Hard cider is not beer, nor is it even a malted beverage by definition. However it is a part of every beer section in every adult beverage store in America. Hard cider has been around for quite some time and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. It is the near perfect beverage for every age (21+, of course). Ciders can be dry or sweet, and some even have additional fruit flavors for more variety. They are the perfect introduction drink to those who do not drink beer. They are also great for seasoned beer drinkers who are in search of something lighter and more refreshing. They even make the perfect complement to other styles of beer.
For those who do not drink often or do not like the taste of beer, hard cider is the perfect alternative. It has a delicate flavor that won’t scare people away, yet it is complex enough to leave them wanting more. There are a number of cider brands and they are all delicious in their own right. Strongbow or Crispin are great for someone looking for something drier, and Magners is ideal if you want something with more sweetness. Flavored ciders range from pear to raspberry to strawberry, and they are typically light and refreshing, perfect for the entry level drinker or as an escape from a warm summer day. I tend to believe that even the most dedicated craft beer drinker has a go-to hard cider. The many styles of beer are all delicious, but from time to time we just need something different, and cider gives us that something different, while still allowing us to still enjoy a deliciously crafted beverage.
And if you’re looking for something really different, ciders are great for making beer cocktails. Have a black velvet with Guinness and cider. Maybe a snake bite with Harp and a cider. Mix your cider with a flavored lambic and create a new drink. You can even mix cider and schnapps. The possibilities are endless. I urge you to find a cider that fits your style. You will then have a drink when you aren’t in the mood for your favorite beer, or you just want to experiment with creating new cocktails.
Patrick Miller, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits beer consultant – Venice
Follow me on Twitter @abcbeerpatrickm
Read more about cider in our upcoming edition of Off Tap., available June 1, or read the current edition here.