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A must-have guide to the booming world of cider—what to drink, where it comes from, and where it’s heading—by pioneering cider experts Craig Cavallo and Dan Pucci, “the hype-man cider is lucky to have” (Eater) Cider today runs the gamut from sweet to dry, smooth to funky, made from apples but also from other fruits—and even hopped like beer. In American Cider, aficionados D A must-have guide to the booming world of cider—what to drink, where it comes from, and where it’s heading—by pioneering cider experts Craig Cavallo and Dan Pucci, “the hype-man cider is lucky to have” (Eater) Cider today runs the gamut from sweet to dry, smooth to funky, made from apples but also from other fruits—and even hopped like beer. In American Cider, aficionados Dan Pucci and Craig Cavallo give a new wave of consumers the tools to taste, talk about, and choose their ciders, along with stories of the many local heroes saving apple culture and producing new varieties. Like wine made from well-known grapes, ciders differ based on the apples they’re made from and where and how those apples were grown. Combining the tasting tools of wine and beer, the authors illuminate the possibilities of this light, flavorful, naturally gluten-free beverage. And cider is more than just its taste—it’s also historical, as the nation’s first popular alcoholic beverage, made from apples brought across the Atlantic from England. Pucci and Cavallo use a region-by-region approach to illustrate how cider and the apples that make it came to be, from the well-known tale of Johnny Appleseed—which isn’t quite what we thought—to the more surprising effects of industrial progress and government policy. American Cider is a guide to enjoying cider, but even more so, it is a guide to being part of a community of consumers, farmers, and fermenters making the nation’s oldest beverage its newest must-try drink.


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A must-have guide to the booming world of cider—what to drink, where it comes from, and where it’s heading—by pioneering cider experts Craig Cavallo and Dan Pucci, “the hype-man cider is lucky to have” (Eater) Cider today runs the gamut from sweet to dry, smooth to funky, made from apples but also from other fruits—and even hopped like beer. In American Cider, aficionados D A must-have guide to the booming world of cider—what to drink, where it comes from, and where it’s heading—by pioneering cider experts Craig Cavallo and Dan Pucci, “the hype-man cider is lucky to have” (Eater) Cider today runs the gamut from sweet to dry, smooth to funky, made from apples but also from other fruits—and even hopped like beer. In American Cider, aficionados Dan Pucci and Craig Cavallo give a new wave of consumers the tools to taste, talk about, and choose their ciders, along with stories of the many local heroes saving apple culture and producing new varieties. Like wine made from well-known grapes, ciders differ based on the apples they’re made from and where and how those apples were grown. Combining the tasting tools of wine and beer, the authors illuminate the possibilities of this light, flavorful, naturally gluten-free beverage. And cider is more than just its taste—it’s also historical, as the nation’s first popular alcoholic beverage, made from apples brought across the Atlantic from England. Pucci and Cavallo use a region-by-region approach to illustrate how cider and the apples that make it came to be, from the well-known tale of Johnny Appleseed—which isn’t quite what we thought—to the more surprising effects of industrial progress and government policy. American Cider is a guide to enjoying cider, but even more so, it is a guide to being part of a community of consumers, farmers, and fermenters making the nation’s oldest beverage its newest must-try drink.

30 review for American Cider: A Modern Guide to a Historic Beverage

  1. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley. American Cider sets about--and succeeds--with two major goals. First of all, it essentially lays out American history, region by region, by following the progression of apple trees, and by extension, the brewing of cider. It doesn't ignore the fact that this is also a story of colonialism. White settlers brought their seeds and scions, and the planting of apple trees was among the first things done when establishing households in what was onc I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley. American Cider sets about--and succeeds--with two major goals. First of all, it essentially lays out American history, region by region, by following the progression of apple trees, and by extension, the brewing of cider. It doesn't ignore the fact that this is also a story of colonialism. White settlers brought their seeds and scions, and the planting of apple trees was among the first things done when establishing households in what was once Native American land. Likewise, when tribes were forced from their homelands and onto reservations, the destruction of their buildings and apple trees was included in that effort. Props to the authors for being up-front about that aspect of apples--that honesty ads a lot to the book, and prevents it from feeling like a lengthy propaganda piece on the awesomeness of apples... ...Though let us not deny, apples are indeed awesome. The authors' passion and knowledge of their subject matter also comes through, loud and clear. This isn't a book for the person vaguely-interested in apples and cider, though it is an engaging read all the way through. This is a book for the foodies, for the people who really love cider and wants to understand it more, and those who are interested in starting their own cidery. On that note, the book's second major emphasis in in describing and exploring up-and-coming cideries across the country. Wow, did these sections make me want to go on a road trip and try everything that was out there. The information is pretty detailed. They lay out the geography and climate and how that impacts apples, what has been grown in the past, what grows now, and various other details about varying business operations. It definitely inspired me to buy cider at Trader Joe's this week when I recognized a name from this book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys American cider and wants to understand the history, present, and future trajectory of the beverage. (As for me, I hope that trajectory means it is pouring straight down my gullet.)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    *This book was received as an Advanced Reviewer's Copy from NetGalley. Ok, so, I'm mildly obsessed with cider. Every time I see a new variety or flavor at the supermarket, I have to get it to try. Maybe it's because I don't like beer or wine, and this is what's left for me, maybe it's because it's so dang delicious. Whatever reason, cider rules, who wouldn't want to read a book on it? Pucci and Cavallo set out to give a definitive guide on cider in America. Both it's history, and the shaping of th *This book was received as an Advanced Reviewer's Copy from NetGalley. Ok, so, I'm mildly obsessed with cider. Every time I see a new variety or flavor at the supermarket, I have to get it to try. Maybe it's because I don't like beer or wine, and this is what's left for me, maybe it's because it's so dang delicious. Whatever reason, cider rules, who wouldn't want to read a book on it? Pucci and Cavallo set out to give a definitive guide on cider in America. Both it's history, and the shaping of the modern producers today and the revival of the beverage. Often associated with colonial times (Johnny Appleseed, taverns, etc.), cider nearly disappeared during Prohibition and is only recently coming back onto the stage as a sought after drink. The authors take us through this history and revival by region, ending with specific factoids about soil composite, weather, notable breweries, and other condensed information. They also have little vignettes of different things affecting cider or in cider's history through the past scattered throughout the book. I really enjoyed reading this book; in small spurts. I read the second half of the book in one sitting and I have to say that's not really the way to approach it as it can get a bit repetitive. What you want to do, is sink in and read a region at a time. Not only will this allow the distinct "flavors" of the region to show through, but it just makes it a more enjoyable reading experience. I'm not saying the book is dry, it isn't and doesn't fall prey to that as so many historical food books do, but unless you're obsessed with apples, cider-making, etc., reading in snippets just makes the book more approachable. I learned so much about apples in general (and the various varieties; look up Hidden Rose, crazy) and aspects of how different ciders are made (ice cider, what??!!). It really was an education. I also have a new list of places to try to visit to try new ciders (although I wish they would have put a full listing at the end as well instead of making me read through the chapters to find each section. The snippets of information were great as well, covering topics I hadn't really heard of before (like cider making by slaves in the American south and the disappearing food heritage and recognition there, systemic when it comes to credit for food innovation and traditions), and I think they were relevant, useful information to include. Really interesting book and thoroughly enjoyable if you read in sections. Review by M. Reynard 2020

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erich

    American Cider gives readers a snapshot of the many different cider-producing regions in the U.S. Of course, the book gives readers so much more. Not only is it a contemporary look at all of the cider regions in the country, but it’s also a history of cider in the country (with a little foray into the cider scene in England before settlers arrived). Readers also learn about the wide variety of apple types (much like the grape varieties involved in wine). In the same way that Pinot Noir does so we American Cider gives readers a snapshot of the many different cider-producing regions in the U.S. Of course, the book gives readers so much more. Not only is it a contemporary look at all of the cider regions in the country, but it’s also a history of cider in the country (with a little foray into the cider scene in England before settlers arrived). Readers also learn about the wide variety of apple types (much like the grape varieties involved in wine). In the same way that Pinot Noir does so well in the Willamette Valley, so do Kingston Black apples because of the soil and the related climate factors. Craig Cavallo is an excellent food writer with frequent contributions to Saveur. I must confess I wasn’t familiar with Dan Pucci, although apparently he is a sommelier who is particularly skilled with cider. I had no idea that tiny Clarkesville, Georgia was once a major piece of the cider puzzle in America because of Jarvis van Buren (a cousin of Martin). Unfortunately, cider suffered a deep decline during Prohibition and even into WWII due to the labor-intensive nature of orchards and costs. Cider is making a comeback in the last 20 years. The book also has a nice feature that is a sort of summary at the end of each chapter, in which the authors discuss popular apple varieties, cideries to try, etc. If a reader is interested in visiting certain regions, they may cull a list of places to visit from the summaries (and read the chapters for greater insight). The formatting of the book makes it one where the reader can pick it up at any time. Reading it chronologically isn’t necessary. One may simply turn to California and learn about the apple varieties, cideries and climate there, and then pick up on another section at a different reading. All in all, the level of detail helps American Cider stand out from other cider books. For instance, one of my favorite cider makers, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, teamed up with Stahlbush Island Farms to make their bestseller Made Marion. There are plenty of other stories like this one in the book. Cider making is so labor-intensive and costly that it requires people with a deep passion for agricultural practices.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I received an electronic ARC of this book through NetGalley for review. This is a well-written, wide-ranging look at the current state of craft cider production in the United States, divided by region. It does a good job of introducing a variety of topics relevant to both the selection and growing of apples and the process of making those apples into cider, while placing each region's cider into a historical and geographical context. This is really neat, and is pretty well-done. It makes for an e I received an electronic ARC of this book through NetGalley for review. This is a well-written, wide-ranging look at the current state of craft cider production in the United States, divided by region. It does a good job of introducing a variety of topics relevant to both the selection and growing of apples and the process of making those apples into cider, while placing each region's cider into a historical and geographical context. This is really neat, and is pretty well-done. It makes for an enjoyable, educational read. There are times that the historical context overpowers the narrative of cider production. Some parts of the book do sort of read like a high school history textbook (though a markedly readable one), and a reader with a good background in US history that touches on social and agricultural history will likely find much of it review. This isn't necessarily a bad thing--it's absolutely vital context, and important to the book's attempt to draw attention to the many contributions of people who are not of European descent to American agriculture (how well it succeeds in this particular mission is somewhat variable). I do think the book suffers a little from a lack of clear focus. Split between pop history and travel guide, the shift between a generalized historical context of cider and apples in a particular part of the United States to profiles of a handful of selected individual cider producers in the region active in the late 2010s is a little jarring, and may age the book prematurely--how many of those profiles will remain relevant to readers in five or ten years is impossible to predict. The book overall makes me more aware of the variety in the American cider industry. I was pretty ignorant of the regional variations within the US on this topic; I knew a little about apple-growing in Michigan and in parts of New England, but very little elsewhere. It's an informative read that makes me want to try more apples, regardless of whether they are in the form of cider.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    A nice guide to apples and cider in the United States. In the Finger Lakes and Wayne County, apples are king and the book contained a lot of information about apple production in the area. So good!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    To be posted to my blog at release: Nonstop Reader. American Cider is an exhaustive and information dense survey of the history and current status of American brewed cider and listings of some notable modern cideries. Due out 2nd March 2021 from Penguin Random House on their Ballantine imprint, it's 384 pages (print edition) and will be available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive lin To be posted to my blog at release: Nonstop Reader. American Cider is an exhaustive and information dense survey of the history and current status of American brewed cider and listings of some notable modern cideries. Due out 2nd March 2021 from Penguin Random House on their Ballantine imprint, it's 384 pages (print edition) and will be available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is an almost academic treatise on the history of apples and cider as they intersect the USA and a *thorough* geographical breakdown of history and modern day cider brewing. Interesting asides are provided in highlighted text bars on diverse relevant subjects such as the temperance movement, apples & myths in the American frontier, and prohibition. The authors have also included general interest informational sections which contain a cool variety of tips and short tutorials such as how to taste and interpret cider, the language of description, storing cider, the future of cider, and many more. I say "almost" academic because there's a notable lack of references or bibliography for further reading. This is emphatically *not* a glossy how-to, there are no recipes, and almost no graphics (there are very simple maps in the chapter headings for each of the eight geographical areas included in the guide). It is a definitive and unapologetic analysis of the not always comfortable history of immigrants and their apples & cider in America throughout history. I would recommend the book as a superlative choice for brewers, cider lovers (the information about cideries would make a great tool for planning a tasting road trip when we can gather again), historians, orchardists, and the like. Definitive and exhaustive look at cider (my favorite hard potable). Four stars. I felt the lack of bibliography and chapter reference notes rather keenly. For people who want to read a history of cider in the USA, this is a great one, and the rating will be 4.5-5 stars. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Melise

    I was slightly disappointed by this book, but I think that is because it did not meet my expectations as to content, rather than an actual opinion on the content itself. I am a person who likes to socialize, but doesn’t much like beer, wine or most hard liquor. If I go to a happy hour with friends or colleagues, I will frequently order a club soda with lime, but that can be monotonous. So I was very happy when I first tried hard cider, and discovered that I liked it quite a bit. As a student of I was slightly disappointed by this book, but I think that is because it did not meet my expectations as to content, rather than an actual opinion on the content itself. I am a person who likes to socialize, but doesn’t much like beer, wine or most hard liquor. If I go to a happy hour with friends or colleagues, I will frequently order a club soda with lime, but that can be monotonous. So I was very happy when I first tried hard cider, and discovered that I liked it quite a bit. As a student of American history, I am also aware that cider was a very popular drink early in the Eurocentric portion of the history of North America, and have always wondered why it fell out of favor. I was hoping that this book would be something along the lines of a cultural history of hard cider in North America. But that was not the focus of this book. Instead, it is a guide to the varieties of cider that are being produced in various regions around the US. Like a guide to microbreweries that specialize in cider throughout the country, and a description of the cider that each produces. And I have to say, it seems like an odd choice for a published book. The nature of small producers of any product is that they come and go on a regular basis. It seems that the Internet would be the ideal location for this type of information, as it can be easily updated as changes in the industry occur. If you are a keen drinker of cider, and want to plan a trip around the country tasting a variety of different bottles, this might be a fun book to plan your trip around. But, I would confirm that each place still exists before you travel, just to make sure. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an advanced reading copy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Willis

    It should be said that I am a huge fan of cider. During my time living in the UK, I felt like I had hit the jackpot with the history, the way beverage was treated, and its accessibility. At least in comparison to my experiences here in the states. But lately I have started to see that change and Dave Pucci and Craig Cavallo’s “American Cider” is a wonderful indication and timely companion to its current boom. The book is one part history and craft, and one part a survey and look at the modern sh It should be said that I am a huge fan of cider. During my time living in the UK, I felt like I had hit the jackpot with the history, the way beverage was treated, and its accessibility. At least in comparison to my experiences here in the states. But lately I have started to see that change and Dave Pucci and Craig Cavallo’s “American Cider” is a wonderful indication and timely companion to its current boom. The book is one part history and craft, and one part a survey and look at the modern shape of the cider industry here. Like a great book on wines or beers, this book looks at the regional varieties, differences, an qualities of cider. Initially I was worried that this would be a bit textbook like. Other cider books I’ve read and tried to get into had that dry (not in a good cider way) approach to the information, but “American Cider” is wonderfully engaging and an enjoyable and informative read. One thing I feel sets this book apart is that the passion that Pucci and Cavallo obviously have for cider and cider production here in the states is translated so well through their writing. It is that infectious sort of passion that made me thirsty from page to page. Their descriptions and explanations made me want to rush out and get my hands on some of the ciders they were talking about just so I could have a larger context for it. If you are already a cider fan, this is a great book to help with expanding your knowledge and palate, but it is also easily accessible if you want to start down the road of hard cider and all that it has to offer. I read this digitally and am planning on grabbing a hard copy as soon as I can. Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    A deep dive into the modern cider industry in America. The authors quickly cover what cider is (and how "hard" cider is really what cider is, and what passes for "cider" in America is really spiced apple juice), the kinds of apples used (most of which you've never heard of), the process of making cider, and the history of cider in the old country and in America. One might think this is what the book is about; it isn't. It's covered very quickly. The book is really about the modern cider industry i A deep dive into the modern cider industry in America. The authors quickly cover what cider is (and how "hard" cider is really what cider is, and what passes for "cider" in America is really spiced apple juice), the kinds of apples used (most of which you've never heard of), the process of making cider, and the history of cider in the old country and in America. One might think this is what the book is about; it isn't. It's covered very quickly. The book is really about the modern cider industry in America. The authors go through the entire country by area (southeast, New England, New York, mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Plains/Mountains, California, Pacific NW). Each chapter is introduced by a description of the orogeny/geology of the region (much more about the orogeny than you would ever imagine from a book on cider). The authors then speak of the various cideries currently operating in the area, the kinds of apples used, perhaps a bit of the history of apple trees, apples, and ciders in the area, descriptions of the different apples and their flavor tones, information about the cider makers and what they're doing, and overviews of all the information at the end of each chapter. One very much sees how small-scale the cider industry currently is but the great potential for growth and expansion. One definitely is given a solid foundation regarding cider in America from this work. *--galley received as part of early review program

  10. 4 out of 5

    Haley

    I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. American Cider is an informative survey of both the modern cider industry and the history of cider in the United States. Broken down into geographic sections, the chapters cover geography, soils, prominent apple types and their respective "flavors" in a given area, regional history, some government policy, and current cideries who are innovating the industry for the new age. Each chapter ends with a summary of takeaways that i I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. American Cider is an informative survey of both the modern cider industry and the history of cider in the United States. Broken down into geographic sections, the chapters cover geography, soils, prominent apple types and their respective "flavors" in a given area, regional history, some government policy, and current cideries who are innovating the industry for the new age. Each chapter ends with a summary of takeaways that include ciders to try, cideries to visit, and a recap of how the development of a regional cider contributes to the dynamic industry as a whole. The authors' passion for cider practically bounds off each page, giving what could have easily become a textbook tome into an engaging study of an American icon. Well written, this factoid-dense read may be off-putting to the general reader who is looking for a brief snapshot of American cider and the industry. Definitely recommended, however, for cider imbibers, those wanting to jump into the industry, or those hungry for deeper insight to a well-loved drink.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    If you make cider, or want a comprehensive overview of every type and form of cider making, this is a great book for you! I have a fairly weird and wide knowledge of cider-making, particularly in England, so the beginning of this book, which covers the growing of apples, the making, storing and packaging of cider wasn't totally new, but it was fun to see my knowledge put into the larger context. The second part of the book was one that is probably more appealing to people who make and sell cider If you make cider, or want a comprehensive overview of every type and form of cider making, this is a great book for you! I have a fairly weird and wide knowledge of cider-making, particularly in England, so the beginning of this book, which covers the growing of apples, the making, storing and packaging of cider wasn't totally new, but it was fun to see my knowledge put into the larger context. The second part of the book was one that is probably more appealing to people who make and sell cider on their own. It covers the entire United States geographically, and talks about the varietals of apples grown, and highlights famous orchards and cider brands or types. For me, it was the type of information that I like in a reference book - sort of the "I found this cool looking bottle at the store, and this book has information on the history of where cider like this comes from" rather than something I would read cover to cover. Overall, a solid reference book about an interesting subject

  12. 4 out of 5

    (a)lyss(a)

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a surprisingly thorough book. Pucci dives into the history of apples in the US, starting with European colonization which is an interesting choice, and shares apple tastes, history, and lore by region. There's information on growing apples by American region as well as flavor profiles of famous or historical ciders. There's a lot of information and a summary at the end of each chapter. It also talks about brewin I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a surprisingly thorough book. Pucci dives into the history of apples in the US, starting with European colonization which is an interesting choice, and shares apple tastes, history, and lore by region. There's information on growing apples by American region as well as flavor profiles of famous or historical ciders. There's a lot of information and a summary at the end of each chapter. It also talks about brewing techniques and bacteria and pasteurization to make some ciders safe to drink. It's an educational and interesting read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    I won a copy of this book. This book is so thoroughly researched, it should just be required reading. I not only got a masters degree in all things Cider, I received my associates degree in American History. Not really, but I feel smarter and better educated about all things cider and the US. Get this book for your favorote brewer or American history nerd. Very readable. Currently trying to talk hubby into a fall trip across northeast to eat apples as they come into season.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Konet

    I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves apples and cider. It was fascinating to learn the history of cider and learn about each apple and what the cider is like for each. I definitely learned more about my favorite types of apples too. This was well written, intriguing and has me thirsting for a MacIntosh apple cider! Highly recommended and so much so that I bought a copy. Glad my library had this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kady

    What an informative, but also fun book to read. I feel like my knowledge of cider went up like a 100 percent. Would love a physical copy to take with while traveling to different areas of the country.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  17. 5 out of 5

    Candice Hayes

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Okey

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gina

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexsis Cassady

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dorrie J

  22. 4 out of 5

    William Gillespie

  23. 5 out of 5

    david warnke

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Black

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hui Wen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Reena

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack Young

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