Art of Fermentation: Cider and Beer

Recognizing that wine isn’t the only beverage crafted in California’s wine country, my co-host Jean-Charles Boisset and I talk about the long history of apple orchards in America, and in particular, in Sonoma County—with the heart of the industry in Sebastopol. We also discuss how his family has a history of hop growing, something Jean-Charles still continues to do with hop trellises at his properties. Today, rather than tasting wine, we sample Boisset’s La Captive Cider, produced in Sonoma. We then taste the Oakville Grocery 1881 Pilsner, made with Boisset estate hops, by one of the guests on this episode Nile Zacherle.

This episode is made possible by Oakville Grocery, part of Boisset Collection, a portfolio of wineries and lifestyle destinations with strong historical and family roots.

Ethic Cider’s Ned Lawton joins us for our first interview covering his hand-crafted hard ciders from Sebastopol. With a commitment to sustainability, Lawton produces small batches of ciders from his certified organic orchards just north of Sebastopol. Using apples indigenous to the region, Lawton’s ciders range from the Golden Rule, Ethic’s signature orchard blend to the Gravitude, made from heritage varieties, to the limited-release pink-colored Scarlett, infused with blackberries and raspberries.

Next up is craft beer, or to be more specific, origin beers with Nile Zacherle, founder and brewmaster of the Mad Fritz craft beer from St. Helena. A winemaker at David Arthur, Zacherle imparts elements of winemaking into his beer making, sourcing the barley, water and even hops from specific local purveyors and areas. Mad Fritz bottle labels alone are works of art, replicating detailed drawings from Aesop’s Fables. With 40 different beers rotating in production at a given time, Zacherle continues to add to his count, creating modern takes on several well known beer styles such as pilsner, imperial rice stout, IPA and saison. Currently, Zacherle is producing a private label pilsner lager for Oakville Grocery.

Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more shows in the coming weeks. Please share across your social media channels and subscribe to get each new episode directly to your podcast feed. You can find Napa Sonoma magazine on newsstands, subscribe here, or read the digital edition online.