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FOOD + DRINK

Six Hard Ciders for Spring Sipping

Delight in a glass from seasonal editions to specific varietals from single-origin farms

by David Graver
on 16 April 2015

Over a year ago, the small-batch magnificence of upstate New York's Aaron Burr Cider appeased our palate in a very unique way—and made us delve deeper into one of the fastest growing markets in the drinks world. Cider is a lighthearted beverage, but when made with care it truly shines. Regardless of sparkling or still variations, and whether or not the attributes and experience of sipping one bears resemblance closer to wine or beer, it's a rich industry. As spring weather descends on some of us, it makes for an ideal time to try superb cider offerings. The following six deliver something strikingly different, but each is worthwhile.

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The Infinite Monkey Theorem Pear Cider

While it may be a bold move to start with a cider culled from pears (a drink sometimes known as "Perry"), there's something extraordinary about what Denver, CO's Infinite Monkey Theorem has created within their urban winery. This dry-hopped pear cider—their first—not only comes in a can but has a deeply rich and tasty profile. The team, known for their wines-in-a-can, recently finished this pear cider canning run and will be shipping across the US.

Doc's Draft Hard Apple Cider

Effervescent and semi-dry, there's nothing quite as crisp and refreshing in the cider world as Doc's. Hailing from upstate New York's Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery, with apples grown on site, this highly-awarded small-batch cider remains fruit forward without being overtly sweet. It's not the easiest to find, but it's definitely easy to enjoy.

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Angry Orchard Summer Honey

There's a reason why Angry Orchard sells the most cider in the States: they're exceptionally good. With a subtle honey taste and a pleasant floral aroma, their new limited release the Summer Honey makes the most of a variety of Washington State apples. It's definitely juicy and fruit-forward—with a light effervescence that's perfect on a sunny day.

Thatcher's Gold

While not new internationally, Thatcher's Gold is finally making its way into new markets (the US included). While widely received as one of the best in the world, Thatcher's is still family-owned and operated out of Somerset, England. And their medium dry Gold iteration, crafted from a few cider apple varietals grown in England, manages to be balanced and refreshing.

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Slyboro Ciderhouse Old Sin

Baked apple dominates both the aromatic and flavor profiles of Slyboro's Old Sin, which is produced at Hick's Farm, in upstate New York just on the Vermont border. While their Night Cider has drawn the most attention, there's something about Old Sin that introduces distinct caramel and even butter notes to the blend. It's one-of-a-kind and exceptionally easy to sip.

Eden Ice Cider Company

This is not your average cider. In fact, the Eden Ice Cider Company offers something far more akin to an ice wine or dessert wine—with an ABV at roughly 10%—and yet clearly the origin is cider apples. Produced in West Charleston, Vermont from apples grown on the premises, Ice Cider employs techniques from Southern Quebec where the process originated. There's a maturity to the product, where a lengthy sweetness mingles with spice and even oak—depending on which vintage is being consumed.

Images courtesy of respective brands

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