Book Review: Cider, Hard and Sweet

March 12, 2010

Ben Watson released Cider: Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions & Making Your Own, 2nd Edition in 2009, ten years after it originally came out. This book is more like Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols’ Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider in that it contains more information beyond making cider, including:

  • Much more information about the kinds of apples used for cider, especially in North America
  • Pollinating apple blossoms
  • A small section of “Some Commercial Yeast Strains Used for Cidermaking”.
  • A larger section is devoted to styles of ciders and regional influences on them.
  • How to evaluate a cider when tasting.
  • Recipes on cooking with cider, including Wassail, pork chops, desserts, and much more.

Watson lives in New Hampshire, so this book has a little more resources for North American readers. The back of this book also includes several pages on websites, equipment sales, organizations, suppliers, festivals and competitions, and apple and pear tree suppliers.

Andrew Lea does have a few comments on his website about this book, saying,  ““CIDER – Hard and Sweet” by Ben Watson – ISBN 978-0881508192 – The Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vermont.  The second edition of this book was  published in 2008 and is an excellent practical guide similar in concept to the Proulx and Nichols volume…  It’s written by an American author from a US perspective but with a fair bit of European background and some interesting historical detail too.”

All in all, I like Ben Watson’s book slightly better than Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols. However, this book barely touches upon establishing an orchard, making the other book still very valuable in my home library.

7 Responses to “Book Review: Cider, Hard and Sweet”

  1. […] Watson wrote a little bit about pears in his Cider: Hard and Sweet. He suggests that pears are probably not a popular as apples due to being “somewhat less […]

  2. […] perry pears are higher in tannin and acid than normal eating pears, which making them inedible. Ben Watson describes an incident where squirrels and chewed on perry pears, ate the seeds, but spit out the […]

  3. […] Cider: Hard and Sweet, Ben Watson includes a Pears Preserved in Calvados recipe, which he says makes an excellent […]

  4. […] Watson agrees with the historian Tacitus that “the Romans appear to have spread the cultivation of pears into Gaul (France) and probably Britain… however, there is no definitive written record of pears in England until after the Norman Conquest of 1066.” […]

  5. […] other thing I want to mention about pears, wine, and cheese is that Ben Watson wrote on page 153 of Cider: Hard and Sweet: One Gloucestershire [perry pear] variety, Stinking Bishop, even lends its name to a raw-milk […]

  6. […] in the basket, putting the basket inside the tub, and then hosing them off. I read Andrew Lea and Ben Watson, and neither one of them mentions using any sort of chemical on the apples, so I did not. The […]

  7. […] that there are two cider recipes, with the second one being written and submitted by his editor, Ben Watson, who has written a very good book on cidermaking.  I should also note that there is a strong […]

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