Fall gives us many great beverage selections beyond my beloved pumpkin beers, one of which is apple cider. I have always adored mulled apple cider spiked with a bit of whiskey on a cold day, but there are more ways to get your apple on this fall.
Have you tried hard cider? Hard ciders are an oft-forgotten drink choice to many, but are definitely deserving of recognition. To me, ciders can be a crisp, refreshing reminder of summer but with the flavors of fall. Unfamiliar with hard ciders? Read on:
Let’s start off with the basics of what a defines a cider. Traditionally, cider is created from fermented apple juice and can be non-alcoholic like the varieties we see at farmer’s markets throughout the northeast (apple cider), or it can be left to ferment and become alcoholic (hard cider).
Like wine, hard cider comes in both dry and sweet varieties and can even be oak-aged. In color, ciders can range from almost clear to a deep amber depending on the types of apples used and the pressing and filtering process. Ciders may be made with apples primarily, but can also be made from pears. All ciders are also naturally gluten-free.
After a bad experience with Magner’s cider shortly after turning 21, I had a long-standing aversion to ciders until recently. When Angry Orchard became available in our area, I fell in love with the crazy-cool tap handle and had to try it. It quickly became one of my favorite drinks and my back-up plan when I can’t make a drink decision.
When I asked others why they enjoyed ciders, I found I agreed with the sentiment that cider provides the sweetness that beer usually lacks. Also, with the exception of sour/wild beers, ciders offer a bit of pucker that isn’t often found in beer.
So what ciders should you try? Here are a few ciders that are available to us locally:
- Woodchuck Cider: Available in many varieties, I love Granny Smith Apple
- Angry Orchard: My personal favorite is their original
- Jack’s Hard Cider: This is locally made with Pennsylvania apples by Hauser Estate Winery!
- Original Sin
- Magner’s: This Irish cider was once my sworn enemy, but we’re trying to get back together.
Do you like hard cider? Which will you try this weekend?