The dry and delicious art of cider making is all a matter of patience, according to Port Macquarie brewer Gary Cuttell.
The bubbly master craftsman made the move to pursue his passion for cider making after breaking from corporate life in 2017.
Mr Cuttell converted his hobby of three years into a business, by launching Fernbank Creek Cidery onto the open market.
"It started as a hobby three or four years ago because I quite like cider," he said.
"I had worked in the corporate world for 30 years, I had a discussion with my wife and talked about whether we could convert the hobby into something more.
"A redundancy with Essential Energy was an opportunity to start the business."
The Cidery began by filling its first order for local restaurants, Bill's Fishhouse and Drury Lane Eatery. It has since expanded to supply other establishments in Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.
"You can make cider out of any apple but there are two main types, dessert apples or specific cider apples. There are probably 12 or 15 cider apple varieties in Australia," said Mr Cuttell.
"Our apples come from central NSW. I go down to collect them and bring them back.
"We crush all the apples into a mush and then we put that into the press. We catch all the juice which goes into a tank.
"We put yeast in the tank and it ferments for two or three weeks sometimes longer. The higher the sugar of the apple the more alcohol that it converts into during the fermentation process.
"It could sit in the tank and condition for three or four months before it's ready to drink. You can drink it straight away but the longer you leave it the better it will taste.
"When it's ready we move it or 'rack' it from one tank to another to get rid of the dead yeast and solids. We carbonate it in the new tank by adding some bubbles and then connect it up to the small manual bottling station.
"Once the juice goes into the tank, the cider doesn't touch air until you drink it. That's because as soon as it touches air it will start to oxidise.
"It's about two to one ratio of apples to juice, so two tonnes of apples will make one ton of juice. All of the pressings go to a local pig farmer which I give to him for free as pig feed."
Making cider is a hobby anyone can enjoy the fruits of, according to Mr Cuttell.
"The most important thing is just to have a go. There is lots of information online and I'd be happy to answer any questions about the process," he said.
"You can do it relatively cheaply because all you need is a glass demijohn (glass brewing container) and you can start with just five litres. Once you've started that process of cider making my best advice is patience and not to open it too soon.
"The cider industry is growing rapidly and if you look at the craft beer wave in America, cider is following the same pattern. Craft beer is sold on the idea that it's made in a less industrial manner in small batches with love, and craft cider is the same idea."
Fernbank Creek Cidery was scheduled for its first official festival appearance at the Port Macquarie Beer and Cider Festival on November 16. The event has been postponed until February 2020.
If you'd like to know more about brewing cider or would like to contact Gary you can go to www.fernbankcreek.com.au
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