Put down your beer and grab a hard cider. We will now give you time to comprehend and process that sentence. Ready? Ok, good. We here at The Savory love our beer. And when we say love, we mean that if California legally allowed marrying an alcoholic beverage, let's just say that we would constantly be taking swigs of our significant others. Then why in the world would we tell you to put down the said beer and pick up a hard cider? Because in our weird “marry your favorite beverage” world, we would definitely be polygamists. Meet our newest wife: hard cider.
The changing of the weather brings about a changing of tastes. This holds true at the bar as much as it does in the kitchen. So with the fall season upon us, we look for bolder and more savory drinks to quench our thirst. Enter cider. The small brewery craft beer movement is at its peak, and lucky for us, along with it came a push to make ciders just as good.
Small breweries are popping up across the United States, lending a personal touch to all of their ciders. Sharon and Craig Campbell’s Tieton Cider Works is one such example. Located in the Yakima Valley of Washington State, Tieton Cider Works boasts the largest orchard of cider varieties in Washington. The orchard is the same land that the Campbell’s grandfather homesteaded in the 1920s. From the tree to the bottle, Tieton Cider Works oversees every aspect of the growing and cider making process. Tieton’s cider makers create over 10 varieties of naturally gluten-free cider, including seasonal and limited releases.
The big boys are also throwing their hats in the ring. And with the money for research and development, they are making some amazing products. Sam Adams beer introduced their line of Angry Orchard ciders in 2011 that is quickly becoming a category leader with interesting flavors like Apple Ginger and a Traditional Dry. Just this year, Stella Artois has just brought its “cidre” to the U.S., following a successful launch in Europe around four years ago.
So why cider? Well first of all, cider is just plain ‘merican. As a matter of fact, it was the drink of choice in Colonial America. It wasn’t until the 18th century’s influx of German immigrants that brought about the uprise of beer. Cider is also naturally gluten-free. There has not only been a rise in celiac disease, but people are realizing the incredible health benefits that a gluten-free (or low gluten intake) diet can have. But most importantly (for The Savory, at least), cider can be as complex and innovative as wine. Some see it as a great alternative to a light and dry white wine. Cider is ever versatile enough to be used in cocktails, and craft bartenders at the nation’s top bars are mixing it up. So before you make your Mike’s Hard Lemonade joke, pick up a bottle of craft cider and enjoy. You will be pleasantly surprised.