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Cider Beer

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I am on the hunt to expand my range of Cider beer. Unlike most people, I say the sweeter the better. My favorite (and the one I can get easily in most Chicago bars) is Woodchuck Amber Cider. I've tried the other commercial, easily available ciders, but none have really had such a pure apple flavor as Woodchuck. Hornsbys tastes more like a wine cooler to me, and Woodpecker and Strongbow are too dry for my tastes (I am also not a fan of Green Apple varieties). I have also tried Ace Cider, Magners, Cider Jack and Hardcore, but none of them did much for me. Can anyone suggest a couple more brands for me to try? I live fairly close to some large warehouse sized liquor stores, so finding them shouldn't be too hard, but I would love some input from some fellow sweet cider drinkers.

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  1. There is no such thing as cider beer. You mean hard cider. Real hard cider is never sweet, only dry. The sweetest ones would probably be European Farmhouse styles, but they are not that sweet. To get a sweet hard cider like Woodchuck the cider has to be pasteurized and then sweeteners, flavors, and sugar added. Just thinking about it makes me ill, but there are some good quality artisinal hard ciders out there that are off dry (in other words slightly sweet). One that comes to mind is mentioned below, Doc's Draft Cider, some of the varieties are more sweet and some less sweet.

    7 Replies
    1. re: JMF

      me too but hey this person wants sweet stuff, they're allowed.
      Let's guide them to what looks like an artisanal ciderworks that has an off-dry cider and maybe improve their palate. Maybe not available outside Oregon but looks like worth trying.
      Wandering Aengus Semi-Dry Cider
      http://www.wanderingaengus.com/shop/

      1. re: JMF

        My bad. Thanks for the tips, and sorry the thought of what I like makes you ill, not really my intention.

        1. re: JMF

          Never sweet? How about the ciders made from Dabinett, Foxwhelp and Slack My Girdle or Katy varieties.They may only be around 6-7% abv but retain a lot of residual sweetness compared to varietals such as Kingston Black

          1. re: nimzo

            I wouldn't call dabinett sweet - it just tastes like straw (in my experience), but then I am a Kingston Black person from choice.

            I don't know what it is like in the States but there are two cider maker s at the Farmers market I used to go to (and still buy my cider from). The makers were always happy to help/offer samples/slightly tipsy, I hope Bob never drove himself home! If you can, then talk to the makers, they will have lots of suggestions. (I can't stand rum but one of Bob's ciders was stored in dark rum barrels - that one was very special.)

            1. re: ali patts

              If Dabinett a bit too strawy why not give a DymockRed or a Hagloe a try. The apples are getting hard to get hold of but worth the effort

              1. re: ali patts

                Most states in the US make it very difficult for independent farmers to sell anything with alcohol. You have to have a liquor license and follow all kinds of rules. If you want to sell to a store, you have to go through a distributor.

                Here in VA, breweries that have a tasting room are required to sell food. Wineries are not. Makes no sense.

            2. re: JMF

              Actually, yes there is such a thing as Apple Cider Beer, they are serving it at the Sackets Harbor Brewing Company, in Sackets Harbor, New York. Besides that they also have a Pumpkin Spice Beer. Both are delicous and will be ready next weekend. If you live close by you should check them out.

            3. Well, it's not technically a cider, but Lindemans makes an apple lambic that is quite sweet. You would probably like it if you like Woodchuck.

              1. I have a bottle of doc draft's hard apple cider in my fridge. Never tried it and it's unopened, anyone else heard of it?

                3 Replies
                1. re: bitsubeats

                  Yeah, I know the folks who make it at Warwick Valley Wine Co. I used to make cheese and bake bread at a farm near there. It's a darn good, nice hard cider.

                  1. re: JMF

                    sounds scrumptious, I will take your word for it

                    -you always come back with comments about my beer selections, I like that (:

                    1. re: bitsubeats

                      Warwick is a beautiful place to visit and a relatively short drive from Manhattan. They make a Framboise Cider that is quite sweet, but still balanced and delicious. Those guys also make wine and brandy along with really good pizza!

                2. I know that the market for cider (hard) is booming in the US and ROW. I am English ex-pat (partial to a drop of cider) living in San Francicso. I have to say I am very disappionted with the ciders that are on offer here. Having grown up drinking traditional English ciders (cloudy, with apple sediment, 7-8% alcohol), it is a great shame that the best on offer out here is Strongbow (my least favorite cider), K Cider, Ace and Fox Barrel. Does anyone know of any good smaller more traditional producers? Also, are there restrictions on importing this delicious brew to the US?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: dhanna

                    You might try buying some unpasteurized apple cider andd letting it ferment in the fridge for a few weeks--as much as three weeks or so. The local farmers market in Oakland has it regularly and I'm sure you could find some. It's cloudly and the results are excellent --dry and good flavor. Good for shandy, too.

                    1. re: leoj

                      I've had this happen to me when I buy cider at the farmer's market and forget to finish it. So it's safe to drink like that? I remember tasting the slight sourness & fizz and thought I should throw it out.

                      1. re: NancyC

                        What we in the US refer to as "hard cider" is often noted as one of the few alcoholic beverages that can be consumed *during* the fermentation process - it works especially well in the refrigerator, since it slows the process down so that one can sample it as it slowly becomes less sweet and more alcoholic (and, when in one of those "soft plastic" milk-style jugs, one can see the progress as the jug "expands" and occassionally blows it's lid off, thanks to the CO2 given off.)

                        As with many food products, one person's "bad/spoiled" is anothers' gourmet specialty. OTOH, most people just throw the funky milk out rather than think "Oh, it's almost yogurt!"

                    2. re: dhanna

                      Maybe you can help me with a question...10 years ago I "smuggled" a few bottles of a hard cider from Hong Kong back to the states, because at the tender age of 21, I had only ever had Woodchuck and was amazed at a cider that, if I recall correctly, was 8.5% alcohol. I cannot remember what it was called, but am pretty sure it started with an "M," and was assuming (because it was HK) that it was English, although I suppose it could have been Scottish or Irish. I'm quite sure it's not Magner's unless they make a half-strength version for the American market. Can anyone throw out some "M"-named hard ciders to jog my memory?

                      1. re: dhanna

                        You should be able to find this one:
                        http://www.bunitedint.com/portfolios/...

                        I've gotten it here in the states. It's as you describe - cloudy, strong, and indescribably delicious. Most cider in the states is garbage, unfortunately.

                      2. I would like to try some good english hard cider, other than strongbow. And some american hard cider, other than woodchuck. anybody out there that can help. and who if anybody imports english hard cider

                        1. try South Shore or maybe Herbal Cream. Both are a little sweeter. Check out www.breskireview for more ideas.