Now commonly found on tap, proudly next to the ale and the lager, cider rarely crossed people’s minds not that long ago. It has been widespread and loved in England for some time now, but only in recent years has cider become popular here in Australia. As demand for the refreshing beverage has grown, so too has our palate, with an increasing thirst for character and variety. This has allowed microbreweries to get in on the act and have cider complementing their beer collections.
Dave and Andrew Ong from 2 Brothers Brewery, located in Moorabin, are the microbrewers behind Gypsy pear cider. They noticed the popularity of cider while travelling overseas, and realised the potential back home in Melbourne. Dave believes that while cider may be a trend of late, it is likely to stick around for some time, putting this down to the “good variety of small, handcrafted brands available”, as well as all the Aussies who “have had their stint of European working holidays, making them well-versed on cider and its variations”.
Sam Füss, head brewer at Black Rock’s True South Brewery and creator of their Little Miss Muffett cider agrees, also noting that the Australian climate is well suited to the beverage. “Cider is a nice medium,” she says, “that sits somewhere between beer and wine, ultimately meaning that it’s more attractive to more people. People who drink beer will generally drink cider; people who drink wine also enjoy a glass of cider. And then there are just the cider lovers.” The evidence is in its continually growing success, comparable to the warm reception of craft beer brands four or five years ago.
When asked about the most challenging aspect of making cider, both Dave and Sam say that maintaining the consistency is something they always keep an eye on. “It took a lot of experimenting – different yeast strains, nutrients etc. Cidermaking was a new thing for us. We quickly learned that the art of making cider has more in common with wine making than with brewing,” elaborates Dave. “But I think we do a pretty good job of it.”
And as Melbourne’s appreciation of cider grows, it appears that they, and many other brewers, are indeed doing something right.