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What’s all this talk about cider? The world is waking up to hard cider because it’s approachable and easy without a hint of stuffiness. But there is a rich craft aspect to the industry, and SO much to know for those of us who care to dig into the details. There’s a cider style for lovers of beer, wine, coolers, and cocktails. Like most things, the best way to find what you like is to taste, taste, taste.
For those who prefer to read up on their refreshments, Cider Styles will be your guide to this beautiful beverage.
Choosing the right cider for your taste comes down to a few basic elements. Ciders are broken down into 2 standard styles and 6 specialty styles that vary based on variety of apples used, the aging process, and any added flavours like fruits and spices. The 2 standard styles of ciders are modern ciders and heritage ciders. Within those categories, ciders are categorized as fruit ciders, hopped ciders, spiced ciders, wood-aged ciders, sour ciders and ice ciders. Learn about these styles below, and feel free to click on any of the products to dig into their details.
STANDARD CIDER STYLES
Heritage ciders (aka traditional ciders) are typically made from multi-use or cider-specific bittersweet/bittersharp apples and heirloom varieties. Wild or crab apples can sometimes be used to add acidity. These ciders tend to be higher in acidity, bitterness and complex aromas. Aroma/Flavour: Complex with attributes like increased dryness, bitterness and complex aromas Appearance: Yellow or amber in colour, clear to hazy clarity Varieties: Dabinett (bittersweet), Kingston Black (bittersharp), Roxbury Russet (American heirloom) and Wickson (crab).
Modern ciders are typically made from table apples like McIntosh, Golden Delicious or Gala. These ciders tend to be low in tannins and higher in acidity. Aroma/Flavour: Refreshing apple character, medium to high acidity – not harsh or biting. Appearance: Pale to yellow in colour, clear to hazy in clarity Varieties: McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Gala and Fuji
- Collective Arts Local Press
- Growers Honey Crisp Apple Flavoured
- Somersby Cider
- Okanagan Premium Cider Crisp Apple
SPECIALTY CIDER STYLES
- Sourwood Sour City
- No Boats On Sunday
- Thornbury Village Wild Berry
- Collective Arts Apple & Cherry Cider
Fruit ciders are apple-based ciders that have other fruits or fruit juices added either before or after fermentation. The addition of fruit will affect the ciders flavour, aroma and appearance. Aroma/Flavour: The added fruit will be noticed in the overall flavour and aroma Appearance: Depending on the fruit added the colour and clarity will be affected Varieties: Typically, dessert/culinary apples are used. Fruit additions could be cherry, cranberry, blueberry, and peach
Hopped ciders are simply apple-based ciders with added hops. Aroma/Flavour: Intense aroma and bitterness of hops Appearance: Clear to hazy Varieties: Typically, dessert/culinary apples are used. Hop additions could be Citra, Cascade, Galaxy, and Mosaic Spiced Ciders: Spiced ciders are apple-based ciders made with any combination of spices, herbs and/or botanicals added either before or after fermentation
Aroma/Flavour: The added spices will be prevalent in the overall flavour and aroma Appearance: The addition of spices or herbs will influence colour and clarity Varieties: Typically, dessert/culinary apples are used. Additions could include ginger, cinnamon, habanero, elderflower, and mint.
Wood Aged Ciders:
Wood and/or barrel aged ciders are apple-based ciders which have a wood or barrel aged character as a part of the overall flavour profile.
Aroma/Flavour: Wide range of intensity of flavour based on the wood to cider ratio along with the previous use of the wood
Appearance: The colour will be influenced by the wood/barrel character and time in contact with the wood.
Sour ciders are made intentionally sour by using a mix of non-standard yeast or bacteria during fermentation. Sour ciders have higher levels of acidity not typically found in unfermented apple juice. They typically have a pleasant tart balance and may have other fruit or botanicals added.
Aroma/Flavour: High acidity not typically present
Appearance: Typically, unfiltered and naturally conditioned so clarity ranges from clear to cloudy
Iced ciders are sweet and typically made from concentrating juice before fermentation, either by freezing fruit before pressing or by freezing juice, then drawing off the sugar-saturated solution as it thaws. Fermentation is stopped before the cider reaches dryness, leaving a high sugar and ABV.
Aroma/Flavour: Intensely flavoured with pome fruit and tropical fruit flavours and aromas. Acidity will be low.
Appearance: Clear with deep colour from gold to dark amber.
*With information from the Cider Association of America Style Guidelines and Cider Craft Magazine, March 2018*