I’ve been pretty into hard cider for a while, so for this latest installment of Super Food Nerds I wanted to meet some people who make it and could shed some light on the fermentation process. Through the magic of the Internet I found Hayley Jensen, the beer sommelier at Manhattan’s Taproom 307 who, along with her husband, Stephen Durley, (the taproom’s chef), is an avid, multiple-award-winning homebrewer and has been making cider at home for a few years.
Jensen suggested we meet at her home instead of the restaurant, which we understood upon arrival: It’s a beautiful, light-filled New York City apartment outfitted with a beer room. The small spare bedroom is tricked out with racks and racks of professional-grade brewing equipment and hundreds of gallons of various brews, including Candy Crush, a caramel-apple-inspired “city cider” made from store-bought apple cider.
The couple started making city cider after a trip to Jensen’s sister’s farmhouse, where they’d made cider entirely from scratch. Durley explains: “It was a big process. It took basically a full day to juice all the apples, wash them and take them to the press. Then you have to grind them, press them, get the juice and bring it home. We really liked it, but I was like, ‘Wait: Can’t we just buy some apple juice and have some fun?”