Recommendations for cider please!
November 19, 2011 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Help me find exciting new ciders.

So, I don't really drink beer ever. When we go to the bar, I usually get hard cider. I've recently become aware that there's a whole world of different ciders out there. I want to try new things, but I'm kind of picky. Please recommend some new ciders for me to try! Things I like (for different reasons) include: Kopparberg pear, Woodchuck (all the flavors except the raspberry), Magners, and Strongbow. Things I don't like include: Woodchuck raspberry, Ace, Wyders, and Hornsbys draft cider. The problem I have with searching and reading descriptions is that I don't really know what it is that I like about the things I like; I just know that I like them. So, if you don't have any specific recommendations, could you suggest some descriptive words that apply to the ciders I like. Thanks!
posted by Weeping_angel to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, the very best example of cider on the market is Cidre Bouche, bar none. Do yourself a favor and find this. It is the standard by which all other ciders are measured. It is not showy, it's not gimmicky, it's very straightforward and intensely delicious.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 4:52 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Samuel Smith make an organic cider that is pretty tasty, a bit more dry than sweet.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:57 PM on November 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

JK Scrumpy. It's just juice fermented with yeast. The Solstice one (with a few spices added in) is good too. Depending on where you are, it can be hard to find sometimes, but I've had good luck at Whole Foods and specialty beer stores (I've never seen it in a bar as far as I know).

It's hard for me to tell what the difference is between the ones you listed as liking and the ones you don't. That's fine -- personal preference is a good thing.
posted by darksong at 5:02 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding JK Scrumpy, the best cider I know of. I also like some of the Crispin varieties.
posted by sanka at 5:09 PM on November 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Cidre Bouche Brut Etienne DuPont is quite good, but it is nothing at all like Woodchuck or Strongbow. Woodchuck and Strongbow (which I like) are like apple juice compared to Cidre Bouche (which I also like). Cidre Bouche has a funky, almost cheeselike aroma and taste. It's quite dry and unfiltered, so will seem quite cloudy compared to something like Woodchuck.
posted by crush-onastick at 5:11 PM on November 19, 2011

By your use of the term "hard cider" I'm guessing you're in the US. I don't know if you can find if there, but I've been very impressed with Savanna Dry, which tastes like someone was trying to answer the question "just how dry can we make this stuff, anyway?"
posted by Leon at 5:23 PM on November 19, 2011

nthing French cider, just for the experience: the Normans and Bretons take it very seriously. Something very different: Crispin's Lansdowne uses stout yeast and molasses, and it's dark and caramel-tinged and very nice.
posted by holgate at 5:45 PM on November 19, 2011

I really like Pommies for a fairly light, slightly sweet cider.

Also, if you like sweet ciders, you might want to seek out an ice cider of some kind.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:48 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I do like the Crispin varieties; my usual favorite is Magners, so take that for what it's worth.
posted by Madamina at 6:08 PM on November 19, 2011

Johnny Mash is between Strongbow and Hornsby's in taste, nice and dry, not as full as Woodchuck. Not sure if that description helps. The Johnny Mash site has a very annoying soundbed, so beware.

Possibly informative article from the NYT.

I like this one, personally.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:30 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I also recommend the Etienne DuPont Cidre Bouche. It's a bit hard to find, but you can order it online from Haskell's, which I had good luck with.

Crispin is good but even their "European-style extra-dry" is very sweet by traditional cider standards, so be aware of that.
posted by jedicus at 6:48 PM on November 19, 2011

Woodchuck has a couple limited editions that are pretty great; I really like the pumpkin.
There is a new brand out called Angry Orchard, which I believe is distributed by Sam Adams, and comes in crisp, sweet, and apple-ginger flavors, and I really like what I have tried a lot.
If you're in the New York area (I don't think it's available everywhere, but I could be wrong), Doc's Draft Cider comes in a variety of flavors including blackcurrant and pear.
(For what it's worth I like most ciders but do not like J.K. Scrumpy or Argus ciders very much.)
posted by mlle valentine at 7:26 PM on November 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

2nd to Samuel Smith and Crispin. I hate candy-like ciders, and Ace and Woodchuck have that flavor to me.
posted by Gilbert at 7:51 PM on November 19, 2011

If you can get your hands on Crispin's unfiltered honeycrisp cider, that's pretty interesting. The sweetness isn't very concentrated and it's not very carbonated, it's really as close to drinking a juiced Honeycrisp apple as you can get and also be alcoholic.
posted by padraigin at 7:56 PM on November 19, 2011

Aspall's is fairly widely available in the US and is a pretty decent example of a filtered cider -- something like a much better version that which Magners* and Strongbow are imitating. I've also seen Weston's Old Rosie available which is an excellent, and very drinkable example of an English West Country farmhouse style cider (aka scrumpy) but very different form the things you have been drinking, they also have a Reserve and a Dry Oaked which would be closer in style but actually made from apples.* If you are ever in Portland,OR I would recommend a visit to Bushwacker Cider. It's enough to keep this West Country exile from homesickness.

*Magners is not made from apples but from juice concentrate, but I'm a cider snob, I grew up in cider coutry.
posted by tallus at 8:20 PM on November 19, 2011

If you can find it, we rather enjoyed Bulmers - I haven't been able to find it in the US though.
posted by korej at 8:35 PM on November 19, 2011

korej, I was just coming in here to say: Magner's is the U.S. version of Bulmers.

I second Aspall's. It's more bubbly than the others, but I could drink that stuff like juice.

Check out your local English pub, they might have some more on hand for you to try.
posted by sarahnade at 8:59 PM on November 19, 2011

Magners is the export version of Irish Bulmers. English Bulmers is a different beast.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:45 PM on November 19, 2011

I really enjoy Fox Barrel ciders. Just had (seasonal) ginger+currant and elderberry+rhubarb versions from Whole Foods, & both were fantastic.
posted by changeling at 12:00 AM on November 20, 2011

I like the original Fox Barrel. It's light and very sparkly, like a pear champagne. (Fox Barrel does only pear products as far as I know.)
posted by CheeseLouise at 3:23 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

We enjoy the Crispin that comes in the dark green pint cans, it's dry and lightly carbonated. I brew my own cider with champagne yeast and it usually turns out with a similar flavor...

My wife also enjoys Oliver's Bean Blossom. It's a winery in Indiana that also makes some hard cider...the labels are a trip!
posted by schyler523 at 7:03 AM on November 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Rekorderlig is quite delicious (don't know if you can get it in the U.S.).

I also wanted to tell you that most ciders are improved greatly with the addition of a couple of drops of Angostura bitters. The orange bitters is particularly tasty if you can get it.

posted by Go Banana at 7:13 AM on November 20, 2011

If you happen to be in Virginia, North Carolina, or Maryland, seek out Foggy Ridge Ciders. They are fairly new to the market and will probably be expanding to other states soon. They use heirloom American apples mixed with traditional French varieties. Seeing that you like Woodchuck and Stongbow, I would start with their "Pippin Gold" if you can find it. The "Sweet Stayman" is also very good, but drier and champagne-ier than I expected.
posted by 2ghouls at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2011

Port Townsend, WA is becoming a bit of a cider meca:

Alpen Fire

Northwest Cider Association

Having given up beer, I've become a cider nut.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:48 PM on November 20, 2011

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