Which Hard Cider Should You Try?

Whether you like seasonal beer, stick to champagne, or just like anything with alcohol, here are the ciders you should try.

Photo courtesy of Distillery Lane Ciderworks.

If you like sour beer

Hard cider. Via Flickr user N i c o l a
Photograph via Flickr user N i c o l a.

Try: Basque sidra.
Look to Spain’s Basque area for tart, funky ciders, thanks to natural fermentation from wild yeast. Sidra’s assertiveness isn’t for everyone, but fans are passionate.

If you like Saison beer

Try: English cider.
British ciders generally contain more residual sugar, though many still tend toward the dry. Natural fermentation—the method that also produces traditional farmhouse ales—results in rustic flavors and higher alcohol content.

If you like Champagne

If you like Champagne, you should try bubbly French cidre. Photograph via Flickr user Andrea Parrish - Geyer.
Photograph via Flickr user Andrea Parrish – Geyer.

Try: French cidre.
France—particularly Normandy and Brittany’s cooler regions—is known for its refined, structured, and bubbly cidres. Many are stored in Champagne-like bottles.

If you like everything

Try: American cider.
Americans have adapted Europe’s cider traditions and run with them. You’ll find hard ciders from producers on both coasts, and any style is fair game: California’s Crispin makes a cider with Belgian Trappist beer yeasts, while Maryland’s Distillery Lane Ciderworks ages its Rio in rye-whiskey barrels.

This article appears in our January 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.