As most of my readers know sour beer is kind of my thing, some beer geeks love hops, some love stouts but for me tart is where it’s at. With this in mind it is not too much of stretch to imagine that I also enjoy a good cider from time to time.
Cider, like craft beer a few years back, is really carving out a niche for itself moving far and beyond your basic sugary hard cider of yesteryear. Pulling a few tricks from the brewery handbook ciders are crafted from a myriad of fruits, herbs, spices, they are being dry hopped and even barrel aged creating a spectrum of flavours from sweet to tart. Craft breweries seem to be taking heed of the next big thing hitching their hops to the bandwagon and making a cider or two to round out their line ups.
I think it is great to see ciders finding their place in the limelight especially for those people who are gluten intolerant and can’t tolerate the typical grains used in craft beer. Having cider on the menu brings more people to the table and introduces something new to jaded beer geeks. Often, after a long day of tasting at a beer festival, a cider or two, is the perfect way to reset your palate.
If you think cider is not for you you just haven’t delved deep enough into the amazing range currently on the market.
Finn River Habanero Cider
Originally conceived as an odd-ball for a strange brewing event this cider brings the heat by adding habanero peppers into the apple mix. Pouring a clear pale gold with tons of carbonation, this cider has a very sweet nose but a couple sips in and you realize that habanero is not merely a pretty word to adorn the label; there is some real heat to this cider. The cider has a nice amount of tartness but overall a sweeter cider, which works well in combination with the hot pepper taste. I have to say The heat really hits you after you finish a few sips leaving a deep warming sensation in the stomach. A dry finish rounds this one off.
This is one of several Finn River ciders I have tried including an excellent cranberry rose hip version and a tart dry barrel-aged version, which was equally Impressive.
A little closer to home we have Seaside Ciders located in Saanich on Vancouver Island making amazing ciders that garner ridiculously (but totally deserved) high praise from reviewers. Their Rum Runner and Prohibition ciders blur the boundaries between cider and spirits making liquory, rich ciders that are also sweet and tart. If you have not had the chance be sure to visit their tasting room, which is a picture perfect farm surrounded by orchards looking out to the ocean.
So beer geek nation get out there and try something different, an apple a day and all that jazz…