Hard Cider

Hard cider is rapidly growing in popularity, perhaps partly in thanks to the craft beer revolution. As brewers expand and evolve their beer recipes, many are also venturing into making hard cider in order to tap into the growing market. I’ve personally become very fond of this beverage, and as I sample new hard ciders I will be compiling and reviewing them here.

Cider can’t exactly be reviewed in the same way as craft beers. In fact, it’s almost easiest if you think about the aspects that round out a hard cider as being similar to that of white wine. They range on the scale from dry to sweet and there are distinct styles that are used to judge competitions.

My recommendation for choosing from the list below is to follow your preferences for wine (if you know them) then expand from there. If you like a dry, white wine, look for the ciders listed as more on the dry side, and the same goes for if you prefer sweet wine. This should help you navigate the growing (and delicious) world of hard cider!

Crispin - Artisnal Reserve Honey Crisp CiderCrispin Natural Hard Apple Cider – Artisanal Reserve Honey Crisp

Reviewed: 05/19/2013
Bottle Size: 22 fl. oz. (650ml)
Alcohol: 6.5% ABV
Calories: 140 per 12 oz. serving
Sweet/Dry: Moderately dry

This is a small batch, hand-crafted, super premium quality hard apple cider made with organic honey. This cider is naturally fermented using a premium apple juice blend, not concentrate, with no added malt, spirit or grape alcohol. It is noted on Crispin’s site that they do not use the Honeycrisp apple; while it’s a great apple to eat, it does not provide a fine base for apple wine.

Tasty Mug Review:
This cider is very pale straw in color, it’s almost clear, with just a hint of color. Smells very sweet and like apples. Moderately dry upfront then rolls into a smooth sweetness; you can definitely pick up on the honey at the back of the palette as you swallow. Very light and crisp with big carbonation. This is a very nice, high quality apple cider.

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Where to get it:
I picked this bottle up at the local Whole Foods.

Fox Barrel - Pacific Pear CiderFox Barrel Pacific Pear Cider

Reviewed: 05/19/2013
Bottle Size: 12 fl. oz. (355ml)
Alcohol: 4.5% ABV
Calories: 130 per 12 oz. serving
Sweet/Dry: Sweet

This cider is made from naturally fermented pure pear juice.

Tasty Mug Review:
This cider from Fox Barrel is a straw color and smells like sweet pears. It definitely tastes like fresh pears, with a sweetness that lingers on the tongue. It’s smoother than the Crispin Artisanal Reserve, and is very light and crisp with finer consistency carbonation. This is a pretty nice cider, definitely flavored like pear and sweet but very drinkable. It would probably pair well with foods that counterbalance the sweet fruitiness. I recommend this one.

Tasty Mug Rating: 3.75 / 5.0

Where to get it:
I can’t recall where I originally got this bottle, but I’d recommend looking for it in your local supermarket.

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