Unless you’ve been off the grid for awhile, you’ve probably noticed the substantial growth of fermented, alcoholic cider across the country.
Much like wine and craft beer, you can enhance your tasting experience by understanding the complexity of the ingredients and the variables across different brewers and wineries. If you enjoy cider or want to get in on the craze, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t educate yourself on variations of the product.
Jack’s Hard Cider, out of Biglerville, Pa., recently published an informative article showcasing five facts you may not have known about cider apples. Did you know, for example, that most cider apples are downright ugly? That’s right—according to Jack’s, cider apples “tend to be smaller, less attractive and bittersweet.” (We still love them, anyway.) But culinary apples can be used in hard cider too. Jack’s makes use of Rome, Granny Smith and other apples in its flagship line of hard ciders. For more fascinating facts about the incredible apple cider apple, check out the full post on the Jack’s Hard Cider blog.
Serious Eats has put together a pair of cider apple guides that focus on bittersweets and bittersharps. American cider makers have turned to Europe for different strains of these apples, such as the Dabinett and the Nehou. Some examples that you can purchase and sample include EZ Orchards’ Cidre and Farnum Hill’s Semi-Dry. Check out the full post about bittersweets on SeriousEats.com.
Now, onto bittersharps. The writer describes eating a bittersharp apple as “a bit like sucking on a black tea bag soaked in lemon juice.” (Sounds appetizing.) Just like the bittersweet apples, cider makers in the United States also look to Europe for varieties such as the Kingston Black and the Foxwhelp. Bittersharp apple ciders on the market that you can try out include Distillery Lane Ciderworks’ Kingston Black and Alpenfire Flame’s Brut Cider. Check out the full post about bittersharps on SeriousEats.com.
Now that you’ve gotten your apple education, go forth and order up a pint of hard cider! And be sure to tell us your favorite in the comments section below.