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All about cider

What is cider?

You've heard of it, you've tasted it. Whether you're a year round cider drinker, or go for your seasonal Angry Orchard in the fall - we can all agree cider is pretty dang great. Cider is not really a beer, but an alcoholic drink that results from the fermentation process of apple juice. Since this is exactly how cider is made, it falls in beer's general scope. Called hard cider or hard apple cider to distinguish it from its nonalcoholic counterpart, which consists of crushed apples, the absence of malt and hops distinguishes it from beer. However, some producers are starting to experiment with their recipes by making hopped ciders, which are a good gluten-free alternative to beers. True cider never contains malt.

Most ciders range from 4.5% to 7% alcohol by volume (ABV), but some varieties can have a higher alcohol content at around 10% to 12% ABV. If you need an excuse to indulge in this traditional alcoholic beverage, it's full of healthy polyphenols.

Types of cider

There are four main types of cider: dry, off-dry, semi-sweet (or semi-dry) and farmhouse cider. Dry apple cider has less than 0.5% residual sugar, so it can taste almost savory while also offering acidic notes with that notable crisp apple flavor. It also tends to contain more alcohol than other types.

Off-dry cider contains 1% to 2% residual sugar, while the semi-dry ones contain more than 2% residual sugar. As the name suggests, semi-sweet ciders are the most sugary, with around 4% residual sugar. Lastly, farmhouse ciders undergo a fermenting process that involves wild yeast for a more earthy flavor profile and a higher ABV value.

You may also find there's ciders out there that don't just have that crisp apple taste. Angry Orchard, for example, has a bunch of different flavors like strawberry, peach mango and others where they blend their fruit ingredients together to get a new unique recipe. If pure apple taste isn't for you - one of these blends may be a great option.

CIDER SERVING OPTIONS

A crisp cider tastes best if you serve it at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, in the proper glassware: a cider glass or a pint glass. However, you can also try it in a Bordeaux wine glass, which is large enough to aerate the drink properly. As for food pairings, try chicken, salads and desserts.

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