Thirsty Thursday: Cider Beer Insider: Gluten-free Goodness


Johnny Appleseed was no stranger to cider, so why not branch out & try something new?
With so many choices, let’s get to the core!  Before I continue with a few more cider puns, I have to give a shout out to my sister, Sarah, for her cider expertise in assisting me this week.  You could say she has been conducting extensive research on apples for a few years!


A little background on ciders:

Hard cider is a fermented with fruit juice, most commonly apples & pears.  Companies use different types of apples to achieve a range of varieties in the cider from dry to sweet, or adding more sugar for more alcohol.
Woodchuck Fall (5% ABV, Middlebury, VT, Available Aug-Oct): One of the most popular and well-known ciders, it is normally the first cider people try.  Some may expand and try other ciders, but many stick to Woodchuck’s original or varieties as their favorite.  The label & taste mirror fall perfectly with leaf foliage & cinnamon & spice flavors.  Actually none of Woodchuck Seasonal Ciders will disappoint you.   Each offers a unique taste, but when you find your favorite, stock up.  Woodchuck recently ditched their green colored bottles because the green was not actually “green”; their bottles are now brown which is more readily recyclable.

Michelob Ultra Light Cider (Anheuser Busch, 4% ABV, Year round): Low-calorie and almost too easy to drink.  If you’re looking for something that’s light & refreshing with a little carbonation, this will become your go-to.

Fox Barrel Pear Ciders (Colfax, CA, 5% ABV, Year round): “100% Pear-fection,” made with West Coast pears, these ciders are tart & are infused with different fruity combinations.  My “advisor” goes with the original, however I found the Blackberry Pear a unique spin and flavor. Also is available in a box…think boxed wine!

Harpoon Honey & Pumpkin (Boston, MA, Both 4.8%) Honey (Apr-June) & Pumpkin (Aug-Oct):  Pumpkin beers are very popular, but the combination of this favorite fall fruit with another favorite- pumpkin, the adult alcoholic cider is simply delectable!  Their newest flavor available now, Honey is the perfect balance of sweet & sour, while still light!  Harpoon only entered the flavored cider trend this year, so it will be interesting to see future seasonal varietals.

Angry Orchard Elderflower (Cincinnati OH , 5% ABV, Available Feb-Summer): Something completely new & delicious.  It’s both floral & fruity combined with the apple’s sweetness.  Notice the familiar packaging?  Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams) launched this cider company in Fall 2011.

Samuel Smith Organic Cider: (UK, 5% ABV, Year round): Imported from the UK, this cider is drier than the others, but a thirst-quencher.  All Sam Smith’s ciders are certified organic.

Dogfish Positive Contact (Milton, DE, 9% ABV, Limited Availability): A beer/cider hybrid brewed with cayenne & cilantro.  This is the least sweet option and the most flavorful.  Definitely something to check out if you are looking for something different!

With cider popularity growing more & more, especially as warmer weather approaches, keep your eyes peeled for other brands to jump on the bandwagon.  And see if any of your local bars & restaurants offer any ciders, along with the usual beer & wine list.  After all, as the saying goes, “an apple a day…”


Topics: Ale, Cider, Craft Beer, Seasonal Beer, Thirsty Thursday

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