Forgoing the precision of modern technology, these cider makers embrace the old-world method of fermenting with yeast already present on the skins of the apples. While producing cider using native fermentation can be unpredictable, the results can offer an array of savory and earthy flavors—these ciders are more complex than any others in the American cider landscape.
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Many brewers still bristle at the idea of intentionally allowing wild yeast into their breweries for fear of contamination, but Chad Yakobson, the brewer behind Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project has rolled out the welcome mat. Yakobson launched Crooked Stave earlier this year, brewing Brettanomyces-focused beers in Fort Collins, Colorado, with the goal of expanding the expectations of what the wild yeast can bring to beer.