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ALL ABOUT CIDER

Ciders popularity all around the world comes well deserved. Made by fermenting apples or other fruits, it ranges from sweet to sour and sugary to very dry. Brewers often blend ciders with spices such as cinnamon and cloves. This delicious drinks resurgence in popularity in recent years comes from its diverse flavor options and its suitability for many different occasions. Ciders versatility also extends beyond its flavor profile; it pairs perfectly with charred meats, roasted vegetables, sharp cheeses, and even desserts like deep fried ice cream.

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History

In Europe, it found popularity during the Middle Ages when it became a commonplace drink for adults and children alike. Monasteries in particular kept orchards and worked hard perfecting recipes in an effort to produce the best ciders possible. As its popularity began to spread across the continent, so did brewing techniques such as the wooden barrels used for fermentation and transportation. By this time, cider evolved beyond simply being a ground up mixture of fruit and water; instead, it became an alcoholic beverage made from apples fermented over the course of several months. This process of producing an adult version of the beloved beverage was perfected throughout centuries in France and further spread across the continent to countries such as Spain and Italy.

How Cider is Made

Hard cider is made from fermented apple juice, also known as cider. The process of making hard cider typically involves crushing apples to extract the juice, then allowing the juice to ferment with yeast for several weeks to several months. The yeast consumes the natural sugars in the juice, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. After fermentation is complete, the hard cider is aged and bottled. The specific varieties of apples used, as well as the fermentation process, can greatly affect the flavor and character of the final product.

Types of

  • Traditional - This style of hard cider is made using only apples and is typically dry and crisp with a balanced acidity.
  • Barrel aged - Some ciders are aged in barrels, often oak, which can impart a woody or smoky flavor to the finished product.
  • Fruit infused - As mentioned earlier, some ciders are made using fruits other than apples, such as pears or berries, which can add fruity and tart flavors to the cider.
  • Spiced - Ciders that are spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, or other warm spices are often associated with the fall season and can have a sweet, warming flavor.
  • Hopped - Some ciders are brewed with hops, which can give them a bitter and floral taste similar to beer.

WHAT DOES CIDER TASTE LIKE?

Apple varieties play a significant role in determining the taste of hard cider. There are hundreds of apple varieties, each with its own unique flavor profile. Some apples are sweeter, while others are tarter, and some have a more complex flavor profile that includes hints of spices, earthiness, or floral notes. Some of the most common apple varieties used in hard cider production include bittersweet apples, which have a high tannin content and provide a rich, full-bodied flavor; sharp apples, which are tart and acidic; and sweet apples, which add a natural sweetness to the cider. The growing region of the apples used in hard cider can also have an impact on the taste of the final product. Apples grown in different regions can have different flavor profiles due to variations in climate, soil composition, and other environmental factors. For example, apples grown in cooler climates tend to have a higher acid content, which can lead to a tarter taste in the cider, while apples grown in warmer climates may have a higher sugar content, resulting in a sweeter taste. Additionally, the terroir of the growing region can impact the flavor of the apples, with different soils and microclimates contributing to unique flavor profiles. Overall, the combination of apple varieties and growing regions can result in a wide range of flavor profiles in hard cider, from sweet and fruity to tart and complex. Cider makers often experiment with different apple varieties and growing regions to create unique and interesting ciders that showcase the diversity and complexity of this beloved beverage.

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How to Drink Hard Cider

Hard ciders are a favorite for those of us that like something a little more fruity and crisp tasting than most beers, but don't want to spend time to make a cocktail. Perfect for throwing in the cooler for tailgates or beach days, hard ciders don't disappoint in being a great convenient option for a bit of fun.

Popular Cider Brands

People across the globe have professed their love for hard ciders, and thankfully alcohol companies and small business owners have taken notice as our options for the delicious fruity beverage seem to increase daily. Here are a few popular brands!
  • Angry Orchard - This brand of hard cider is known for its crisp, refreshing taste and wide variety of flavors. They offer seasonal and limited edition ciders, as well as year round classics like their Crisp Apple and Rosé ciders.
  • Strongbow - Originally from England, Strongbow is a well known brand of hard cider that has been around for over 125 years. Their ciders are made with a blend of bittersweet and culinary apples, giving them a balanced taste that is not too sweet or too tart.
  • Woodchuck - Woodchuck is an American brand of hard cider that offers a wide variety of flavors, from traditional apple to more unique options like Pear Ginger and Sangria. They use locally sourced apples and focus on sustainability in their production practices.
  • Crispin - Crispin is a craft cider company that uses fresh pressed apples in their ciders. They offer a range of unique flavor combinations, such as Honey Crisp and Pacific Pear, and also produce a line of hard seltzers.
  • Downeast Cider - They specialize in unfiltered ciders that are made with freshly pressed apples, giving them a distinct and authentic taste. Their flagship cider, the Original Blend, is a crisp and refreshing cider that is slightly sweet with a dry finish. Downeast Cider is known for their commitment to using only natural ingredients and for their support of local farmers and communities.
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