Hard cider, some say it's a fad, a girly drink, while some say "it's too sweet for me", others say it's like wine while others compare it to beer. Just what is this fermented beverage and where did it start?
For a detailed answer visit: http://www.northeastcidertrail.com/hardciderhistory/
We however will sum it up for you....
Hard Cider is made from apples. Many varieties of apples are blended together and pressed into fresh apple cider. The fresh pressed cider is then fermented using the natural wild yeast from the apples or a cultivated yeast is added to begin fermentation, much the same as how wine is made. Over the next few weeks the sweet apple cider will begin to lose it sweetness because the yeast will eat up all the natural sugars resulting in a dryer fermented beverage that is surprisingly not very reminiscent of apples. They range from about 6.5% ABV up to 8.5 %ABV.
But where did it come from? Early in US history the first settlers had experienced the devastating effects of drinking unclean water. So after settling in America, they started fermenting fresh apple cider into hard apple cider as a daily beverage and so it became their water for both young and old alike. For centuries it was the drink of choice and old recipes were brought from their homeland in Europe.
During the time of the prohibition In the U.S., countless cider apple trees orchards were cut down and burned, making the common hard apple cider a rarity in many parts of the United States.
...THERE HAS BEEN A REVIVAL …
In recent years with the return of curated goods and handcrafted items as well as craft beverages, hard cider has seen a revival.
For many who have tried commercial hard apple cider, you could agree that it resembles sweet bubbly apple juice because of the punch of flavorings, juice and sugary sweetness that has been added after fermentation. That's how commercialism has catered to the super sweet tooth of the US consumer.
But if this was your only introduction to Hard Ciders, then you have been mislead. Allow me, a Hard Cideress, to properly introduce you to the amazing world of handcrafted hard ciders! Because handcrafted "homemade" hard ciders are quite different....
It has a wonderfully old-fashioned appeal and as a craft it just feels wholesome. You can taste the fermentation and alcohol in real hard cider and it is amazing!
There are a vast array of the ciders being made in the states today, from sour or spiced ciders to fruity, while others have been introduced to hops or aged whiskey bourbon barrels, like our "Oaky O'Shea". The amount of carbonation varies as well as levels of dryness from dry, off dry, semi dry, semi sweet and sweet. Different types of yeasts are used from white wine yeast to ale yeast and champagne yeast and these all affect the final product and taste preferred. It can be purchased in cans, bottles and some cider tasting bars like the one at www.rowanasherwinery.com have a growler program, where you can return the growler for a discounted refill of ciders on tap.
All of these variations allow for endless creativity as well as bountiful flavors in this newly "tapped" Market. So why not look online and find your local Hard Cidery and sample a few sips of Americas oldest beverage.
You can find cideries on the newly formed North East Cider Trail that is working to unite Virginia to Maine. Check out www.NorthEastCiderTrail.com