May 22, 2015

The Right and Wrong Way To Make Cider

For all that America loves her beer - and we do - cider was in many ways our national beverage back in the day. With water as likely to give you dysentery as hydrate you, cider was a safe drinking alternative in the early days of our nation. It wasn't until the waves of immigration in the 19th Century - where the newly-minted Americans came from regions in Europe that preferred beer - that cider slowly fell into relative obscurity.

That has changed recently, however. Hard cider is making a big comeback. And the ingenuity that small and micro-breweries have applied to beer is also being applied to cider making.

A good example of this new cider revival is Bantam Cider out of Somerville, MA. They make three ciders right now. The one I had is called Rojo. It is a simple cider, made with only four ingredients: apples, ale yeast, sour cherries and peppercorns. It is, without a doubt, one of the most delicious beverages, let alone ciders, that I have ever had.

It is crisp like a cider should be, but with a touch of sour cherry and a hint of spice at the end. You could drink this with dinner or watching the game. I really cannot recommend it enough. Not only because of the taste or because we should support small breweries/cideries*/distilleries (Which we should). It's also important because of the lack of crap in the ingredients.

As a comparison, here is a label from Johnny Appleseed Cider. This brand is owned by Anheuser-Busch, so you can probably see where this is going.

Dextrose AND Sucrose. Call me old-fashioned, but I have always felt that if you have to add sugar to your cider, you're doing it wrong. Yes, I understand that adding sugar ups the alcohol content. You know what else does? Honey. Maybe this is a personal objection more than anything else, but throwing all that sugar into cider is simply not appealing to me. A good, natural cider (like Bantam's Rojo) will hit 5-6% all on its own because of the natural sugars in the apples. Which is plenty good for a bottle of cider. If you want to get ripped, maybe a pint of Majorska vodka is what you're looking for.

And what, exactly, is "flavor"? How is "flavor" an ingredient? I honestly don't know this, so I went to the FDA site to see what "flavor" actually is. Here is their answer:


Site of Future Awesomeness

Coming soon.

Site of Future Awesomeness

Coming soon