THE MANY FACES OF CIDER
Just like our go-to beverages - beer, wine and spirits - they come in an assortment of varieties and flavours. You can go down the list of each category of beverage and come up with wildly different styles, for example a savory Cabernet Sauvignon versus a fruity Pinot Gris. Crisp Lager versus a rich Stout. The list goes on and on, but the same applies on hard ciders. There is a variety of flavours waiting for you to uncover.
At its essence, a hard cider is an alcoholic beverage made with fermented apple juice, and there are a multitude of hard cider styles that exist. Up until April of this year, I have only had one style of cider - the overly sweet, carbonated and low ABV type. With the growing cider movement, the sky is the limit. In the following section we will explore some of the more common cider styles found around the world.
New England Ciders
New England style ciders are an evergreen staple in the cider world. These ciders typically have a dry finish and accompanied by a higher ABV content due to the higher concentration of sugars found in the apples used. Try a can of Bantam's Wunderkind, made from fresh pressed New England apples & orange Blossom Honey.
At its base, a scrumpy cider is an English-style cider that is unfiltered, farm-based cider that has a dry rustic flavour due to the gunk mixed into the cider. To 'scrump' is to steal fruit from the orchard, but in this context Scrumpy ciders are made from ripe, fallen apples - sans the criminal act of stealing. Regardless these apples thus had the time to get comfy with mother nature and has inherited all of its rustic goodness. Spokane Scrumpy Cider from Liberty Cider is a classic, if you'd like to give this style a try.
To the caveman such as myself, when I think of French alcohol, the act of popping champagne bottles comes to mind. The same holds true for French ciders that are characteristically more bubbly in nature. This all occurs within an 'au-natural bottle conditioning process to help the cider achieve the champagne-like qualities. Sidenote the French created the definition of daytime drinking - French ciders are traditionally served at breakfast with savory buckwheat crepes! Eric Bordelet's Poiré Granit is worth a try
Remember the time that you had kombucha or wild ale - one sip of the potent beverage causing your face to puckle up in a wrinkle? That's what Spanish style ciders does to you. It has a bone-dry, acidic, and funky as hell flavor. Unless you are into these sort of flavour profiles, Spanish ciders will be an acquired taste. That said give it a try, you might aquire a liking for it. Maeloc’s Dry Hard Cider is a classic.
Ice ice baby... any beverage that has ice as a prefix typically has a naturally sweet but balanced acidity flavor, perfect for your aftermeal dessert drink. Similar to the production of Ice wine, Ice cider is made by concentrating the apple juice by freezing it before fermenting into cider. This freezing process allows the sugars and acid to concentrate. Eve's Cidery located at the at the intersection of the Southern Finger Lakes and the Northern Appalachian Plateau makes the delectable 2017 Essence which goes great with cheese and cookies.