Ontario apples in demand for craft cider: The New Farm

 

 

 

 

 

Ontario apples in demand for craft cider: The New Farm
By Owen RobertsSpecial to the Star
Mon., Sept. 4, 2017

Gala, Honeycrisp, Ambrosia and Northern Spy: these are the popular Ontario apple varieties Prof. John Cline and his pomology research team at the University of Guelph have focused on for decades. Consumers like these varieties and they grow well in Ontario.

Cline and his team — working out of the Simcoe Research Station — have helped apple producers adopt new management techniques that make growing trees and harvesting apples much more efficient and marketable.
Cline is particularly hopeful about a dozen apple cider varieties he and his team are working with. He believes these new products could be on the market in two years.
Cline is particularly hopeful about a dozen apple cider varieties he and his team are working with. He believes these new products could be on the market in two years. (Liz Beddall for the Toronto Star)

That’s key when apples are ready to come off the tree.

Lately, they’ve been turning their sights towards apples purposely grown for hard cider.

That’s a switch. At one time, cider was the poor cousin of the apple sector. Often it was made from apples that consumers avoided — for example, apples that were slightly blemished, irregularly shaped or had fallen to the orchard floor (called “grounders”).

Nothing was really wrong with these apples. But consumers looking for attractive table stock turn up their noses at imperfection.

Over the past decade or so, though, cider’s image has changed. It’s become the go-to alcoholic drink for millennials who believe it represents their values.

“Apple cider has a fresh, healthy connotation to it, so it feels natural to buy it where you buy other fresh, healthy foods,” says Toronto-based produce buyer and industry consultant Mike Mauti of Execulytics.

And then there’s craft cider, which further distances millennials’ libations from that of their parents.
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Craft cider is a higher-level product within the $24-million cider market. The LCBO describes craft cider’s growth as “exponential.” Last year alone, sales boomed 35 per cent.

About one-third of all cider offered now at the LCBO is craft cider.

Cideries that produce craft products distinguish themselves with the local ingredients their customers crave. They begin with fresh-pressed juice from local apple varieties (and, to a lesser extent, pears) and not much else. Craft cideries don’t add extra sugar, colour or flavour to their product.

They don’t need to, if the apples are specifically for cider. That means they have natural traits such as extra acidity, high sugars and tannins.

With support from the provincial and federal governments and the Ontario Craft Cider Association, Cline and his team are testing nearly 30 different apple cider varieties, primarily from France and Great Britain. As well, he’s part of an expert group coming together at the university specifically to service the hard cider and brewing industry.


University of Guelph Prof. John Cline and his team have helped apple producers adopt new management techniques that make growing trees and harvesting apples more efficient and marketable.
University of Guelph Prof. John Cline and his team have helped apple producers adopt new management techniques that make growing trees and harvesting apples more efficient and marketable.

In some cases, cider apple varieties are extra tart or sweet, much more so than popular table varieties. And that makes them ideal for cider makers to work with them, blend them and get unique combinations and unique products that appeal to consumers.

Cline is particularly hopeful about a dozen varieties he and his team are working with. He believes these new varieties could be on the market in two years.

“A lot of cideries are using fresh apples from popular culinary apple stocks, because that’s all what’s available to them,” Cline says. “That’s OK, but the craft cideries want something special: a juice that offers unique flavours and high tannins. That’s what we’re working to develop.”

Ontario has apple-friendly farms

Apples are a great crop for this province. “Ontario’s favourable climate, its adjacency to water and its excellent soil provide rich conditions for growing apples. That’s made it a hotbed for producing craft cider,” says Hamed Foroush, chief technology officer at Adeeb Consulting Inc. of Toronto.

Readers say phase out cages sooner

Last week’s readers’ poll was the most decisive since The New Farm series began. At press time, almost 570 of 730 reader responses said the 2036 target for Canadian egg farmers to phase out housing cages for hens was too long. Thanks to readers for all responses.

Owen Roberts is an agricultural journalist at the University of Guelph, and president of the 5,000-member International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. Follow him on Twitter @TheUrbanCowboy or contact him by email at urbancowboycanada@gmail.com .

Denis and Nicole recommend hard cheeses and dried fruit with their Ontario Craft Cider! Enjoy!

 

Everything you need to know about icewine

Everything you need to know about Icewine

 

Image result for image of red and white icewine glasses in snow

Article written by Edith Hancock

Let’s start at with the basics. Ice wine (or Eiswein in German) is a type of dessert wine that can only be produced in cold climates. It is made with grapes that have been frozen while they’re still on the vine. This is because the sugars in the fruit, unlike water, do not freeze, so while the grapes themselves are frozen, it’s possible to concentrate their flavours when it’s time to harvest. Unlike other sweet wines like Sauternes, the grapes aren’t affected by noble rot, and so their characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity.  is entirely reliant on the power of the elements.

Although we know that ice wine was being made in ancient Rome, the first modern example comes from Franconia in Germany, in 1794.

While frozen, the must (which I’ll use instead of grape juice given the fruit is partially frozen), is then pressed using a special machine (see video below for a run-down from Niagara College in Canada, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine.

The whole process from harvest to press can take around six hours, and must only be done when the weather conditions are right, so it can be risky (in some years, the grapes might not freeze at all). Sometimes harvests might not happen until after the new year.

The juice is then separated from the seeds and stems before fermentation begins. It may take months to complete the fermentation because of the grapes’ high sugar levels, and the wines can age for many years.

Some wineries do freeze their grapes artificially — a process called cryoextraction — although it’s only permitted in countries that don’t normally produce icewine and don’t have regulations for its production in place.

Although in theory you can make icewine from anything, typical grapes used include Riesling, considered to be the noblest variety by German winemakers; Vidal, which is popular in Ontario, Canada; and Cabernet Franc. Some producers are experimenting with other grapes like Chenin Blanc and Merlot. Those made from white grapes are usually pale yellow or light gold in colour when they are young and deepen with age, or pink when made with red grapes.

 

What are Hops?

What are Hops?

Hops (Humulus lupulus) are a perennial plant of the Cannabaceae
family that also includes the genus Cannabis. In beer hops provide
bitterness to balance the sweetness of malt sugars, as well as flavors,
aromas, resins that increase head retention, and antiseptics to retard
spoilage. Often referred to as a “vine”, hops are actually a “bine”,
using a strong stem and stiff hairs to climb rather than tendrils and
suckers to attach. It is the flower of the hop plant that is used in
brewing. Hop flowers or cones resemble pine cones bhopsut are composed
of thin, green, papery, leaf-like bracts. At the base of these bracts are
waxy, yellow lupulin glands that contain alpha acids responsible for
bitterness and essential oils that give beer flavor and aroma. The plant
has separate male and female bines, but only the female bines develop
cones. If male plants are allowed to pollinate them, the flowers will produce seeds,
rendering them useless for brewing. Aside from their use in beer, hops also have medicinal application as a sleep aid. Hop filled pillows were once a common remedy for insomnia.

Day length during the growing season has a major effect on yield. For this reason the
majority of the world’s commercial hop production occurs between latitudes 35° and 55°,
either north or south of the equator. The largest producers of hops
are Germany, the United States, China, and the Czech Republic.
Other important growing regions include England, New Zealand,
and increasingly Argentina. Climate and soil conditions have a
major effect on hops. Varieties developed in one region will have
different flavor and aroma profiles when grown in another.
Hop plants sprout in the spring and die back to a cold-hardy
rhizome in the fall. During peak growing season they grow very
rapidly, up to twenty inches per week. Commercial hop growers
cultivate hop bines on V-shaped, wire and twine trellises that are
up to twenty feet tall. In spring, at the start of the growing season,
two to three young shoots are trained in a clockwise direction
around each horizontal length of twine. The harvest season begins
in August and continues into October with different varieties of
hops coming ready at different times. Harvesting machines cut the
bines and twine at the top and bottom and load them onto trucks.
They then pass through a series of sorters to separate the cones from the stems and
leaves. The cones are placed in a kiln where 140° air is circulated, drying the cones to
about 30% of their green weight. After cooling the cones are compressed into bales or
further processed into pellets or extracts.

Types of Hops for Brewing

Hops are available to brewers in whole-leaf, pellet, or extract form. American craft brewers
have also started using fresh, unprocessed hops to brew “harvest” or “fresh-hop” ales.
Each of these forms has advantages and disadvantages.
• Whole-leaf Hops – Whole-leaf hops are simply the dried hop
cones that have been compressed into bales. They are
believed to have greater aromatic qualities than the other
forms and are easier to strain from wort. However, because
they retain more of the vegetative matter greater volumes
must be used. They soak up more wort than other forms
resulting in greater loss to the brewer. Their bulk also makes
them more difficult to store and more susceptible to spoilage.

Hops can be generally divided into two broad categories, bittering and aroma. Those hop
varieties that contain high levels of alpha acids are called bittering hops because a lower
volume is needed to achieve high levels of bitterness. Those with lower alpha acid content
but higher levels of essential oils are called aroma hops. Beyond this broad division,
general characterizations can be made based on the traditional area of origin.
• Continental or Noble Hops – The noble hops originate in central Europe and are among
the most prized of the aroma hops. There are four noble hops, Hallertau, Tettnang,
Spalt, and Czech Saaz. These hops impart a smooth bitterness and spicy/floral aromas.
The noble hops are often used in lagers. Common descriptors for these hops include
spicy, black pepper, licorice, perfume, floral, and herbal.

• English Hops – The most traditional English hop varieties fall into the low alpha acid
aroma hop category. The most common are East Kent Goldings and Fuggle. Other
higher alpha English hop varieties include Challenger, Target, and Progress. Common
descriptors for the English hops include herbal, grassy, earthy, floral, and fruity.
• American Hops – Bright, fruity, and resinous, these are the signature hops of American
pale ale and IPA. The United States grows a number of hop varieties that can be
considered duel use hops, with high alpha acid content and pleasant aromatic qualities.
Commonly used American hop varieties are Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Willamette,
and Amarillo. Common descriptors for the American hop varieties are citrus, grapefruit,
resinous, piney, fruity, and spicy.

Hops in the Brewing Process

Brewers use hops primarily to get bitterness, flavor, and aroma. Hops can be added at
several points in the brewing process to enhance one or the other of those things. While
most hops are added in the boil kettle, they can be added a various stages prior to and
after the boil as well.
• Kettle Hops – Kettle hops is the name given to those hops added to the kettle during
the boil. These include early addition hops for bitterness and late addition hops for
flavor and aroma.
• Bittering Hops – Bitterness from hops comes
from alpha acids found in the lupulin glands of
the hop flowers. The main alpha acids are
humulone and cohumulone and adhumulone. In
order to become bitter these acids must be
chemically altered, isomerized, by boiling.
Isomerization is a chemical process in which a
compound is changed into another form with the
same chemical composition but a different
structure. The percentage of the potential alpha
acid that is isomerized is referred to as
utilization. Because the length of the boil determines degree of utilization,
bittering hops are usually added at the beginning of the boil or with at least 60-
minutes of boiling time remaining.
• Flavor Hops – Hop flavor and aroma are derived from essential oils found in the
lupulin glands. These oils include humulene, myrcene, geraniol, and limonene,
among others. The flavors are released as these oils become dissolved into the
wort during the boil. However, these oils are highly volatile and are to a large
degree lost to evaporation. For this reason flavor hops are added with twenty to
forty minutes remaining in the boil. This provides a compromise between
isomerization of the alpha acids and loss of essential oils.

• Aroma Hops – Because the aromatic essential oils are highly volatile, aroma
hops are added in the last minutes of the boil to minimize their loss to
evaporation.

article written by Michael

www.aperfectpint.net