial holds interest for a cider novice like me and likely would be even more intriguing to craft beer aficionados. The debut issue of Cidercraft is a first-class effort. In addition to the print edition, there is an online version. Further information can be found at www.cidercraftmag.com.