Oct 17, 2017

Question: Does Anyone Actually Like Hard Cider?

I won't make that mistake again. A few Octobers ago, I was at a medium-sized dinner party, and volunteered to be the guy who ran down the block to fill the three growlers the group would enjoy for the evening. The spot only had six taps, so I tasted every one, and came back with the three things I thought were the most interesting: a Northwest Pale Ale, a Cascadian Dark Ale, and a Semi-Dry Honeycrisp cider.

After struggling to juggle three (full and very cold) 64 oz. glass jugs in my lowly two arms, I "knocked" on the door with my left foot, entered, and declared my haul to eight very thirsty guests. Growler One? Good to go. Growler Two? Great, let's try it. Growler Three?

People, I drank Growler Three all by myself. Not all in the first night, but the semi-bubbled leftovers were all mine.

Turns out, absolutely NO ONE else in that group was even remotely interested in a hard cider.     

This blew me away, and I so asked several of my other amateur beer expert friends. And only a few expressed any interest in a well-crafted cider. IS THIS A THING? Or are all my friends just knuckleheads?

Look. I love beer. As much as I'm moved by whiskey, wine, gin, tequila, and the like, if you told me I had to pick a desert island beverage, I would most certainly opt for cerveza, because it has the broadest diversity within the category. A malty, bready pitch black ale isn't really even the same beverage as barely golden lager. I love that. 

But, I also think cider is perfectly interesting. I don't drink it year round, but come autumn, I absolutely look forward to celebrating with a crisp, refreshing glass of fermented apples. 

I mean, what's not to like?

It's apple cider, but cold, bubbly, and it has alcohol in it. To me, it's perfect to sip while wearing a sweater and listening to Bob Dylan while the leaves fall. Even my wife, whom I think is fantastic and with whom I share almost every taste preference, opened a bottle of hopped dry from a sixer I'd bought over the weekend, thinking it was beer, and then told me... I was welcome to finish it. 

This makes me wonder if I'm in the minority. So, okay ManMakers....

Do you like hard cider? Do you also like beer? Do you think cider is maybe not a completely interesting as beer, but a fun tradition to sip throughout the late summer and fall? And, most importantly, am I crazy? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Happy fall, everybody. 





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Zachary Sims on Nov 01, 2017:

I am biased on this subject. Without a doubt my favorite food, not just fruit or meal, food is apples. I eat at least an apple a day, and I can confirm doctors do stay away. Apples in any form or fashion are delicious. I even once Calvados poached apples with cinnamon and vanilla. The most expensive dessert I may ever make, but was it ever good. All this to say. I would have shared that cider with you. Beer is great, and among drinks may have some of the widest variety in tastes and experiences. However a well fermented apple is the pinnacle of imbibment. Just a thought.

Jon on Oct 20, 2017:

I started drinking hard cider before I ever found beers I liked. I would still rather have a cider. Luckily I live close to Arkansas' only cidery, which can have as many as 8 different ciders on tap, all made in house.

Cider was consumed much more in the early years when European settlers in America made their own alcohol.

Aline on Oct 19, 2017:

Hey! I lived a year in Saint Malo (France) and I learned to love cider. I like beer too.

MP on Oct 19, 2017:

There are a couple of good cider houses near me, and each have one or two ciders that I really enjoy. Overall, I prefer beer and generally find a higher proportion of beer to be palatable, because when cider is bad... man, is it bad.

Dave on Oct 19, 2017:

Fell in love with Magners cider while in London. Hard to find here but much better than the normal offerings.

Jerry on Oct 19, 2017:

I'm not a beer drinker, so maybe that's why I like cider (I also like whiskey a lot...maybe too much). For awhile I was actually cataloging ciders, what I liked about it, sweetness (don't like them too sweet), taste, etc. etc. I have to say, the beer drinkers look at me like I'm drinking fruit punch, when I tell them I'm drinking cider.

Jeff Williams on Oct 18, 2017:

I'm lucky, every pub that I've ever been into in the UK serves cider, either bottled, draught or both. Many of them sell more than one brand, not to mention all the various fruit flavoured ciders. The only thing lacking is that none of them to the best of my knowledge sells pear cider, luckily this is available in supermarkets with some of them, and even the occasional pub, selling scrumpy aka rough cider.
I only had a few pints of cider over the years, this changed when my girlfriend and I visited Paris two years ago and I bought her a bottle of red berry flavoured cider, as she could only manage to drink half of it, I did the gentlemanly thing and finished it off, to my surprise I enjoyed it. Two months later cider was my regular drink, my favourite is the 7% alcohol Rekorderlig cider, sadly only available in Sweden.

Will on Oct 18, 2017:

I first experienced cidre in Brittany, France, usually served with buckwheat crepes. Often, they would put a bit of Creme de Cassis in the bottom of the glass before the cidre, calling it a "kir Breton." When I do drink ciders, I prefer them dry.

Chris on Oct 18, 2017:

@Robert - That's so awesome. Thanks for sharing with us.

Robert Bradshaw on Oct 18, 2017:

When I was stationed in Germany (Army), in the mid 60's, one choice drink for many of us in Frankfurt, was apple wine. We enjoyed not only the wine, but the many friendships with the German people that sat in the drinking hall with us. Seeing your post brings back a lot of memories.

Cozmo on Oct 18, 2017:

Two step process with a fermentors with airlocks. only using cider so far, have not had time to press my own apples. just starting to experiment with adding sugar. personally i like it dry and very cold.

Josh M on Oct 18, 2017:

Where I am in the East, Cider has made a big comeback. For those sick of the West Coast hop overload IPAs they're an amazing alternative. The key is the dryness. Some cideries are lightly hopping some sweeter ciders too for an amazing drink. For the region here, cider is a heritage drink, so it's maybe an issue of location... Cider is in our blood almost out here.

Parker on Oct 18, 2017:

I used to live near a fantastic cider house in Pittsburgh that made a really good bone dry cider. That being said, I will pretty much never buy cider in a bottle because I assume it'll be a spiked apple juice sugar bomb.

Justin on Oct 18, 2017:

I also love cider and can drink it year round, but I think some of the brewers make it too sweet. I'm more of a semi-dry to very dry cider person. If it's sweet it's only one tops, if it's semi-dry 1-3, but it's dry I could drink it all night long.

Jeff on Oct 18, 2017:

Personally I love a cider in the cooler fall months, Im a connoisseur of all types of beer and the like, but I do enjoy the sweetness of the cider from time to time.

bruno on Oct 17, 2017:

Meh. Maybe every once in a while, or maybe I'm just not having *good* cider, but it seems like a bad substitute for beer *and* a bubbly wine.

Kevin on Oct 17, 2017:

I would love to get something as dry as crispin browns lane cider, but it's hard to find in America. Are there any ciders in the USA under 5 grams of sugar?

Matt on Oct 17, 2017:

I love a good dry hard cider. I'm not a big fan of the real sweet ones that have been popping up in the stores though. Give me a dry cider like Magners or Strongbow and I am happy.

Chris on Oct 17, 2017:

@Rich - And for you! Thanks for sharing.

Chris on Oct 17, 2017:

@Cozmo - Very nice. Do you make it in a beer fermentation bucket with an airlock? Buy or press your own cider? Add sugar? Would love some details.