World’s Best Ciders is the story of the world’s apple belt, a loosely defined band encircling the globe from Kazakhstan to the United States. This latitudinal stretch of land shares one common trait: the ideal conditions for apple cultivation. The apple belt forms a connective tissue between such diverse regions as the Basque Country in Spain, Somerset, England, and New York’s Hudson Valley. Each region has a long tradition of growing world-class apples and—as a result—producing some of the world’s finest ciders.
Author Pete Brown and photographer Bill Bradshaw travel from region to region for a temperature check on the people and places responsible for our global cider revival. The book’s rich stories and detailed anecdotes help justify cider as a world-class beverage with a significant past. The duo have struck the right balance of past and present by setting up the necessary context to discuss cider as a definitively “now” beverage, while giving you enough facts and figures to up your “smartypants” credibility during the next happy hour.
The partnership of Brown’s insights and Bradshaw’s intimate eye for the cider transports the book from the fields of Somerset to the drinking halls of Germany. Through Brown’s blend of dry sarcasm and general honesty, even the monolithic production houses of Bulmers Cider are as intriguing as the farmhouse cideries of France.
No book has made me want a glass of cider more than World’s Best Ciders. Its blend of allegory, history and social placating weaves the tale of the noble fermented apple as society’s savory savior. At its core, the book is a story of the major cider regions of the world. The book feels more like a hand-held journey than a guided tour and is a must-read for anyone interested in cider beyond the local pub.