I Find it Hard to Care About Hard Cider

apple-worm-cider

There’s something about hard cider that makes me pucker.

It started a few years back when I saw the stuff stacked shoulder-to-shoulder with craft beers at my local beer store. What was this fruity interloper doing here? It has more in common with champagne than craft beer!

I saw a scenario in my head where a curious shopper had wandered into the beer aisle, looking for something new to try.  Instead of reaching for a Chimay or Lindeman’s Framboise, or a Southern Tier Chokolat and having their craft beer “a-ha” moment, they reached for a cider and wind up becoming obsessed with fu-fu apple drinks instead of coming into the craft beer fold. Noooooooo! 

I received an email about a year ago from a PR person with one of the big cider players (and there are players – sales of hard cider have tripled in the past five years, and it’s now a $600 million segment).

She offered to send me a selection of her company’s ciders, and I said please do, planning to write about them for my Today.com column.  I figured it was time to see what ciders were all about.  I even picked up a couple of other bottles on my own to round out the selection I would review.

But then something happened: nothing.

I couldn’t bring myself to crack one open and give it a taste.  I wasn’t exactly repulsed, but my aversion to cider kept me from reaching into the box and pulling one out.  First they sat on the dining room table, then they were relegated to the garage, where they are currently mouldering.

I’m sure hard ciders are nice enough, but my stupid “craft beer versus the world” mentality keeps me from giving them a shot, mostly because I don’t like the fact that they are sold in an area of the store that pits them against craft beers.  I see them as noise, or in the same light as the Shock Tops and Batch 19’s of the world, trying to make a buck off the back of the craft beer revolution, and that keeps me away.

Hey, I never said my aversion to the stuff was logical.

What about you – ciders, or no?

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Author:Jim Galligan

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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81 Comments on “I Find it Hard to Care About Hard Cider”

  1. King
    June 4, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    I love the fact a plastic worm (pumpkin seed color I think) used to catch fish is inside the apple. I say no to ciders…I know many females who enjoy them.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      I say no as well, but I usually try something before I dismiss it. But in the case of ciders, I can’t seem to generate a damn about them.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Oh! That was a worm! [removes mind from gutter]

      • June 4, 2013 at 10:34 am #

        What did you think, it was a Washington Glory apple? ;)

  2. June 4, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Apparently craft beer imposter Shock Top sees cider as a threat with their latest seasonal apple crisp. More like cider than beer!

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Shock Top sent me that stuff in a cute little wooden crate that was made so cheaply that the staples holding the bottom on the thing scratched the dickens out of my kitchen table. I think all six are in the garage with the ciders. It’s a graveyard of regret out there!

      • June 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

        You should send them the bill for a new table…

      • June 5, 2013 at 7:49 am #

        I have actually been slightly intrigued by hard ciders – but not enough to substitute a bottle (or glass) of craft beer for a cider. Thus, my tastebuds will remain ignorant on the subject.

  3. June 4, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    I’m with you, Jim.

    No. Even though they are as American as Johnny Appleseed. I just don’t want to have one. They are as close to beer as wine or hard lemonade are.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      I think they belong with the wine, or wherever in the store Kahlua-branded drinks are sold. If that was the case, I probably would’ve written reviews about them by now, like I did with meads for Today.com.

  4. June 4, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    I’m with you. In my early college days, when I was just figuring out how to drink, I once bought a sixer of Hornsby’s cider. It was cloyingly sweet and unpleasant. I still can’t imagine anyone wanting to drink more than one of them.

    That’s why I’ve armed myself with the knowledge of which delicious sweeter-side craft beers to recommend to my (mostly female) friends who “don’t like beer,” because it’s never too late to save somebody from a life of hard lemonades, Smirnoffs, and limeritas.

    On that note, however, I have been known to occasionally enjoy a mixed beer/cider drink from time to time. Maybe that’s the real trick for appreciating a cider- finding which ones mix intriguingly well with some of your favorite craft beers. Hrmm, this may require some research.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      I’m sure it varies by cider, and there are lovely sweet and dry ones out there, but I’ll likely never know.

      Speaking of mixing, I made my own shandy over the weekend, mixing one part Paulaner Hefe-Wizen and one part Sanpelligrino Limonata, a carbonated lemonade. Magical!

      • June 4, 2013 at 10:35 am #

        I’ll add that to my to-do list.

        My girlfriend (who I’m proud to say has a healthy appreciation for craft beers) and I have been experimenting with shandies (which I insist upon calling Radlers for my German heritage). Real Ale Fireman’s 4 and Saint Arnold Summer Pils mixed with fresh lemonade are both delicious in a scorching hot Texas afternoon.

        • June 4, 2013 at 10:38 am #

          Pro Tip: Always use carbonated lemonade or else the whole thing goes kinda flat and you miss out on those refreshing little bubbles. It makes a big difference for me – try it out!

  5. June 4, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    I like hard cider, even make it myself sometimes, but it’s not beer. It really belongs in the wine section, because that’s what it is. Please don’t compare it to Shock Top, though, unless it’s a really poor quality.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      I agree with you David – it belongs with the sparkling wines or even the Mike’s Hard Lemonade. And I wasn’t making a quality comparison to Shock Top, I was saying that the strategy of placing cider with the craft beer is similar to that employed by the big brewers and their faux craft offerings – neither belong with honest craft beers. I’m sure there are some wonderful ciders out there.

      • David Kjos
        June 4, 2013 at 11:07 am #

        Nooo! Not with the Mike’s! Mike’s is flavored junk beer. But isn’t the product placing the store’s fault?

        Cider making is a craft, involving the blending of apple varieties for different feels and flavors. But, unlike beer brewing, it doesn’t take much skill or knowledge to make a good-enough cider. I make a good definitely-not-craft cider from grocery store juice, a little sugar, and ale yeast. If you’re not completely turned off to it, I’d recommend trying some Angry Orchard varieties made by Boston Brewing.

        • June 4, 2013 at 11:12 am #

          That’s what’s in the garage. ;)

  6. June 4, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    I have to disagree. Cold Pressed Small Batch cider is refreshing when it is hot as hell out and I don’t want to slurp through a double IPA. However, table beers, saisons, sessions, good lagers, they are all awesome in the summer heat. As are Kolsh(s), Biere de Garde, Bier de Mars, Pilsners. There are plenty of beer opportunities, but, if you are supporting the local scene, ciders can be an interesting branch out.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      I think if I was someplace where they made the stuff, I’d enjoy the hell out of it. It just doesn’t belong in the beer aisle!

      • June 4, 2013 at 10:53 am #

        I agree. And being in VT, we have a plethora of apples and some really great local ciders. I don’t go out of my way for it, but it is much more akin to wine. You use wine yeast, not ale yeast, you use champagne yeast too. I wonder what lager yeast would do to it. Hmmm

  7. June 4, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    I like them every now and then, usually when I want something that is lighter than the typical craft beer. However, I always stick to either Strongbow or Angry Orchard (which, according to press reports, is made by Boston Beer). As for store placement, I can’t speak for every store but the one I work at just doesn’t have enough room, so the ciders usually end up sandwiched between big beer and craft beer.

    • June 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

      I’ve noticed them in those brackish waters as well, but I always wonder what a grainless fruit beverage is doing in the beer aisle. I think I have a strongbow, a Crispin and a few Angry Orchard selections at home, but it’s been about a year. I wonder how long cider lasts.

  8. June 4, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I’ve always liked cider, if only for another option in my drinking retinue. Most I find too sweet, but there are a few out there that are delightfully tart, that perfectly hit the spot on an oppressively hot day. They’re also fun to brew, because you can go crazy with the fruit (and do things like rent a giant mechanical cider press). To each their own, I suppose!

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      I think I’d like to play with a cider press – I love apples and fruity beers.

  9. Greg H.
    June 4, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I agree, ciders aren’t for me. When we were in Northern Europe a few years back my wife fell in love with Bulmer’s cider, but it’s not available here as far as I can tell. If it was, she’d be buying it. If I want a beer that is a bit sweet, I’ll go for one of the flavored wheat beers, but that’s not very often.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      I had excellent cider when I was in the Basque region of Northern Spain many years ago. But that was right from the barrel, so I imagine it’d be hard to replicate.

      Still, if your wife digs ciders, you should start working through what’s out there – it’s a booming segment and there are always new offerings popping up, some of them are very sophisticated and certainly would please your lady.

      Unfortunately, you’ll likely find them in the craft beer aisle!

      • dplittle
        June 5, 2013 at 10:18 am #

        I’m with you Jim that good cider is more akin to champagne. In fact, I fell in love with ciders from Normandy on a trip there and now use Cidre Dupont Reserve from Etionne Dupont as my “champagne.” They also make a cider/Calvados blend called Pommeau de Normandie that is my current favorite aperitif.

    • June 6, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      I’m not much of a cider drinker, but I can tell you that Magner’s is the North American name given to Bulmer’s, since apparently the trademark for Bulmer’s was held by someone else in the US. It’s my understanding that the company is transitioning their whole operation to the Magner’s name, so you may not be able to find Bulmer’s even in Europe anymore.

  10. Brendan
    June 4, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Frame it another way: scorching summer day (we’ve already had some) – do you want a Bud Uranium, or a Woodchuck?

    Yeah, there is definitely Big Cider out there, part of the portfolio for some of the eviler conglomerates out there, but cider is also small-town friendly.

    It is a traditional, colonial-era American way of producing ethanol and besides, if it’s a gateway to craft beer, what is the harm? You can taste, and enjoy the taste of, something with alcohol but without the fake fruit flavors (Hell or High Watermelon?)

    Let’s name the elephant in the room: cider ain’t no wine cooler.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:50 am #

      I agree that cider can be local, refreshing, tasty and has a history in the USA. It just doesn’t belong in the craft beer section (neither do the wine coolers). :)

      • Jason
        August 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

        I guess my problem with this whole thread is where in the hell does your “section” end, i mean the Store puts pasta sauce on the same row as the noodles, but no one can claim they are the same, at some point the craft beer section ends and the “other” sections begin. I say get over it and try a few yourself. You can’t say you would have reviewed some already if they were “in another section” that is a cop-out. If you want a wall separating them, imagine one.

  11. June 4, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Having grown up in New England where cider is plentiful and with grandparents that owned a farm, I enjoy hard ciders just as much as craft beer. However, I firmly believe that each has a unique place in the world of tasty libations. Think of it this way… craft beer is to coffee, as hard cider is to tea; not everyone likes both but typically people enjoy one of the two. In my humble opinion, creating a well balanced cider is just as much an art form as developing a craft beer. I think it’s also important to note that many hard ciders and craft beers on grocery store shelves are not truly “craft” products.

    • June 4, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Your comment makes me wonder, are there requirements established by the cider equivalent of the Brewers Association (if there is such a thing) that states which brands are truly “craft” and which are not?

      Anyway, I agree that crafting a fine cider akin to crafting a fine beer, but then the same could be said for a fine sparkling wine, which also doesn’t belong to be lumped in with craft beer. That’s my main beef with cider – it’s sparkling apple wine.

  12. June 4, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    I’m not that enthused by ciders, though I wouldn’t take such a hard line against them. I view them in the same light as meads. Neither takes the place of a good beer, but both have their qualities.

    • June 4, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      Mead mostly gives me the willies because it’s too sweet. I think it’s a neat beverage, but not something I’d crave or really seek out. Cider falls into this category for me as well, and the fact that it’s mostly sold in the craft beer aisle makes me even less inclined to embrace it.

      • dplittle
        June 5, 2013 at 10:13 am #

        Jim, you need to try some others meads. Honey is, by nature, 100% fermentable so given to it’s own devices, mead can be bone dry. Check out Moonlight Meadery in New Hampshire.

  13. Matt
    June 4, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Jim, I understand your concern with the infringement upon craft beer and it being misplaced among them. However, I do quite enjoy a crisp, dry cider on a hot day, sometimes even over a few ice cubes like they do it across the Atlantic. I’d recommend you take the quick trip up to Warwick Valley Winery and enjoy their fine ciders (Doc’s is the brand name), plus the wines and spirits are excellent too. They are a multi-generational family small business and it’s a gorgeous location.

    • June 4, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      That’s a good idea, Matt. I’ve been there once years ago and remember it fondly. I also see Docs at some of the local shops around me. Maybe that’s my way in…

      • Matt
        June 4, 2013 at 11:07 am #

        Oh sure, you can find them at all the bottle kings and buy rites. I’d recommend the Pear (perry), seems to be the driest of the lot and very refreshing. I also know of a few guys in the process of getting a cider house up and running in North Jersey, far enough along to be worth mentioning.

  14. Barleywhiner
    June 4, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    There’s a pretty big difference between the artificial color and flavor of a Woodchuck and the better ciders. If you can find Crispin or Cidre Dupont in your neck of the woods, give them a shot. Crispin’s Bird on Wire or the Cidre Reserve from Dupont are seriously tasty beverages.

    • June 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      I think I have a Crispin in the garage. I had better get the duster…

  15. Diss Content
    June 4, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Let’s see, it contains alcohol and is in an ornate bottle….. that goes into the craft beer section- NOT.

    Would one expect to find the Night Train Express, Thunderbird, and Boxed ‘wines’ to be displayed next to the Bordeaux offerings? Not for a nanosecond. Wine grapes sell in a range of $600 (yes 600) to $6,500 per ton in California; any guesses on which may supply the superior crush? One will be subject to traditional craft fermentation, where the other product will see something more closely resembling petroleum refining. This may be viewed as snobbery, but I see it as keeping the picture noise and chaff free for the consumer interested in a specialized item.

    Same for craft beer; this shouldn’t be some complex fish nor fowl category, simply because it isn’t this complex of a task. I think the craft beer aisles should have hardwood floors (by law), back lighting, and smoking jackets available to wear while you browse the hallowed section of brews. Make entry into the craft beer domain an accomplishment and honor. That’s what I would do in my perfect world, and in my mind…. I already have.

    • June 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      I’m ready to cast my vote – Diss Content in 2014!!

  16. Craig Hartinger
    June 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Consider a group of six or eight beer drinkers at a pub. Maybe there is one person in the group who just doesn’t like beer, or who is gluten intolerant. Maybe that person would feel awkward with a glass of wine or a highball – or maybe that person just prefers the taste of cider over beer.
    I respectfully suggest that cider fits pretty well into craft beer culture, considering alcoholic strength, color, conditioning, serving size & glassware. Personally, I prefer beer but I am always glad to see ciders available.
    (Bias acknowledgement: I work for an importer of beers and cider.)

    • June 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      First – THANK YOU for acknowledging your bias. Many people with a dog in the fight don’t, and it always ends badly for them. I appreciate your transparency.

      It’s the gluten free thing that makes me think about taking another (or a first) stab at craft ciders. I’ve had a lot of eople ask me about good gluten-free beers, an animal that doesn’t exist as far as I can tell (none I’ve had have been worth paying for). Cider is a good alternative for these folks, and I keep thinking I should bone up on them so I can help gluten-intolerant folks hook up with something they like.

  17. Wendi
    June 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    I think I remember a teenage version of yourself enjoying hard cider in San Sebastian Spain, Astigarraga Spain to be exact. Where I live, in the Basque Country, Cider and Beer do compete for the same drinking “time”. And yes, I would often choose a good craft beer over a cider but filling your glass out of a 20,000 liter barrel in the bowels of a Cider Mill like Petritegui in Astigarraga is a pretty inique experience.now that you’re all grown up, I think you’re due for another visit!

    • June 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      I agree wholeheartedly. I once posted here that my favorite drinking experience of all time was at that cideria, and I beleive I stated in these here comments that I loved that Basque hooch while I was there, especially the “good stuff” from the secret room.

      It looks like I’ll be back soon enough – maybe Em can hold her rehearsal dinner there!

      • Wendi
        June 4, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

        I think a rehesal dinner at the Cider Mill is an excellent idea…but we’ll need to check with the bride to be!

        • June 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

          Aw, do we have to ask? Can’t you just TELL HER WHAT TO DO?!!

  18. atattooedtale
    June 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    I did a cider tasting for my Beer Club once (most of the people that come to my beer club aren’t big beer people). We had some mass produced and some local craft ciders. Most were so sickly sweet, I could barely get through them. Which, I imagine, is why they sell so well.

    • June 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      Sounds like an episode of See Dad Run.

      Also, I have no life beyond my kids!

  19. June 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    I make Hard Cider and Apple Jack Too. The Jack comes from a Still. I make 90% beer, but I like to make Mead and cider. That being said…..No way does Hard Cider belong in the Beer aisle. Put it next to Mike’s hard lemonade and the wine coolers.

    • June 5, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      That’s all I ask as well – I’d probably be a cider fan by now if that’s where it was placed (but I bet cider sales wouldn’t be doing so well if they did so).

  20. June 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    I love cider :)

    • June 5, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      I love beer :)

  21. Chris Slaby
    June 4, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    One the one hand, if you don’t like it then you just don’t like it. I don’t think there’s any reason to think that you have to or that you should have to like it. However, as a devoted fan of good beer, for me, the things that make good beer enjoyable are the same things that make good cider enjoyable. (Also, for me, being in New England there’s a sense of both closeness with nature and history with an apple-based adult beverage.) I have not tried a huge variety of cider, but I’ve had a number of good beverages from a few different producers, e.g., Farnun Hill Ciders in NH, Bantam in Cambridge, MA, and even Boston’s own Harpoon produces a cider (with an ale yeast!) that I enjoy very much. To each his own! If you find a cider or two that does it for you, then enjoy. If not, there’s still plenty of beer!

    • June 5, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      I think that’s part of the problem, Chris – there’s so many beers to explore, that I feel like I’m wasting time on ciders. This is not the reasoning of a smart man, BTW. :)

  22. June 4, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    We make cider from our own & neighbor’s apples. Juice goes right from the press to the carboy with nothing added but ale yeast. It’s nothing like the nasty crap from the grocery store, but it also varies from year to year depending on weather and other variables.

    I can’t drink as much beer as I used to due to wheat issues, so a cold dry homegrown cider is a good alternative. We also brew beer, gruit, mead, wine, so it’s not like we don’t know the spectrum.

    A good craft cider doesn’t have water, concentrate, added sugar (in any form), malic acid, and so on. It has apple-squeezins and yeast. Read the label and buy quality.

    I think grocery store placement is about capitalizing on the craft/homegrown thing, plus some marketing towards people with an alcoholic sweet tooth. Real cider is about fermented apple goodness.

    -Joanna

    • June 5, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      Sounds easier than homebrewing, that’s for sure. What kind of apples do you prefer for making cider?

      • June 5, 2013 at 11:49 am #

        Right now it’s a mix of what our neighbor grows (dessert apples), what he gets from other farmers (dessert apples), and the few young ciderapple trees we planted some years ago. We’ve done one batch all Kingston Black which was dry and very refreshing. We also use Ashmead’s Kernal, which isn’t normally considered a cider apple, but makes some wonderful cider anyway, blended or straight. http://www.povertylaneorchards.com/farnum-hill-ciders/the-ciders/ashmeadse/

        I’m planning to try dry hopping a batch this fall too. I’ve tasted one dry-hopped craft cider but the hops were pretty mild.

        -Joanna

        • June 5, 2013 at 11:54 am #

          Cool info, Joanna. I’d be very curious to see what the hops do for the cider – my first thought is they’d ruin the party with their bitterness (I just had a shandy, a lemonade-beer hybrid, that was too hoppy and spoiled the dry, sweet finish).

        • June 5, 2013 at 11:57 am #

          I love to experiment! I’m hoping a nice citrusy Cascade or Centennial, or some of our homegrown (and less bitter) hops will be interesting.

          Good luck if you decide to take the cider plunge! Just not into the mass-craft junk :)

  23. June 5, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    I could write a book agreeing and (mostly) disagreeing with the statements in this thread. We (downeastcider.com) are a craft hard cider company based in Boston, and seem to be the antithesis of everything you believe about cider. If you want to dig deeper into this, I would LOVE to get into it with you. I think we could have a heck of a debate. Let us know if you’re interested.

    – Ross

    • June 5, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Screw debates, Ross – lets talk samples! Are you guys distributed in NJ?

      • June 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

        From what I read above, any samples you get end up in your garage “graveyard,” and in my biased opinion, that’s not a place I want to see our hard work end up. If you’re ever in the Boston area, stop by our facility in Charlestown and we’ll give you all the cider you can drink, and we’ll be there to make sure you drink it!

        Also, if you’re actually going to give something a try, avoid the larger companies. I’m not going to name names, but I know for a fact that many of those companies use Chinese apple concentrate. It’s cheap as shit, and tastes that way too. They do a good job trying to seem small, local, craft, whatever, but they’re not, that’s just the marketing budget derived form the money they saved by using shitty ingredients.

  24. Jeff
    June 5, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Wouldn’t these small cider producers fall into the category of “craft?” 1. Less than 6 million barrels per year. 2. Independant. 3. Traditional. Although they aren’t “beer” per say, they fit into the “craft” section. They belong in that section just as much as any craft IPA. Plus, where else would you put them? Next to the olive oil?

    • June 5, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      I think you could say the same thing about many sparkling wine producers as well, Jeff. That’s where I’d put them, which is a clear indication that I shouldn’t be running a bottle shop, as most of the good ones put it with the craft beer. :)

  25. Mr. BurpyMan
    June 5, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    Jim, you’re comparing “craft” beer to “mass-market” cider and deciding that cider isn’t worth your while. It’s understandable — the only cider you can readily buy in much of the US is mass-market stuff that is often characterized as “alco-pop”. Still, it’s like I went and tried Bud/Miller/Coors and then decided that beer sucked. (Which I did back in the early 1980’s and then started home-brewing.)

    Since I’m in my 50’s — I can remember the backlash to small craft brewers 25+ years ago. Beers with flavors or character were just so far out of people’s expectations and experiences that they dismissed it. (Dark beer? They’d make a face and refuse.) It takes time to change expectations and open peoples minds. Because of people’s experiences with cider, it’s in the same position today. People who like it, don’t like “craft” cider (this isn’t super-appley-sweet!) and people who don’t like it won’t try the “real” thing.

    There’s magic happening in the cider world right now. Craftsmen/women of epic talent and dedication. But you probably can’t find them easily. Seek out a local, small, hard cider producer — if you’re in Virginia, New York, New Hampshire, Chicago-land, CO, OR, WA then you’re in good shape. Otherwise you might have to wait a while to see what’s going on. Cider bars like UpCider in San Fran, Bushwhacker in Portland, and the soon-to-open Capitol Cider in Seattle are also good places to try a lot of different styles in one place. (And there -are- a lot of different styles with cider, as you can imagine if you’ve had sidra in Spain.)

    IMO the apples matter a lot. Many makers are using “dessert” apples not cider apples – which have more tannin, acid (and resulting taste/character) in the fermented product. It takes a while to grow apples so the growth of really good/traditional cider might take a few decades just like craft beer did. But it’s out there now, and if you can find the “real thing” then your mind just might be blown. Just forget what you think you know about ciders and start with a clean slate.

    • June 5, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Well when you put it like that, cider sounds pretty awesome.

  26. tom schoonover
    June 5, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I think real craft cider is threatening some of the sales of craft beer. Maybe that is why Mr. Beer is not trying real craft, locally produced cider, he is threatened by it. It does belong next to the micro brews and beer and yes those fruity, sugar laced “ciders”. Largest growing segment of the beverage market last two years if i recall correctly.
    Your attitude towards cider is almost childish, throw in garage and forget about it, its better the you are a beer snob as the cider world does not need yopu or your stupid reply.
    Cheers, Tom

    • June 5, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      I’m not threatened by it exactly, Tom. I’m just sharing my gut reaction to the segment, which I agree isn’t very well thought out (not sure if it’s childish, but it’s certainly not enlightened). I do this kind of stuff here from time to time, and I usually wind up getting motivated to let my hang ups go and try something new.

      I hope this reply was stupid enough for you. :)

  27. Diss Content
    June 5, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    I agree that things which qualify as hand crafted, in small batches, and traditional, should be included in the ‘Craft Beer’ section of any store. I’m sure I’m not the only one aghast at the intentional exclusion of Amish furniture. There’s a long and rich legacy of table and stool manufacture which rightfully belongs with ales, porters and stouts, rather than being unfairly sequestered to antique shops and eastern Pennsylvania. Don’t most people drink beer while seated? I simply don’t understand why I have to experience a crushing disappointment every time I go to the beer aisle looking for a cane-back chair.

    And what do most people enjoy as a primary pairing with beer? Vegemite. This is yet another abomination where a product made of spent brewer’s yeast is typically sold with peanut butters and aerosol propelled cheeses. Will there ever be a day when a person can purchase craft beer, furniture, and sandwich spreads in the same section? I can only hope.

    • June 5, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      These are good thoughts, Diss. I’m still trying to figure out where the Nutella truly belongs…

      • Diss Content
        June 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

        Little known fact; Nutella is a compound containing hazelnuts (the ‘nut’) and other scientifically tested and combined secret ingredients (the ‘ella’). Proven to be a nutritious breakfast, when accompanied with Tang, would logically put Nutella between potassium cyanides and Vagisil.

        • June 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

          I’d love to go shopping at DissMart – I’d never find what I’m looking for, but the trip would be hilarious.

  28. Cidermaker
    June 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Jim – obviously my response is biased, but … I don’t blame you a bit in light of the ciders you’re trying to compare to craft beer. There is no comparison between “those ciders” and “craft beer” (but let’s admit that those are two HUGE generalizations). And honestly, there’s something about many six-pack ciders that makes me pucker as well. And not in a good way.

    In fact, cideries are licensed as wineries. We’re making cider from fruit, right? That part makes sense.

    We started producing cider a few years ago with a purpose of highlighting the complex and varied flavors true cider apples can give. We thought that in that vein, wine-lovers would be the ones to appreciate the range of flavors and nuance … in fact what we’ve found is that craft beer lovers (at least in the PNW) are the ones who have pulled us in for a huge warm embrace, ecstatic for the chance to have good, complex ciders with personality, terroir and character. And we gladly reciprocate that embrace.

    Who knows what the reasons are – maybe it’s because craft beer enthusiasts are used to trying piles and piles of different beers, looking for the subtleties between malt bills, hop varieties, addition times, etc. and have trained their palates up.

    Mr. BurpyMan keyed in on a critical difference between true craft cider and cider that’s positioned as craft – it’s in the apples. Cider apples are packed with a host of aromas, tannin, acidity, characters ranging from tropical fruits to deeply earthy flavors.

    If you’re going to make a mass-produced cider from apples, you’re not likely to find enough cider apples in this country to fit your production goals. So the selection you’re left with is dessert apples, which have been groomed for their appearance and longevity as much as flavor. Sure you might be able to make a decent cider from them if you’re careful, but it’ll never have the depth and complexity that a craft beer lover would expect. It’s like comparing red table grapes to Primitivo, or corn/rice to Maris Otter for that matter.

    Ultimately craft beer and craft cider are two materially different drinks. But in my experience, it’s not the material that divides or unites them – it’s the perspective. Craft beer is brewed out of a position of passion — with great care for flavors, ingredients and processes, and often an air of brotherhood. It’s enjoyed by people who value and practice the same things.

    So is true craft cider.

  29. June 7, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion on this issue–this is, after all, The Beer & Whiskey Bros Blog.

    Having said, this, I too prefer beer to cider. But real cider, as has been stated, has a very strong tradition in the US. Almost all of the apple varieties that Johnny Appleseed offered were cider, not dessert, types, and in many cases our ancestors didn’t have access to the means to produce good beer, but they did have apples.

    I remember reading, w/in the past several years, about a gentleman here in the US who has imported & is growing apple varieties from Kazakhstan–apparently the home of the apple. These are almost all cider apples, which if you bit into one would cause you to spit and say yechhh! But its this very quality that allows for the creation of good dry cider.

    The bottom-line is that most if not all the cider you’re likely to encounter at your local beer mart is mass-produced from dessert apples and/or concentrates. Thus, they belong w/ BudCoorsSchlitz, Mikes’ L-aid, fruit coolers and other forms of pop-junk beverage. But if your beer-enabler does sell the good stuff then it does indeed belong in the craft beer section–not as a substitute for, but rather as adjunct to your favorite brews. It fits into the same category, having much more in common w/ craft beer than w/ any other class of beverages.

    BTW” apple-jack is a whole ‘nother thing altogether and if lumped w/ anything else it would be the corn squeezin’s & white lightning genre of alcoholic dynamite.

  30. JG
    July 11, 2013 at 12:36 am #

    Before knocking all ciders, after having lived in Australia for the past few years, I eagerly recommend that you try some of the great offerings coming from here.

    • Jessie_monster
      July 23, 2013 at 8:32 am #

      As an Aussie, you’re 100% right. Have you tried Kelly Brothers cider? It’s a little harder to find, but man is it great. Served over ice during summer with just a hint of sweetness.

      http://kellybrothers.com.au/ (No, I don’t work for them just a big fan.)

  31. August 2, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    Love this! Hysterical — and will absolutely be following you all now!

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