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How is Cider Made?

How is Cider Made?

We were invited to contribute a blog to our lovely partners at Virgin Experiences all about our brand new Cider Making Workshop. Here's what we had to say about how are cider gets made and how you can make your own too!

London’s Best Beer does hands on Cider Making too?! 

Hiver is a craft beer company and we’ve been brewing our delicious and award-winning beers and running our famous Beekeeping Experiences (The Hiver Experience) since 2013! In 2022 we made our first forage into cider, and we have been obsessed ever since. 

It all started when I, (Hi! I’m Hannah, MD and Founder of Hiver Beers) went on an English cidery tour. As a creator of craft beers that use only British produce, local and sustainable processes are really of interest. So,the chance to see locally produced cider go from pip to pint, and discuss the role that commercial beekeepers and their bees play as vital pollinators to British orchards and fruit crops, was fascinating.

 It was great! But what I didn’t expect was the heavy use of processed, refined white sugar added during fermentation. It got me thinking. 

Could we replace the whopping 48g of sugar you find in market leading pints of cider with something more natural…our raw, British honey? 

 The answer? Yes! Fast forward a year of development, and we launched our Hiver Honey Cider. It has been flying off the shelves since and now that we know how to make delicious, natural ciders…..we want to share that knowledge with you too.  

Enter the Hiver Cider Making Workshop. 

Cider is Britain’s oldest beverage. There’s evidence that we have been making it, here in the British Isles, since 3000 BCE. And the bee-autiful thing about cider is that it’s easy to produce at home when you know how.

 So we launched our first making workshop in our home, the Hiver Taproom on London’s Bermondsey Beer (and Cider) mile. The perfect foodie, beer and cider lovers day out just a ten minute walk from London Bridge station.  Here’s a quick rundown of how cider is made

1. The Humble Apple

It all starts with a humble apple. Well, not one apple. Every varietal adds its own flavour and flair, so it’s important you choose the profile you like best. From the traditional acidic cider apples, to the sweeter eating ones.  

2. Take it back to BCE

Once you’ve selected it’s time to weigh, wash and prep. We’re taking it back to BCE and getting hands on as we get our apples ready to be pressed by taking out any bugs or bad bits.

3. The Press Up

Now it’s time to chop and press. We want to get the most out of our apples and avoid waste, so they will be pressed at least twice. It’s hard work so we make sure there are nibbles around - we opt for local produce like cheese and crackers. Crackers are also a great way to clense the pallet if you’re taste testing apples or even a few ciders. 

 4. Fill the Demijohns

Demijohn: a bulbous narrow-necked bottle holding from 3 to 10 gallons of liquid, typically enclosed in a wicker cover.

These are the containers in which our cider will ferment and become its most delicious self. There is a lot to learn about fermenting so on the Hiver Cider Making workshop, our hosts expertly guide you through the process for you to finish off at home. 

5. The Cider Tasting

Now for us, tasting as many ciders and getting to know the difference between tannins and acids is vital to the cider making process. lSo here at our  Hiver Cider making workshop, we make sure to sample a  range of ciders across sweet, dry and even Perry during the session. Side by side taste tests are a great way of comparing characteristics in your brew. So, when it comes to perfecting your recipe, get a few samples in, just be sure to take some notes! 

 6. Blend It Baby!

From brut to fruit, from sweet to tart, there’s real variety in how ciders can taste! Pretty much anything goes when it comes to flavourings: we’ve seen ciders flavoured with bacon, peanut butter, milk and even charcoal, to name just a few. It’s an intricate process with a lot of trial and error but, at the Hiver Cider Making Workshop, we leave you with all the tools you need to create your dream  blend. We’d encourage using locally produced, natural sweeteners, like honey or pears and maybe some seasonal fruits too. 

 7. Taste the fruits of your labour

My, oh my, have you worked hard! From pip to pint you have now created your very own cider. And even better, you’ve got the demi-johns and know-how to do it again and again! Congratulations, you’ve got the gift that keeps on giving!

Now that you know how to make delicious, natural cider at home, we expect to see cideries popping up all over the place. Maybe you’ll join us on The Bermondsey Beer Mile, located in the heart of London’s craft beer, cider and street-food scene, just a stone’s throw from Tower Bridge and the South Bank.

 If you’re more into the tasting than the making, then we have a tutored cider tasting session every month too, sampling  5 ciders and learning about the history of Britain’s oldest beverage. Or if beer is more your brew then look to our Hiver, Best of British and Bermondsey Beer Mile Tutored tastings. 

Not only that, we have honey harvesting workshops as well as beekeeping experiences in London, Surrey and Sussex. It’s a fully immersive experience: you’ll don the beekeeping suits, search for the queen bee and then relax over a honey craft beer tasting. Whether you’re looking to soak up the rays in our beer garden, after tasting the best beer in the world, or searching for things to do in London for couples, or even just a date with yourself, we hope you’ll come and see us soon! Cheers! 

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