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Hard Apple Cider - What and Where?

Hi Everyone,

I, of course, like many of you love food and drink. Love wine, various types of liquor and until recently loved beer very much as well. However, due to a recent painful out break and diagnosis of gout, I stopped drinking beer at the start of July.

I started trying various hard apple ciders due to their similar alcohol content (since I want to drink them socially as well). My preference is to get as close to the beer experience as I can, so I tend to like the very dry ciders like Stella Cidre, Thatchers Green Goblin (a favorite so far), Magners, etc.

If anyone out there has experience with hard apple ciders (not the sweat kinds) please shed some light on it. Also, I know that cider is a tradition in some parts of the world (e.g. Norther Spain), but if you can shed light on available in the States stuff also that would be most appreciated.

The main question is that I want to find a bar (or several) in Philly that would have hard apple cider on tap. Any suggestions?

At times I go out with the boys and I want to find a place with some energy, good beer and a cool vibe, which also respect hard apple cider (so that they are more likely to pay attention to the type and quality of cider they offer).

With the gluten free trend out there, I would this this would be a valuable discussion board for several folks out there.

Thanks in advance for your responses,

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  1. sometimes Tria has the traditional cider from Northern Spain, sidra natural, which is good if you like funky beers like sour ales and non-fruity lambics (they get the pouring technique completely wrong though). They've always got good beer for your friends - sometime even a gluten free one if you can have that. (it's pretty "grown up" as bars go, though, so I'm not sure about "energy" or "vibe")

    1. The three most common brands availabe in the states would be Woodchuck from Vermont, Magners from Ireland and Strongbow from the UK. There is locally produced cider, including that by Commonwealth which I believe is a spin off of the Philadelphia Brewing Company (please correct me if I am wrong.)

      There is also a great cider place outside of Philadelphia in Boyertown. Frecon's cidery is served at the Other Farm Brewery, and is very good.

      To find cider in Philadelphia, you might try using Phillytapfinder which has a button that will give you a heads up on where cider is on draught. http://phillytapfinder.com/style/cider/

      In addition to Northern Spain, there is good cider in Breton. You will find bottles and sometimes draught at Creperie Beaumond at sixth and bainbridge.

      For the spanish ciders, try the tapas places in Philadelphia, including Bar Ferdinand, Tinto, Amada, and Jamonera. They at least have some in bottles, if not on draught.

      1. Seems like cider is on tap at a lot of places these days, and anywhere with a decent bottle list will have some good selections. Hard to name too many specifics because I dont play close attention, but my SO often orders cider and gets it all over the place.

        +1 on Tria, and Tinto always has Spanish cider too. But these arent really places to go with the "the boys."

        In Fishtown, Bottle Bar East is a take-out shop in the front with a bar in the back. You can drink beers from the take out section back there and they have a big selection of ciders to try. Then youre right near Frankford Hall and Johnny Brenda's which wont have as big selections but always have at least one cider option, and might be places you and your friends like to go out to. Fishtown Tavern should have at least one or two ciders as well.

        1. http://fountainporter.com/ always has Commonwealth cider on tap (this is a spin-off from Philadelphia Brewing Co.)
          It's also probably the type of cider you would like, extremely dry.

            1. To all who have replied thus far, I want to thank you. It would be great to expand this discussion as I think many other folks may have the same request. Please continue.

              I will report back once I go out with my buddies.

              1. Frecon Farms in Boyertown has had 2 hard ciders for sale at the Ambler farmer's market every Saturday. I am not a cider drinker, but bought one & enjoyed it. Definitely a dry cider.

                3 Replies
                1. re: knappy123

                  Knappy thanks for letting me know where Frecon is sold outside of Boyertown. The same folks also have a brewpub called the Other Farm that they also serve the cider.

                  1. re: cwdonald

                    Frecon also comes to the Sunday Headhouse market

                  2. re: knappy123

                    Had some of Frecon's "Crabby Apple" at the South Street night market and it was very enjoyable.

                  3. this might be of interest to you...there's apparently a cider festival this saturday (9/28/13) at the navy yard:


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: purplesachi

                      I'm going to have to watch for that event next year!

                    2. Hi All,

                      Thank you very much for all your input. We ended up at Ashton Cigar Bar on Walnut. It had a great atmosphere and a few of us enjoyed the cigars there, which by the way were surprisingly cheap for such an establishment.

                      I had a few bottles of Aspall Dry Cider which was very nice and then moved on to some rye based Sazeracs, which they made very well.

                      This is an upscale place with a great drink list and a few ciders.

                      Thanks again and I hope this was helpful to some folks.

                      1. I'm a big cider fan! Happy to find that it is becoming more widely available. Living in Old City, I'm most familiar with selections in this area (some on tap, but mostly by the bottle).

                        Nick's Roast Beef has Crispin, and Prime Stache has Angry Orchard, both on tap.

                        Revolution House will sometimes have one on tap, but I believe right now they have Original Sin by the bottle. Khyber Pass Pub also carries Original Sin regularly.

                        Bierstube has Jack's Hard Cider, and one other that I can't remember. Fork/High Street has delicious and different Ace Pumpkin Cider by the bottle.

                        Eulogy has a great variety of American and international ciders (bottle) that you should try, especially JK Scrumpy's. Victoria Freehouse also carries a variety, including Fox Barrel Perry (pear cider). My favorite pear cider is Original Cin Pear, but I haven't seen it around the 'hood since Chelsea Bar stopped carrying it.