bottling the basque cider, holiday gift suggestions

with the holidays in full swing and an unrelenting stream of work rolling in, it’s been hard to find time to set aside for a little zymurgy-related activities.  however, I did manage to set aside a couple of hours to bottle up my first attempt at a basque cider.

  • despite the healthy pellicle that formed on this batch, the resulting cider was remarkably smooth, with a slightly tart finish.  there was also a much more noticeable apple flavor when compared to earlier batches, which I am assuming is the result of using montrachet yeast instead of champagne.
  • the earthy lambic-like notes that I had noticed during fermentation had mellowed as well, and the cider was left with a subtle funk aroma that was in line with a year-old bottle of basque cider I had tried.  it almost seems as though the funk mellows with time in cider, instead of increasing as with some of my long-term beer experiments.  In addition to corking the cider, I also carbed and capped a few bottles to see if the fizz brings out any other desirable characteristics.

while I was bottling the cider, my mind started wandering onto the topic of holiday gift giving.

  • first and foremost, I am a big fan of giving homemade items as gifts – anything from pickles and beer to loaves of holiday bread and needlework lets the recipient know that some time, effort, and care went into the end product.  another benefit of giving homemade is that your gifts are usually less expensive to put together.
  • however, even when lack of time (or motivation) strikes, you can still come through with a thoughtful gift for the beer lover in your family by presenting them with a tasty beer and  food item pairing.  For example, it doesn’t take too much effort (or money) to score a nice obscure belgian (pannepot grand reserva, perhaps?) or fancy american sour (supplication, anyone?) and pack it with a savory chunk of creamy, palate-coating cheese (a little humboldt fog, maybe?) – in fact, one trip to a well-appointed whole foods would do the trick, and makes for a great after-work indulgence.  just an idea…

           

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