Making Craft Cider: A Ciderist’s Guide by Simon McKie is an excellent starting point when learning to make your own cider. This is a short and well-written book that does a good job of summarising the best of the other four books in this series of reviews. McKie covers all the important topics—including choosing apples, pressing, blending, additions, and measurements—in a very short book, but manages to include enough detail to make informed choices in your first efforts as a ciderist. McKie includes a good explanation (with examples) of how to calculate specific gravity when adjusting sugar content, an important but often neglected topic. I appreciate the clear and accurate description of fermentation over the attempt at literary descriptions found in some other books. A useful note that McKie clearly describes is that having the correct total acid content is important for taste, but total acid is not the same as the pH, which is important for avoiding microbial infection.

Making Craft Cider is one of the most professionally produced zymurgy books I have read. It is well written, well typeset, nearly typo free, and has a good glossary and index. I’m not a fan of glossy paper, but it fits well with McKie’s use of many well-chosen photographs. The typical caveat about slight differences in terminology across the pond applies, but McKie is accurate and easy to read.

Making Craft Cider: A Ciderist’s Guide is a good first book for an aspiring ciderist to read. If you want same background on the American history of cider and styles of cider, you’ll also want to read Ben Watson’s Cider, hard and sweet. If you continue with cider making, you’ll also read Andrew Lea’s Craft Cider Making for slightly more information, but McKie’s book is the place to start.

This is the fourth review in a series on cider making books.

BibTeX reference:

    Author = {Simon McKie},
    Publisher = {Osprey Publishing},
    Series = {Shire Library},
    Title = {Making Craft Cider: A Ciderist's Guide},
    Year = {2011}