Food & Drink

Food & Drink: Cheers! Your guide to hard cider

When it comes to alcohol Im an extremely picky drinker.
I hate beer and my love of whiskey is cursed with the fact that I’m a lightweight. For these reasons I am a fan of hard cider. Hard cider is what you get when you press apples for their juice, add yeast and then let it ferment. Most hard ciders are between 2-5% alcohol by volume. Hard cider is a refreshing alternative to beer and hard liquor and isn’t super expensive. Don’t know which hard cider is good and which one is crap? I’ve created a list of 5 hard ciders you should know about. Cheers!

1. Woodchuck $8.99 for a 6 pack of 12oz bottles
Produced in Vermont, Woodchuck is the top selling hard cider in the U.S. The original Amber version has a golden color and a crisp finish. The word “crisp” will be used a lot in this article so heads up. Woodchuck is reminiscent of ginger-ale, with hints of vanilla and very suggestive of apples. This is one of the first hard ciders I ever tried, it’s good but nothing to write home about.

2. Crispin $7.49 for a 4 pack of 12oz bottles
One thing the people at Crispin really want you to know is that their cider is meant to be enjoyed over ice. Literally anything you find on them says that a dozen times. Crispin is crisp, not very sweet and is made with US West coast apples. The taste is fresh and has a crunchy apple nose but if you’re looking for a sweet cider this isn’t the brand for you.

3. Original Sin $10.99 for a 6 pack of 12oz bottles
For the longest Original Sin was my favorite. Maybe it’s because it’s a little sweet and sour just like myself or maybe it’s because I felt like a badass ordering it at bars. Either way Original Sin is definitely worth trying. It’s a traditional dry cider that is fermented with two types of champagne yeast. Produced in New York, this hard cider is complex and refreshing.

4. Cidre $7.49 for a 4 pack of 12oz bottles
Cidre is the newest cider created by Stella Artois. I didn’t even know Stella had a cider until I was offered one in a bar in Wicker Park. This European-style hard cider is made with hand picked apples and has hints of peach and apricot. Cidre lacks the complexity of other ciders. While I was drinking it all I could think of was “this kind of taste like Stella”. I don’t know if they use the same barrels or what but this hard cider taste like beer. I can’t help but think Stella Artois created Cidre just to make money off the hard cider market and didn’t actually put research into what cider is supposed to be.

5. J.K. Scrumpy’s $6.99 for a 22oz bottle
I was having lunch at my favorite diner one day, Silver Cloud, and asked for a cider. I told the bartender to bring me his favorite and he brought me J.K. Scrumpy Orchard Gold Gate cider. After one sip I was hooked. Scrumpy’s is made in Michigan where the same family-owned farm has been producing hard cider for over 100 years. Each batch is handmade with just juice and yeast; super simple but super delicious. Definitely recommend trying it, it’s the best.

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