Hard Ciders for Every Type of Drinker

Four years ago, we published a print piece on hard ciders with a variety of flavor profiles. Since then, ciders have come a long way in popularity (though they’re not neck-and-neck with the juggernaut craft beer industry). At your favorite package store, the cider selection has clearly expanded over the years. That craft-beer bar or brewery you frequent? It’s a thing there too; they likely have a draft line or two dedicated to ciders. Heck, there’s even an all-cider bar in Peekskill. We’re not talking commercially recognized brands that make sweet, fruity, 4-6% ABV ciders, but ciders that are balanced, hoppy, Champagne-like, sour, or even boozy and barrel-aged. Read up. Drink up.


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For Hopheads

Newburgh’s Graft Cider, dubbed “the best hard cider for beer lovers” by Hop Culture, lives up to the hype. Its Cloud City Alabaster District Hop Mango Dreamsicle Cider looks like a hazy, New England IPA when poured, but it’s a touch sour with a creamy mouthfeel (that’s the milk sugar and vanilla), and a bite from the citrusy-tropical Azacca hops.


For Champagne Lovers

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Even if you’ve never heard the term “méthode Champenoise,” you could probably guess that it translates to the Champagne method. And ciders, like Guzman Riestra Sidra Brut Nature, implore this method, which allows the last stage of fermentation to take place in the bottle. This multi-award-winning cider is fruity on the nose, with a tropical-fruit-meets-apple taste that’s more bittersweet than sugary sweet.


For a Boozy Kick

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Barrel-aged ciders can be tough to come by outside of actual cideries. Your best bet for anything aged in rum, wine or bourbon barrels is to look locally. Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider ages its heirloom apple blend — made with apples from the Hudson Valley — in local bourbon barrels from Hillrock Estate Distillery. Snatch up a bottle at their taproom/farmers market located at Stone Ridge Orchard or at select GrowNYC Greenmarkets.


For a Sour Switch-Up

Sours aren’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the style, there’s a Basque cider that should be in your glass. Sarasola Sagardoa (named for an apple growing region in Europe) uses apples from Astigarraga, Spain to create a bubbly, funky, sweet cider. If you dig sour Brett beers, chances are you’ll be into this.


For Balance

When you don’t want something too sweet or too bitter, AVAL is the answer. This company from Brittany, France achieves its balance with a blend of sweet, acidic, bitter, and bittersweet apples from the region; It works well, as does this cider’s dry finish. You could groove on this all day.


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