Cider took the world by storm this decade when demand surged year over year. The US market alone saw a 70% increase from 2005 to 2012 in production. And it's still growing! Don't miss out on this evolving market and submit your Cider to Tastings for a professional review. Let Tastings be your trusted voice for the quality Cider you produce and showcase your brand on Tastings.com for the world to see.
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Common ciders range in alcohol from 4-8% and typically feature dominant apple aromas and flavors. Most are not dry, but also not cloying, with a sweet, medium body and acidity. This style is what the majority of consumers associate with hard cider. The descriptor 'common' is in reference to the types of apples used to produce these ciders, rather than in reference to its quality of ready availability. Common ciders are produced from culinary table apples, typically including varietals such as Golden Delicious, Jonathan and Macintosh to name a few.
French-style ciders range in alcohol from 3-10% and are typically full-bodied with lively carbonation and subtle sweetness. This category includes all French-produced and inspired ciders including Normandy-style ciders. These ciders are often available in larger format bottles enclosed with a cork and cage. French-style ciders are more wine-like than most styles, and can be incredibly complex with lively acidity making them a perfect pair for a wide array of cuisines.
English-style ciders range in alcohol from 5-10% and feature austere and muted apple aromas and flavors. These ciders can be produced anywhere in the world, as long as English-origin apple varieties are used. English-style ciders are typically full-bodied and dry, and may also feature a slight 'barnyard nose.'
This category contains all non-apple based ciders, excluding perry. Many ciders in this category are in fact a blend of apple cider and other fruit juices. These ciders can range from sweet to dry and typically feature the flavors and aromas of the added fruit.
The perry/poire tradition is very similar to apple cider tradition. Running parallel to its better-known cousin, pears make for a subtler and more nuanced fruit beverage. Ideally, look for true pear flavors, not sweet, nor cloying. Dryness and minerality are a plus and carbonation level is at the discretion of the producer.
Specialty ciders include all ciders that do not fit neatly into other categories. These ciders may be barrel-aged, dry-hopped, spiced, made with single or heirloom apple varietals, fermented with an exotic or wild yeast strain, or any combination of these techniques. Ciders in this category have a diverse set of flavors, aromas and alcohol content. Most specialty ciders have seasonal or limited availability, but are becoming more readily available year-round as the category grows in popularity.
Sparkling cider is cider, a beverage made from apples, that has been carbonated. While most are inexpensive, non-alcoholic products that have had gas injected into a tank to provide the effervescence, there are some artisan offerings that are produced much like the finest sparkling wines, with secondary fermentation in the bottle; these examples have as much as 8% alcohol content. The non-alcoholic version is great for a picnic or barbecue or simply a refreshing drink on a hot summer's day, while the alcoholic version should be served with shellfish, chicken salads or fusion cuisine; they can also be used to make a Kir Royale. They come in varying degrees of sweetness, sometimes denoted by the Champagne conventions of Brut or Extra-Dry.
Asturians call it sidra, while those of the Basque region call it sagardoa; together they are the heading 'Spanish Ciders' because they are truly a distinct style. Traditional Spanish ciders have the reputation of being quite tart - the blend of varietals definitely leans toward the sharp ones, and away from sweet & bittersweet. This has its own appeal, but the locals have figured out the best way to enjoy their beverage: pour like the escanciadores do, by 'throwing' the cider into a glass from four or five feet away. This throw really changes the character of the cider, making it softer & more velvety & less acidic; it aerates the cider.
Ice cider is a specialty of the Canadian province of Quebec and is the cider version of ice wine, as it is made from the juice of frozen apples. These apples are picked at the end of January and are then pressed and fermented, a process that takes months. Alcohol is between 7% and 13%. They have intriguing flavors of spiced apple, honey and custard. Most are still, but some have a light effervescence. Enjoy on their own or with vanilla ice cream.
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