Ok, ok, you caught us this is technically not a beer, it’s CIDER, but hey, it’s often served in a pint glass. So, let’s dive right into that glass and learn a little more on this “non-beer drinkers” drink 🙂
Cider or more specifically hard cider, is an alcoholic beverage produced from the fermentation of juice from the apple. While the concept of cider is very simple, there are many variations on this lovely and ancient drink. Ciders can be sweet, tart, light, refreshing, barreled-aged, high in alcohol, low in alcohol, mixed with other fruits, clear, murky, dark, white, sparkling, still, made with wine yeast, made with beer yeast, made from filtered apple juice or unfiltered apple juice/cider. Are you getting the picture yet? Ciders are crazy complex, however they are fairly simple to make. Basic cider is made by dumping yeast into apple juice, unlike beer there are not multiple steps with mash and boil time.
Cider dates back to the BC era (before cans), that’s why you mostly see it in bottles (ba-dum-chh). It’s debatable when cider first hit the civilization market. There is evidence that apples were grown as early as 1300 BC, but whether they were used for cider is unclear. Cider comes on record in the era of Julius Caesar, around 55 BC. By the ninth century cider was well established in Europe. Cider was also the newly colonized America’s beverage of choice, where apples, not grains were plentiful. As beer became more plentiful in America, the popularity of cider decreased, then was wiped out with Prohibition. It’s slowly seen a return as the popularity of craft beer and artisan brewing grows.
Ciders are not really broken down into styles per say. The basic cider styles are still or sparkling, and level of sweetness. Though included under the brewing style of Cider, we also have Perry. Perry is like Cider, except it’s made with pears not apples. Cider is it’s own beverage category. It’s actually more similar to wine than beer, but it likes to hang with the craft crowd.
Guys, I went super out of the box on my cider picks here:
California 101 IPC, Los Angeles, CA
So the IPC stands for India Pale Cider, it’s a hopped cider! I could not pass that up. This is the first hopped cider I’ve ever tried and I really enjoyed it. The beer store guy said this cider was really funky, but I didn’t get that.
Smell: It smells dry, similar to wine. It doesn’t smell juicy or sweet.
Taste: Very light and very dry. A bit of citrus comes through I think from the hops, but not overly hoppy per say. Clean, super dry, citrus, tart with a slight bitterness but more of a dryness. Not very cider or apple tasting. This is wild fermented, but it did have that funky or sour taste often associated with wild fermentation. It came across much more clean than I was expecting given the fermentation, and it is not filtered, or pasteurized. This was unlike anything I’ve tried before. If I was given a glass of this with no information, I would have a hard time saying what it was. I would 100% get this again, and probably will. They have two other versions, so I need to try those too. Also, the color was super yellow. I included a picture, it was so brightly colored. The ABV is 6.9%.
Padre Nat’s ¡Tepache!, Portland, OR
First things first, this is actually not a cider. It’s tepache, not a cider since it does not have apples. I didn’t quite realize that when I picked it up. I thought oh pineapple cider, how interesting. Anyway…
Smell: Pineapple and spice. Very Christmas in smell. Cinnamon, clove and maybe nutmeg?
Taste: It hits you like this: tart, pineapple, and then SPICE. The spice is like a punch. Even though I say tart it seems sweet, I think because the spice is so cloying. I pretty much hated it. It was way too much spice, and I know for sure it had clove. It gave you that numb tongue feel that cloves do. It was just not good. I only managed a few sips. It’s also not really carbonated at all. They recommend mixing it with beer, which I also tried, and still hated it. Not only was it not a cider, but it was terrible. Epic fail.
So, how did your adventures in cider fare? What is the most unusual cider you have tried?