Tag Archives: Presentations

Online Prohibition Talk for Cider School

This Thursday, May 7th at 6 pm I’m presenting “Did Prohibition Prohibit Cider?” for Cider Culture‘s Cider School. It’s a free Zoom meeting. You can find the login at the event’s Facebook page.

Hope you can make. Drinks are optional, but strongly encouraged.

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New Ciders & a New Year

The last time I made cider was two years ago. And the previous vintage was two years before that. Happily, I made so much both times that there was plenty of cider to get through the off years. I don’t like the lulls though. The whole idea of being a cidermaker is to make cider.

So I am happy that in November I started five batches of new ciders, which I racked into secondary yesterday. They include:

  • Cherry cider (6 gallons; potential ABV 7% )
  • Penn cider (6 gallons; potential ABV 8%)
  • Brown Sugar (3 gallons; potential ABV 8%)
  • Medaille d’Or single varietal (1 gallon; potential ABV 9.5%)
  • Raw blend (2 gallons; potential ABV 7.5%)
Top: Raw Blend * Brown Sugar
Bottom: Penn * Medaille d’Or * Cherry
Everything is now racked into secondary.

I’m hopeful there will be a few more ciders added, particularly Golden Russet. I’m waiting on the orchard.

While I’m not crazy about off-years, it does offer a little time to think and plan. This was especially helpful as these last two years offered a few unexpected opportunities, which have helped me refine my thinking about my cidering and cider history research.

One of the things I was noticing over the the last two vintages is how “bready” some of the ciders tasted, even a year after they were bottled. While it wasn’t all of ciders fermented in plastic, all of the “bready” ones were fermented in plastic. I decided to drop the plastic fermenting buckets this year and see if that changed anything.

Perhaps the worst offender of “breadiness” is the boiled cider. Since it’s so commonly referenced in historical sources, I was excited to try it. However, whether it was through the processing (you reduce the volume of sweet cider by half and then ferment that) or the plastic fermenters, or something else altogether, these ciders have not aged well. J. pointed out that I usually find something good to say about all of the ciders I’ve made. Not this one. It is unpleasant to drink.

Along with making goals, there are some research goals for the 2020. I want to continue to expand my archive of period recipes. Since we’re in the middle of Prohibition’s centennial, I want to get back to the “Did Prohibition Prohibit Cider?” series. And, after a heated conversation with someone on a cider Facebook group, I want to explore the desire to connect the Founding generation to cider. There might even be a survey.

Lastly, I want to get out into the world more. I’d like to increase the number of cider talks I give, particularly the Prohibition talk. I also want to finally make it to Franklin County Cider Days.

For now, I’d better call the orchard back and see if the rest of the juice is ready. Here’s to a productive 2020!

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Upcoming Presentation & Tasting at Lemon Hill for Philly Cider Week

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On November 3rd I’ll be presenting “Did Prohibition Prohibit Cider?” for Philly Cider Week at Lemon Hill Mansion in Fairmount Park. Along with the talk, Dressler Estate will be offering tastings of their ciders.

Hope you can make it to get answers to all your cider and Prohibition questions (and you should question everything) and sample some wonderful ciders!

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Upcoming Living History Demo at First State Heritage Park

On November 2nd I’ll be at First State Heritage Park’s 18th-century Harvest Festival presenting my cider living history demo.

Hope to see you there!

woman in 1700s clothese walking a tightrope and holding an unbrella There’s all manner of 18th-century fun. I wonder if I can break into her act again?

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Upcoming Presentation at Fairmount Park CiderFest

This Saturday I’ll be at Lemon Hill Mansion talking about 18th-century cider as part of Fairmount Park’s annual CiderFest.

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If you upgrade to a VIP pass, you’ll also get seating for a talk and taste – I’ll be talking about Pennsylvania cider history, followed by a tasting of Dressler Estate ciders.

If you’re in the Philadelphia area, hope you can make it out. Along with a little cider history, there’s going to be eight Pennsylvania cideries, food trucks, and live music. Hope to see you Saturday!

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A Spotlight for Pommel Cyder & Kicking Off Philly Cider

This past Tuesday the PA Cider Guild featured Pommel Cyder in their series spotlighting their associate members. Thanks to the Cider Guild for all of the opportunities they’ve offered and for highlighting Pommel Cyder.

Spotlight on Pommel

Also this past Tuesday, the first-ever Philly Cider week kicked off. Ironically, it was through my day job that I got to be part of it. The museum hosted several PA cidermakers and Hank Frecon (pronounced fray-con, as I learned) and I co-presented on PA cider then and now. It was a good talk with a very interested audience. I was fortunate to meet or reconnect with several cidermakers whose stuff I enjoy.

History After Hours-Cider Week 23 October 2018

Not shown in this photo, all the other people in the room. Courtesy of Olga and Brian Dressler, of Dressler Estate.

With events through Wednesday, October 31st, there’s till time to check out Cider Week

 

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Cider Audiences Are Ripening

I was standing at the front of the room noticing heads bobbing up and down in recognition and agreement. This was new.

When I first started offering cider history presentations a few years ago it was different. Most of the audience’s comments were about how people either hadn’t really tried cider or how they liked Angry Orchard. Most of their questions were the kinds you might hear in a modern bottle shop: how sweet was the cider, how strong was it, how long could it be stored?

Recently, that’s changing. Audiences are more conversant with cider and cider’s history (even if at times that “history” is created by advertisers and tale-tellers). Our conversations are suddenly about cider economics, apple varieties, and fermentation preferences, among many others. Their growing awareness makes my work more accessible and interesting to audiences.

Happily, this suggests that American cider audiences are maturing. It also means I need to update my talks a little faster now.

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Upcoming Historical Cider Symposium & Tasting

On Sunday, August 19th, Stone & Key Cellars and the Morgan Log House are co-hosting a historical cider symposium and tasting in Montgomeryville, PA. I’ll be there offering a version of “Cider: Pennsylvania’s Once (and Future?) Favorite.”

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For more information and to buy tickets check out their Facebook page.

Hope you can make it!

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Did Prohibition Prohibit Cider? – Colonials Outlaw Inebriation For All and Alcohol For Some

This is the next installment in our continuing series, “Did Prohibition Prohibit Cider?”

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It’s easy to think that Prohibition was the first attempt to legally control alcohol consumption, but it’s not. Almost as long as there has been alcohol in America, there has been alcohol control. In Colonial America that legal control was exerted through anti-intoxication laws, dispensing licenses, and access control.(1)

Pennsylvania, for example, took intoxication very seriously. Drunkenness was officially illegal throughout the entire eighteenth century.

In 1700 the Pennsylvania Assembly passed, “The Law Against Drunknenness and Healths-Drinking.” It expressly outlawed, “every person disordering or abusing him or herself with drink unto drunkenness, and every person suffering such excess at their houses, and every person that shall drink healths [toasts] which shall provoke people to excessive drinking…” In January 1706, the Assembly passed the similar, but slightly reworded law, “Act Against Drunkenness and Drinking of Healths.” The 1779  “Act for the Suppression of Vice and Immorality,”  continued to outlaw intoxication using very similar language as the “Act Against Drunkenness,” (see Section IV). In 1786 the Assembly felt that the 1779 law was not, “fully and duly executed and enforced…” and passed, “An Act for the Prevention of Vice and Immorality and Unlawful Gaming and to Restrain Disorderly Sports and Dissipation.” Section III, yet again, stated that no one shall drink to intoxication.

This concern over intoxication spilled into taverns. We think of early American taverns as places flowing with drunken fun. They certainly were, but they were also places for public discourse, education, and entertainment. They were central to their communities and were seen as places where community standards needed to be upheld. Tavern licenses were granted to those seen as being a, “sober and fit person to keep a house of entertainment…” As specified in the tavern license, part of a tavern keeper’s job was to prevent indecent behaviors, including drunkenness, in their establishment.

Tavern License 1755

During most of the eighteenth century, tavern keepers were also to keep alcohol from Indians. 1755 Pennsylvania tavern license. Courtesy of the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA.

 

Tavern License 1826

Seventy years later, Indians are no longer a concern and the wording is different. The intent remains the same though – no drunkenness allowed in the tavern. 1826 Northampton County, Pennsylvania tavern license. Courtesy of the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, PA.

Though everyone was legally expected to refrain from drinking to excess, colonial American leaders felt they needed to limit certain people’s access to alcohol. They passed additional laws prohibiting Indians, enslaved people, servants (indentured, domestic, and apprentices), and even working class white men from having ready access to hard liquor.

Indian Prohibition October 28, 1701

“An Act Against the Selling of Rum and Other Strong Liquors to the Indians.” Passed October 28, 1701. The Charters and Acts of Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania

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A Supplementary AC T to a Law of this Province, intituled, An Act that no Public-house or Inn, within this Province, be kept without Licence.

“A Supplementary Act to a Law of This Province, Intituled, An Act That No Public-House or Inn, Within This Province, Be Kept Without Licence.” Passed August 26, 1721. The Acts of Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania.

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Iron Workers

“An Act for the better regulating the Retailers of Liquors near the Iron Works and elsewhere.” Passed March 5, 1726. The Acts of the Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania.

At the same time they’re passing these laws, gentry men’s drinking habits are getting a pass. Middling and gentry men could drink whatever they wanted and to excess, often in social, all-male gatherings.

Tuesday CLub

The genteel could run riot, but no one else could. “Mr Neilson’s Battle With the Royalist Club,” attributed Dr. Alexander Hamilton. Maryland Historical Society.

Like many laws attempting to prohibit sin and vice, there was more hope than success in them. Whether at home or at the tavern, people drank what they wanted and got drunk.

NEXT TIME: The temperate beginnings of Temperance.

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  1. The majority of other alcohol-related laws covered production, sales, and taxes.

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Upcoming Talk at the Bachmann Publick House

On April 7th, from 5 to 7 pm I’m offering my “Cider: Pennsylvania’s Once (and Future?) Favorite” followed by a cider tasting at the restored 1753 Bachmann Publick House in Easton, PA.

bachmann

The program is $8 for Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society members and $12 for non-members. For more information check this out.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

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