Some wine aficionados have a hard time meeting their beer-loving counterparts half way and passions can flare when one side attempts to suddenly convert the other. Enter the celebration compromise: sparkling cider, known to some as “apple wine,” but still found on the shelves of the beer section. This amazing beverage is often times a brewery’s next extension. For example, here in Florida, Cigar City Brewing branched off to bring about Cigar City Cider and Mead, a cider and mead crafter that is quickly making waves with their innovative flavor combinations. Outside of Florida, other cider makers have created works of art that answer the demand for unconventional ciders that dress up just as elegantly as bottles of champagne.
Angry Orchard’s Cider House collection is packaged in graceful 750 mL bottle that features a caged cork and stylish label design. According to Angry Orchard, the three ciders in this lineup are unique: “To bring you these new distinct styles, we experimented with juice blends, wood again, fermentation techniques, and other traditional processes…” the company explains. Upon reading that description of their special technique, even a wine connoisseur can appreciate the hard work that goes into crafting these ciders. The Iceman, one of their three ciders belonging to the Cider House collection, is oak-aged after going through a process of being frozen after the juice is harvested, a tradition of ice cider production commonly found in Quebec. Together the two processes create a bubbly cider that sparks pleasing sensations of vanilla, caramel, and apple.
Another cider maker that has created a distinctive line of special ciders is Crispin, whose line Crispin Artisanal Reserves are ciders whose “cloudy” appearance and remarkable ingredient list make their beverages a work of art. Boasting all-natural and fresh juice that is never from concentrate, Crispin takes their non-additive ciders and adds a unique twist. The Saint, part of the Artisanal Reserve line, is a cider that is fermented with one of beer-lover’s favorite yeasts: the Belgian Trappist yeast. Before going through Crispin’s cloudy filtration process that allows drinkers to experience all-natural sediment, The Saint is rounded out by the induction of organic maple syrup.
Cider has a wide array of flavor profiles, from dry to sweet, yeasty to crisp and clean, fruity to herbal—just like wine, and beer. No longer do the two sides have to face-off during dinner when beloved family members share opposing views on beverage preferences. With enough flexibility to represent the game-changing beer world of innovation while retaining the elegance and tradition of the world of wine and champagne, cider is the perfect compromise for the perfect celebration.
Makenzie Ladd, Beer Consultant Cicerone certified and Tobacconist
Follow me on Twitter @abcbeerMakenzie