Having a (literal) resident brewmaster is pretty great. And when a friend came to me asking for help creating a really memorable birthday gift for his girlfriend, Loren, we decided that a custom-made homebrew would be the perfect present.
George definitely did the brunt of the work, and I've included his recipe below. I chipped in while the last bits of fermentation were finishing up and created the name, a custom bottle and a small run of vinyl stickers to top off the gift. I'm pleased to report that she is very happy with our craft cider, and we really enjoyed dipping our toes back into the old "TunSixtyFive" brewing project from many, many years ago. (In our first apartment, #65, we mashed our first tun of malt. Ah, memories.)
To explain the name, "Loren" and her boyfriend Scott were our lovely benefactors, and all apples in the brew came from Georgia's own Mercier Orchards. Scott is notorious for his puns, so I thought a (albeit a bit of a stretch) pun would be the perfect name. (Naming beers is my favorite part of brewing. Spoken like a true non-brewer.)
Since it's a bit of a hoppy twist on the traditional hard apple cider, I illustrated the main mark to be an apple with hops in place of the traditional, single, green leaf. I added a rubber stamp texture to give it some character and an aged feel. Top it off with a free-flowing type treatment, and you've got "Loren Have Mercier!"
If you'd actually like a little "Loren Have Mercier!", I've included the recipe below. Happy brewing!
Loren Have Mercier! Hoppy Cider
4.5 gallons Mercier Orchards Apple Juice*
1 packet Safale cider yeast
1.5 oz. Cascade hops
*Mercier uses the term "Cider" for their pasteurized juice, so you're technically looking for "Cider."
Pour all containers of Mercier juice into a sanitized, 5-6 gallon carboy. Let yeast bloom at room temperature while you boil a pot of water to sanitize it. Cool the water to pitch temperature (80-90 degrees Fahrenheit) and pour in yeast to let it bloom. Aerate the juice by vigorously shaking the carboy. Pitch in the activated yeast and tightly set in the bung and airlock. Set entire carboy in a cool, dark place (preferably around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.) Let cider ferment for 10-14 days, watching for activation in the airlock. Once bubbling has stopped, put hops inside a sanitized muslin bag and tie 18-20" of thin fishing line to top of bag, lacing extra line out through carboy neck, held tightly in place by airlock and bung. (This is so your hop bag doesn't come open or get lost in the cider while it sits.) Allow 4-5 days for dry-hopping, remove hop bag, and re-seal before kegging or bottling.