There’s always one sad cider on the bar menu, what seems like a consolation for the non-beer drinker, like here, have some juice. You’ve probably seen it on tap at a bar, most likely a mass produced, from-concentrate, lip-smacking sweet cider. These ciders might be backed by some of the biggest beer-makers in the country, but these companies aren’t necessarily the bad guys. “We need the big guys in our market right now, because they have the advertising dollars,” explained Mattie Beason, owner of Black Twig Cider House in Durham, North Carolina. “Any way we can get people drinking cider is a good way, as long as they come away from that experience wanting more.”
It’s all about exposure, and that’s where the big cider makers can lend a hand. At first, hard cider isn’t far from the stuff that your mom bought in half gallon jugs at the roadside farmers stand, alongside a batch of sugar-coated doughnuts. But then someone shatters that childhood association with the funky, fruity, dry ciders that are making their ways into bars and restaurants, and the world of cider opens up before them.
It’s a drink that has all the complexity of wine with the thirst-quenching drinkability of beer. Cider doesn’t have the foothold that craft beer is getting in the country just yet, but American cider makers have more than hit their stride. Here are 10 incredible ciders, both new and established, that will take you to school and shake the foundations of what you thought cider was.
Stayman Winesap, Foggy Ridge Cider
Somehow, sweetness is considered a bad thing in today’s dry-leaning cider world, but subtle sweetness and fruit are just as satisfying as the crispness of a dry cider. Here the Stayman Winesap apple has notes of cherry and ripe apple, dropping you somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains, without actually having to hike there.
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