Northshore Magazine

November 2014

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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and viticulture at Plumpton College, an affiliate of the University of Brighton. It was a natural fit: Al and Denise had already been making wine in their South Boston apartment. "I was literally spending half the day at my old job online looking at wine and grape varieties anyway," Al says. The real revelation came after-hours. "We had never tried European ciders be- fore we moved to England," Denise says. "I wasn't really into the warm cask ales in the pubs, but there were always two or three cider options." They discovered that the ciders were something entirely different than they were stateside, less Mike's Hard Lemonade and more dry Champagne. The cider-making process overlapped with Al's education—apples are essentially "big, hard grapes," he says. In the middle of his dissertation—about the tribulations of growing Riesling grapes in cold New England-esque cli- mates—Al had an epiphany: "What's the point of all that work when you can just plant an apple tree?" Upon their return to the United States, the Snapes flirted with the idea of moving out west and opening their own cider business. "The cider industry in Oregon, Washington, and California is so prominent, but if we moved to the West Coast, it's just like being in England, so far away from home," Denise says. Instead, they returned to Massachusetts in July 2013, found the old slaughterhouse on Jackson Street, painted the walls, and started sprucing up the place. With the help of a few friends, Far From The Tree began making its first batch of cider a few months later. The cider-making process isn't so far off from winemaking, and it begins with the apples. Most are Cortlands, selected for their acidity, sugar, and tannins, and all come from orchards in central Mas- sachusetts and are pressed into juice at Box Mill Farm in Stow. Al hauls the juice back in a truck, pumps it into the bar- rel room, and the fermentation process begins. While sweeter mainstream ciders ferment quickly and at high tempera- 218 Stately Solutions A pop of color in the kitchen helps make it warm and inviting, while strictly modern. tures, each barrel of Far From The Tree's cider ferments over a span of six to eight months at temperatures hovering around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The process results in the characteristic dryness and relatively high alcohol content. (The 6.9 Back to Basics A simple setup and pressed Cortland apples from Stow are at the operation's core. percent alcohol by volume is one of the reasons why the Snapes serve their cider in brandy glasses instead of pints.) Subtle variations in the process culminated in Far From The Tree's first three varietals, which came to market

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