Time to kick back and relax with a nice cold beverage, don’t you think? Since fall is (hopefully) right around the corner, why don’t we have some hard cider?
Hard cider, you say? Do tell about this intriguing substance!
Well, alright then!
Contrary to popular American belief, hard cider is NOT a hot beverage served out of a big pot made by your fun aunt on Thanksgiving that gets the whole family in the mood to chat. It is actually an incredibly popular bottled beverage drunk primarily in England, but that has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years.
There are two primary varieties of hard cider: those that are apple based, and those made from pears.
The apple variety is the most popular, with the most variety and availability in the states.
Essentially, hard cider is simply fermented apples. That’s it. Sometimes extra sugar or flavoring is added, and yeast is used in the fermentation process, but there is not much else in there.
Pear cider (more appropriately termed “perry wine”) is made in the same way, but purists will get angry at you if you equate the two. But honestly? They are very, very similar, so suck it, purists.
It is bottled like beer, has a similarly low alcohol content, and can often be found hiding in the beer isle at the liquor store, but it is important to note that this stuff is not beer. Although both rely on yeast in their production, cider is not brewed, nor does it contain gluten, so celiac-ers out there: go crazy!
Most hard ciders have very bright, crisp tastes with only a teensy hint of alcohol, so these are perfect if you want something light, or to recommend to your light drinking friends.
Hard cider has grown immensely in popularity recently (I’m sure we have all seen the commercials where the idiot at the barbecue gets hit over his head with an apple by now…) so there are a lot of different brands to choose from. Our favorites are:
For Perry Wine: Wyder’s Pear Cider (approx. $9 for six pack)
The flavor is crisp and light without being too sweet, and the pear flavor is very prominent.
For Hard (Apple) Cider: Crispin Artisanal Reserve (approx $10 for four pack) or Woodchuck Amber Cider (approx $9 for six pack)
Both of these look and taste a bit more beer-like. They are both heavier than other ciders, and both have a more complex flavor. Crispin’s is a traditional British cider, which can be a bit bitter, but this variety adds a hint of maple syrup, which is absolutely delicious — especially in the fall months. Woodchuck’s Amber is very flavorful and pours very much like beer. Be careful when you are buying either of these — both brands make multiple cider varieties, and not all of them are created equal…
So there you have it! An easy alternative to beer, and a delectable treat for fall.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! We will see you back here on Monday.