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Where can I buy English style hard cider in LA?

I just got back from a trip to London. I drank a considerable amount of a wonderful drink known as "cider" to them, but apparently it's "hard cider" to us here in the US. Where has it been all my life? Upon returning, I found a brand called Hornsby's in the grocery store, but it didn't seem the same at all. I live the the Glendale/Pasadena area. Does anyone know where I might be able to find some more of this yummy yet potent drink, maybe even on tap somewhere? Or is there a store that might carry a few more brands to try?

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  1. The Trader Joe's near me almost always has Strongbow Cider, which is the same you'll find all over Britain. You might also want to check your local BevMo, but I think you'll find that cider isn't too tough to locate. As for on tap, most British pubs I've been to have had it. I'm not too familiar with the Glendale/Pasadena area, but I've had cider on tap at the Cat & Fiddle in Hollywood, for example.

    1 Reply
    1. re: whrimcc

      Lucky Baldwins usually has a couple of ciders on tap. Located in Pasadena and Sierra Madre.

    2. BevMo Stores carry a variety of (really ) hard ciders imported from all over, freshness I can't attest to.

      1. As others have mentioned, TJ's is the most consistent and accessible source for hard cider. I do see the usual supermarkets carrying it as well but can't attest to the brands. Bevmo and just about all other beverage stores will carry at least one or two varieties. My favorite is Wandering Aengus from Washington State. They make four varieties of organic cider - I've tried only one but was really impressed by it - the Heirloom Blend. It really tasted of fresh apples - not apple juice. And the alcohol didn't snub the flavor - just enough to let you know it was there. Very food-friendly - we'd have it with roast chicken or cheese and bread. I used to get it at Beverage Warehouse in Mar Vista, but for whatever reason, they haven't been carrying it lately.

        Here's a recent thread from the "Beer" board, as well as Wandering Aengus's website:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/605353

        http://www.wanderingaengus.com/index....

        1 Reply
        1. re: bulavinaka

          Excellent! Thanks for the link to the other site, that helps a lot. I will keep an eye out for the Wandering Aengus.I just found Blackthorn at my local Trader Joe's. It's okay, but hardly carbonated at all. I don't know if this bottle just went flat, or if it's supposed to be this way. Oh well. I will enjoy the process of exploration.

        2. Every British pub I've gone to in LA has had cider on tap -- just as in England.

          1. Village Idiot in West Hollywood has a number of them on tap.

            1. You sometimes find some cider ("cidre brut" or "cidre bouché") from Normandy at Monsieur Marcel (Farmer's Market at 3rd & Fairfax) which is the closest thing to English cider, I think (disclaimer: I'm totally biased as I'm from Normandy). I had cider on tap at various pubs in LA in the past and they never tasted the same (usually too weak). For the Summer you may want to branch out with pear cider (or perry). I get the "Ace" one at TJs and some other brand I can't recall at Cost Plus. I don't like TJ's regular apple cider.

              1. Galco's actually has a really nice selection with a couple of rarish ones from England...

                --Dommy!

                1. Call the new beer guy at Red Carpet in Glendale. They have a great selection of craft/imported beer so maybe they will have some 'scrumpy' which is what they called in in Somerset Co. when I was a kid!

                  Michael Jonasen
                  Red Carpet Wine
                  (818) 247-5544
                  (800) 339-0609 Toll Free

                  -----
                  Red Carpet Wines & Spirits
                  400 E Glenoaks Blvd, Glendale, CA

                  1. I used to get Strongbow at Whole Foods. When it vanished from their shelves, I did a bit of research and found the company had either gone bust or the mega-pub conglomerate that owned them (Guinness?) discontinued the brand. There are other brands out there, but none as good as Strongbow.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Stingrae

                      Strongbow is far from gone. I drank it all over the UK and just picked up a six pack at Beverage Warehouse on McConnell here in LA. Mangers is also a good cider, though I have not seen it here yet (though have not done a big hunt for it yet as I was looking for the Strongbow.)

                    2. I don't think the English brands imported to the US are very good. For that matter, unless you were drinking true cloudy cider in English puds and not the conglomerate swill from the big pub companies you weren't drinking the good stuff.

                      The imported French ciders are a lot more interesting. Du Vin usually has a few and so does wine house.Neither are very expensive.

                      There are several good cider being made in the US today but finding them locally is hard. Farnum Hill is lovely stuff and worthy of (my) Thanksgiving table. Which reminds me to order some. It is wonderful with thanksgiving dinner.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JudiAU

                        I'm very interested in this thread, because I had good cider in the U. K. a few years ago but haven't found enjoyable (hard) cider here.

                        How do you get your Farnum Hill, JudiAU? Their Web site ( http://farnumhillciders.com/ ) looks useful for people on the East Coast, but they don't sell at retail in California, and I see nothing about how to order the cider. Their facebook site ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/Farnum-... ) links to many interesting articles about the Coming Cider Revolution, but, again, nothing about ordering. Going beyond FH, I wasn't able to find any of the recommended American ciders in a Saveur article on the subject ( http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen... ) at the Web sites of well-known wine and liquor stores (BevMo, Wally's) or at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. We'd all still be walking if Henry Ford had used this kind of marketing and distribution.

                        1. re: Harry Nile

                          My MIL stocks it at her house in CT which is were I drink it and occasionally ship from. I haven't purchased it locally. Sorry for the bum steer. I wasn't thinking about local access to Farnum Hill.

                          French brands are more widely available.

                          I didn't mean to imply that there wasn't good cider in UK. There is terrific cider. Just that a lot of chain cider isn't all that great, although vastly superior to what we often have here.

                      2. I've been looking for good hard cider in town, too. And I found this sidebar about finding hard ciders in the LA area from the LA Times. It's a year old, but I'm sure it's still helpful:

                        http://www.latimes.com/features/print...

                        The actual article is here:
                        http://www.latimes.com/features/print...

                        I'm gonna try Wine Expo this week and see if I can get a bottle for Thanksgiving. I sure hope we can get more varieties here, soon!

                        -----
                        Wine Expo
                        2933 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                        1. I live in Silver Lake. last week I got a $14 bottle of Wandering Aengus from Silver Lake Wine and this weekend I got a $5 bottle of Samuel Smith's from Cap'n Cork on Hillhurst.

                          I guess I'll keep sampling. Both were very tasty.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Hershey Bomar

                            I am looking forward to trying the Wandering Aengus. I have tried the Ace, in fact did a draft tasting at the Ace Pub in Sebastopol in Dec. and I wasn't so excited. The straight up Apple reminded me of Babycham ! the Joker also too sweet and the fruit flavor is also not very complex, I think they are mixing for the white wine market. Of the wonderful complex fermented apple flavor of artisanal ciders I have had in Britain, so far, the Normandy apple cider I get at Wine Expo comes the closest. The Normandy Pear is lighter, and maybe goes with some foods better, but lacks the distinct fermented flavor.
                            I have heard from a large organic apple grower here in so cal, that they give their windfalls to someone who is making hard cider, but it is not for public sale because of all the health code issues. I just want to put it out there that there is a market in LA for some local cider, hope to see it soon!!!!!