Hard Cider: It’s Easier (To Find a Good One) Than It Sounds

27 Nov

Ask most men, and you will be told that Hard Cider is for girls.  Incorrect – the December 2009 issue of Details Magazine, the one with John Mayer on the cover, points out some good truths about hard cider.  “If you think cider comes in those six-packs you see in the Smirnoff Ice aisle of the grocery store, you’ve clearly never had the good stuff – which is quirky, elegant, and a little hard to find.  Crafted from long-forgotten apples with names like Bramtot and Nehou, in places like Austria, Spain, and Upstate New York, it combines the food-friendly refreshment of beer with the layered intensity of a top-notch bubbly. You can even serve it in a flute, if you’d like.  But guzzling it from a Mason jar while polishing off a plate of ribs is okay, too.  That’s the beauty of a first-rate cider: options.

5 Top-Notch Options:

1.  Isastegi Sagardo Naturaia (Pictured) – $10, demaisonselections.com – This classic basque cider is pungent  – right on the cusp of unlikable – and does its best work with aggressive foods such as salt cod or a rib-eye served bloody.

2.  West County Cider Refield – $13, westcountycider.com – A single-variety cider made from scarlet-fleshed redfield apples (hence the rose hue).  This Berkshire’s find makes for a smart stand-in for Prosecco or demi-sec champagne.

3.Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie 2007 – $11, bunitedint.com – This addictive French cider may smell like plain old apple juice, but one sip reveals a winey complexity that stands up to rib-sticking stews and charcuterie.

4. Farnum Hill Extra Dry – $14, farnumhillciders.com – The driest offering from a crew of New Hampshire cider wizards, this lean concoction is versatile – so you don’t have to stress about the pairing.

5. Wandering Aengus Ciderworks Semi-Dry Cider – $16, wanderingaengus.com – With its very subtle sweetness and ginger flavors, this organic cider from Oregon is great with dessert, especially pies and tarts.

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