Hard Ciders for Craft Beer Lovers

by: Tierney Pomone
June 16, 2017

This past weekend, Jimi and I (and my brother as well) got together to sample something we love that isn’t beer or tequila — (hard) cider!

hard cider big hill jack's wyndridge

Our local area is home to tons of well-made and delicious ciders that are easily accessible and affordable. But, if you’re not into cider, how will you know which one to get?

Don’t worry, Jimi and I tried out a few so you don’t have to.

Jack’s Hard Cider – Dry Hopped

Biglerville, Pa.

If you’re into craft beer, there’s a pretty good chance that you like hops, and if you don’t love them, you appreciate them. We both recommend this cider for those apprehensive to try cider in the first place. This first thing you’ll notice Jack’s Hard Cider – Dry Hopped is that it finishes dry, meaning it won’t be overly sweet and sugary like some ciders can be. You’ll pick up on a hint of earthy hop flavor coming from the Cascade and Crystal hops added during fermentation. It’s a great easy drink on a hot Saturday afternoon and will create a curiosity for other ciders.

Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider

Yorkshire, UK

This was our least favorite of all of the ciders we tried. It smells sweet like apple juice, but doesn’t taste sweet. It’s a tiny bit tart, but not in an enjoyable way like a sour beer. It was kind of all over the place, and I didn’t finish my glass. While this is readily available at many locations, I recommend you steer clear when there are so many other options.

Wyndridge Crafty Cider – Original

Dallastown, Pa.

While I think that their hopped cider is the way to go, Wyndridge Farm’s original cider is delicious as well. When compared with our next selection, Big Hill Standard, it was hard to choose which one was the best. This cider is also a dry cider, which also helps placate to the craft beer drinker as it’s not overly sugary sweet. It has no added sugar and is literally pressed apples and yeast. I found this to be delicate and delightful, reminding me of a clean, light, pilsner only with apple flavor. Again, perfect on a hot day and very easy to drink.

Big Hill Ciderworks – Standard

Gardners, Pa.

This was our number one pick across the board, hands down. There’s a reason that so many local breweries and bars feature Big Hill Ciderworks as their house cider, and it surely isn’t for lack of other options. I’ve loved Big Hill’s ciders since the first time I tried them years ago, and you’ll often find me drinking this when my beer tap list isn’t up to par, or when I’ve just had enough beer. This cider is light, pale in color, and offers a champagne-like effervescence that I truly enjoyed. Again, you’ll find no added sugars in this one, just pressed apples and yeast.

Love cider? Want to learn more?

Upcoming events to check out:

We’re sending our friend/guest contributor, Lissa, to PA Cider Fest. Look for her coverage at the end of the month!

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