Here we are in the midst of cider season. It’s a wonderful magical time of year. Few libations are more “American” than hard cider. This was the drink of choice in the taverns of the American colonies. Our forefathers lamented British tyranny over a tankard of locally pressed hard cider.
Fast-forward to today where craft beer has become the drink of choice for many of us. Like beer, hard cider can be a mass-produced industrial product, or, an artfully crafted pure quality adult beverage. The spectrum between these very different fermentations are just as wide as those in the beer industry. In-Bev’s Johnny Appleseed, and Miller-Coors’ Smith & Forge are the Budweiser and Miller Lite of the cider world. Some would argue that in that realm, the gap between mega-production and craft is even larger than in beer, because industrial cider uses water to reconstitute concentrate instead of using pure fresh pressed apple juice.
In recent years, both industrial and craft cider have been picking up steam and growing fast as an alternative to beer. There are many reasons for this. First off, cider rides the wave of the craft beer boom. A large part of craft beer culture is in trying new things. Whether it’s the latest hopped-up American Pale Ale, or a new dark Barley wine. Exploration is part of the fun. And now, many craft beer drinkers are trying cider, and loving it. Hard cider’s fresh, crisp, and dry characteristics are a nice change up to malty beers. Because hard cider has roughly the same alcohol content as craft beer, those who are adverse to hop or roasted grain bitterness have found a new friend in hard cider. Also, cider is gluten free which important consideration to many of us. As few as five years ago, seeing a hard cider on tap was somewhat of a novelty. Now, it’s not uncommon to see several cider options on tap.
So if you’re a person who appreciates an artfully crafted alternative to beer, you’re not alone. If you’re a pub, bar or restaurant owner, it may behoove you to get a quality local craft cider on tap soon.