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lexy

Cider

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Hello beer lovers! I hope you don't mind a question about cider in your forum …

I've just discovered cider, and as someone who's never really liked beer, I'm really excited that I can now go down to the pub and order a pint (of something that I actually like!). The only kind I've had so far (seems to be standard in Oxford pubs) is Strongbow, which I like (well, it's the only kind I've ever had), but is apparently not supposed to very good, according to some cider-drinking friends. So does anyone here have any recommendations? I was eyeing a kind called Scrumpy Jack today in Tesco, but I thought maybe I'd consult the palates of eGullet first. Thanks!

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Boy, no response, yet?

I've put off responding because I find I like the idea of cider more than most of the actual stuff I've tried.

I don't care for English style cider. I can't really think of a good reason, aside from the fact that I really love English beers, so it seems a waste to drink cider at bars there. Possibly there is some really good stuff that I've never had the opportunity to try.

The alcoholic American cider I've tried so far seems too soda poppy. Too sweet, fruity and fizzy.

I do like the French ciders I've tried. They are drier and a bit more champagne-like in style. If you ever get the chance, try some of Eric Bordelet's Pear or Apple Cider. It is amazing stuff. I've read there is an interesting thick and very alcoholic version of Breton cider that is only available locally.

There are also some interesting seeming sweet dessert "Ice Ciders" being produced in Canada, which I have yet to have the opportunity to try.

Interestingly, prior to 1900, hard cider was very popular in the US. For some reason its popularity declined around the turn of the century, and was all but destroyed by the various temperance movements and prohibition.

-Erik

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The cider available in most UK pubs is pretty industrial stuff - does it's job, it's sweet (Even the so called dry ones) cold refreshing and fairly alcoholic. Scrumpy Jack has very little to do with real Scrumpy but it is a bit better than the competition. Some pubs will have more traditional ciders on tap - they will be either flat or only slighty sparkling and probably cloudy but will have a much more distinctive taste. 'Real Ale' type pubs might even have some from the cask - i.e hand pulled, especially if there is a beer festival on. Wetherspoons pubs (Although I am not a fan in general) do occasionally and have a few interesting brands in bottles.

A better bet for good stuff is supermarkets and off-licenses, there are lots of traditional and single apple varietals available in bottles, both British and french ones. Farmers markets are usually a good place for locally brewed cider - and they will give you a taster! Be careful though - some of them can be very strong without tasting it.

Try http://www.ukcider.co.uk/ for more info.

I myself like the odd pint of cider - usually in the summer though, if it is really hot I am not even that fussy what kind as long as it is cold! At it's best though cider can rank up with the best drinks in the world.

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hmm... i've tried quite a few ciders here in the US (Pennsylvania). eje is right. most american ciders are awfully sweet. Woodchuck (from Vermont, i think) has about 5 or 6 varieties ranging from Jolly Rancher to almost beer. i personally prefer the dryer, almost beer variety. also, if you have any micro-breweries (they're all over the place in the US), many will do a cider for the fall and they can be very good!

i've also heard people say that strongbow isn't very good. although it's the only european cider i've tried, i really enjoy it. it isn't overly sweet or sour, and actually not too apple-y. i think that's why i enjoy it. the closer cider is to beer, the more i like it.

if you can find woodchuck over there, try the amber first. it's pretty good. also, if you find a really sweet cider, making a half cider/half beer (try brown ales, maybe lagers) concoction can be really good!

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if you can find woodchuck over there, try the amber first. it's pretty good. also, if you find a really sweet cider, making a half cider/half beer (try brown ales, maybe lagers) concoction can be really good!

The Woodchuck Dark n' Dry is probably the best of the lot if you like your cider closer to beer. And I really like the Woodchuck Pear cider, but it's definitely sweeter.

The best half/half concoction I've tried is the Dark n' Dry with Sly Fox Weisse. Very refreshing! One of the bartenders at Amada turned me on to that combination since both are on draught there. I'd have never thought of it but it's really good!

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How's about making your own.....a gallon of cider, a pack of yeast (brewer's, not bread) and thou........

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In 1998 I made 10 gallons of champagne-method cider using Montrachet yeast, and it was perfect: dry, crisp with just a touch of sweetness.

We really discovered cider in summer 2002, during a trip to Quebec. After reading a piece about the various cidreries dotting the countryside, my girlfriend and I decided to tour some of them upon leaving Montreal. We found our favorite, one Michel Jodoin, where we wandered their orchards alone, ate the different apples and bought a case of a champagney, rose cider. Most of it we finished that winter, but we saved one bottle in the fridge for a special occasion.

Sunday I popped it open, it was only better with age, and while we enjoyed it I proposed to her. She said yes, and we'll probably go back to Quebec just to get some more of the good stuff.

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Congratulation, chappie!

I like cider. I've enjoyed both American and French ciders. I usually don't prefer my wines dry, so I also don't prefer my ciders too dry, but I do like granny smith varietals.

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Congratulation, chappie!

I like cider. I've enjoyed both American and French ciders. I usually don't prefer my wines dry, so I also don't prefer my ciders too dry, but I do like granny smith varietals.

Granny Smith is quite tart for cider but the apple flavor are more intense than other varietals.

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There is a cider revival in the UK at the moment - there are some fantastic ciders available from the supermarkets and offies.

Waitrose has one of the best ranges. I'd recommend working your way thorugh them to find the style that suits you. Don't forget perry too - pear cider.

You'll also find some good cider's at farmer's markets - with the opportunity to have a try as well.

As far as pub ciders are concerned, these are the worst of British ciders, and do the drink's reputation no favours. Most of them are sweetened with sorbitol. Cider has a reputation for causing bad guts - In general this is the fault of sorbitol, which has a laxative effect

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Try Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie by Etienne Dupont (i think, at least those are the names on the bottle) - better than actually biting into a crisp, tart, sweet, juicy apple - or at least just as good :) the flavor is bright, would rather serve than champagne any day

Bellot Cider - not as good as above, lacking some of the fresh taste, not as balanced but, at 7.5% alcohol, drinks like a cider with half the strength...

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Bump.

 

Oddly enough, it's Etienne Dupont's cider that inspired me to either find an old cider thread or start one. Crisp. Acidic. Tart. Clean. A bit of ... texture to it, some viscosity, like you'd associate with fresh, unmolested apple juice. Could see this working nicely with a bright seafood dish or some nice pork sausages. One of the best ciders I've had in a while. I mean, it's no Eric Bordelet, but it's also not $70 a bottle.

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Many years ago, I spent one summer in the city of Bath. Our local pub, which shall remain nameless, did this outrageous, wonderful scrumpy.

 

The landlady was a lovely but tiny, skinny woman. You had to ask her for a pint of "that". It had no name, but a barrel sat on the bar. She would pour you a cloudy pint but occasionally the tap would get blocked by "bits". She would pick up the whole barrel like it was a balloon, give it a good shake and continue pouring.

 

It was rumoured that the each barrel contained one drowned rat to give the brew a bit of body.

 

While I was there a few friends visited from Scotland. We visited the pub. They were astonished when the landlady refused to sell them a third pint. Then they stood up to leave and melted into the floor to a round of applause from the red-nosed locals.

 

Strongbow is an insult to cider.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Mmmm... Cider!

 

We've always had cider in BC but we have better choices all the time. Two of my favourites on Vancouver Island are  Merridale Ciderworks (which also has a nice little bistro) and Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse. I love the variety of ciders and Merridale does make a scrumpy, but I'm pretty sure it is tamer than the one liuzhou references! 

 

We also have larger BC producers like Growers or Okanagan Cider, but they churn out 'flavoured' ciders like Black Cherry or Peach, most of which I find unappealing and way too sweet. Their extra-dry apple isn't too bad, though, when choices are limited. 

 

But the smaller (artisanal?) producers have some lovely products. 

 

Nice little article on Merridale:

 

http://vacay.ca/2012/10/this-vancouver-island-cider-house-rules/

 

I've found it hard to find cider in the US. 

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I live in Massachusetts and I really love Harpoon's Apple Cider. I like it like a dessert drink though, since it is fruity and sweet.

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I love how the artisenal cider movement took off since the OP back in 2005.  All sorts of good ones out there right now.  In the US I'm enjoying the Teton Cider Works Yakima dry hopped cider - not too sweet at all.

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Yep, plenty of ciders here now.  Upstate NY, particularly the Hudson River Valley, is providing lots of fun drinking.

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Last fall I took a class about matching cider with cheese at the Cheese School of SF, and tried some good hard ciders then. (As for cider paired with cheese, not so sure about that.) We did try one of the Tieton ciders, NV Tieton Blend Cider (Tieton, Washington). I also thought these ciders were noteworthy:

 

- NV Dry English Draft Cider, Aspall Cyder (Suffolk, England)

 

- 2013 "Save the Gravenstein" Devoto Cider (Sebastopol, California)

 

- NV Clos Normand Brut Cider,  Cidrerie Duché de Longueville (Anneville-sur-Scie, France)

 

I sat next to a guy who had just returned from Normandy. He went there to learn about cidermaking. We put our heads together and figured that the English cider was like champagne; the Tieton cider was like beaujolais (young and juicy); the Devoto cider was like a crisp white wine; and the Normandy cider was like...burgundy. Good burgundy. The Normandy cider was the best of the bunch, and in its own class. Americans are playing catch-up with the French when it comes to hard cider.

 

A couple months later I met Stan DeVoto at the farmers mkt, I mentioned his cider from the class, and we fell into conversation. He told me that he's planting heirloom "spitter" apples, specifically for making hard cider. These apples are quite sour, even bitter, not meant for eating out of hand, and guess what happens if you do take a bite. I gather others in the U.S. are planting spitter apples for hard cider also. It will take years for those orchards to bear fruit, but you can see how American cidermaking is coming along these days.

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I've also been enjoying cider's renaissance in the U.S.  Perhaps because I first came to enjoy Breton-style cidres while in France, I prefer the dryer style that's more typical of imports than in the U.S. ciders that I've tried, though I do drink them.

 

My latest favorite is from Samuel Smith, a British producer that also makes great beer:

 

IMG_0508.JPG

 

Light bodied, lots of flavor, very dry.

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By the way, a glass of a nice, dry cider on the rocks with an ounce of Campari in it. Just sayin'.


Edited by weinoo (log)
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By the way, a glass of a nice, dry cider on the rocks with an ounce of Campari in it. Just sayin'.

 

I've never tried that before, but I will now!

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By the way, a glass of a nice, dry cider on the rocks with an ounce of Campari in it. Just sayin'.

 

Must try this. A friend and I have found that some ciders serve as a nice basis for a riff on the Dark n Stormy. I think we even appled it up to the logical extreme by subbing in Calvados (the very apple-y Eric Bordelet) for the rum once ... but, yeah, something sugary like Appleton works nicely.

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I've also been enjoying cider's renaissance in the U.S.  Perhaps because I first came to enjoy Breton-style cidres while in France, I prefer the dryer style that's more typical of imports than in the U.S. ciders that I've tried, though I do drink them.

 

My latest favorite is from Samuel Smith, a British producer that also makes great beer:

 

attachicon.gifIMG_0508.JPG

 

Light bodied, lots of flavor, very dry.

 

I will try this.

I make my own bone dry cider but I'm curious to see how this compares.

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