Five Hard Ciders to Have Now
Taste your way through these autumnal tipples.
It’s that time of year again—cider-sipping season is upon us. The apple-based beverage—whose sales have more than tripled since 2007—has many styles, from dry to sweet and sparkling to still, and even some that are aged in Bourbon barrels.
In honor of Cider Week NY (October 18–27) and Cider Week VA (November 15–24)—a slew of local events dedicated to showcasing this tipple’s versatility—Wine Enthusiast gives you top ciders to taste during festival week and beyond. Happy picking.
Bellwether Hard Cider King Baldwin Trumansburg, NY. A blend of two American antique apples, Tompkins King and Baldwin, this off-dry cider walks a fine line between bright fruit and racy acidity—a balance reminiscent of Mosel Rieslings. It’s perfect on its own, but you can serve it alongside pork tenderloin and roasted apples to highlight its true fall touches.
abv: 6.9% Price: $15
Orchard Hill Cider Mill Red Label Extra Dry New Hampton, NY. This cider is dry, with a crisp and creamy finish. Apple and pear aromas take a back seat to lemon curd, and on the palate, it has a silky texture.
abv: 7.25% Price: $16
Eden Ice Cider Company Heirloom Blend Newport, VT. Produced from sticky-sweet syrup squeezed from the pomace of frozen heritage apples, pair this dessert-style cider with your favorite fall-time sweets. Warm spice notes of cinnamon and ginger add complexity to the crisp apple bite of this impeccably balanced after-dinner treat.
abv: 10% Price: $16/187ml, $29/375ml
Foggy Ridge First Fruit Dugspur, VA. A blend of early-season heirloom apples, this semi-dry cider’s ripe core is highlighted by accents of honey and citrus blossom. Delightful as an apéritif to kick off your fall festivities.
abv: 7% Price: $16
Albemarle Ciderworks Jupiter’s Legacy North Garden, VA. Dry and complex, this sparkling cider’s pervasive mineral character is balanced by lots of citrus and soft tannins. If you’re scrambling for that perfect turkey-dinner pairing, look no further than this crisp, textured cider.
abv: 8.2% Price: $16
Hot Spots for Cider Sipping:
Upcider, San Francisco: Pouring a national and international selection of ciders all year round, Cider Week never ends at this pub.
Hearth Restaurant and Terroir Wine Bars, New York City: During Cider Week NY, the cider will be flowing more than ever, with extensive by-the-glass offerings. These selections will include some national and international ciders, but the focus will be on New York producers, including pours from Slyboro Cider House, Aaron Burr Cidery and Bellwether Hard Cider.
Ipanema Café, Richmond, VA: On top of offering local cider pours from Blue Bee Cider and Albemarle Ciderworks, this Richmond restaurant will be creating craft cocktails with cider as the main ingredient.