Update: It's Thanksgiving in the US, and Ars staffers are off experimenting in the kitchen rather than on the page. Actually, sometimes we experiment in the kitchen in order to put it on the page, too—like this 2013 series on home brewing some delightfully autumnal hard cider. While it's too late to get the job done for today's big meal, allow this guide to inspire you for your large winter gatherings. This piece originally ran on October 19, 2013, and it appears unchanged below.
My relationship with beer has grown too comfortable. We share an easy routine: I buy it at the store—a different kind almost every time—take it home, and drink it. I'm not sure how the beer feels about this, but it seems happy. Still, things have gotten boring. So I'm taking the next step: making my own hard cider.
I chose cider for my first foray into home brewing for a couple of reasons. First, much as I would like to make beer, it involves a more extended process and more specialized ingredients. Wine is closer to cider in simplicity, but I envision cheaply made homebrewed wine tasting much worse than cheaply made cider. Furthermore, autumn comes but once a year; I can buy a wine or beer kit any time, but there’s only a couple of months during which I can get good soft cider.