Hard Cider Newsletter

Our Picks for 'Must Try' Fall Spiced Hard Ciders

Ditch those pumpkin spice lattes and try these must have fall spiced hard ciders.  Fall beverages are rolling in quickly with fall’s cool breeze.  We all know anything pumpkin spice has become a staple during the fall season, but don’t forget about the hard ciders that are spiced up with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg! Here is a list of spiced, yes including some pumpkin spiced, that we recommend you get your hands on.  They’re perfect for watching football or cozying up next to a warm fire.

1. Downeast, Pumpkin Blend (MA). Downeast takes a different approach on pumpkin spice.  Working with a local tea company, Downeast found the perfect pumpkin spice profile and added in chai spices to give the cider a little bite.  Pumpkin blend is unfiltered, hazy and orange-like in color.  This smooth yet tangy cider has an ABV of 5.1% and is available until Halloween. 

2. Angry Orchard, Cinnful Apple (NY). This sweet cider with a slight heat from cinnamon spice has an ABV of 5.0%.  The cinnamon spice complements the apple notes for a cider that is refreshingly smooth, yet warming.  Cinnful Apple is the perfect cider to mix with some spirits like whiskey for a fantastic cider cocktail.

3. Wilson’s Orchard, Spiced Up (IA). This spiced cider has an ABV of 6.0%.  Spiced Up contains a complexity of spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg giving it a tasty and high level of drinkability perfect for curling up with a blanket and a movie during a cool fall day.

4. Portland Cider Company, Pumpkin Spice (OR). This cider, with an ABV of 5.5%, is made to taste like pumpkin pie.  Crafted with flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger and blended with a classic American semi-sweet apple cider.  This cider is only available till November so get it before it’s gone!

5. Blake’s Hard Cider, Apple Lantern (MI). Blake’s Hard Cider celebrates the cooler season with their Apple Lantern hard cider.  Apple Lantern is crafted with handpicked apples, oven roasted pumpkins, and sweetened up with a touch of molasses.  This refreshingly crisp hard cider with an ABV of 6.5% is like autumn in a bottle.

6. 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Hollow Jack (OR): This spiced up cider is brewed with fresh-pressed apples, over 25 pounds of caramelized heirloom pumpkins, 10 pounds of sweet potatoes per barrel and finished with a dash of honey and autumn spices.  2 Towns Ciderhouse calls it “mischievous and spiced” and finishes with an ABV of 6.4%.

7. Rekorderlig, Spiced Apple (Sweden): This cider, with an ABV of 4.5%, is crafted with a blend of European apples that is then infused with cinnamon and vanilla.  The cinnamon flavor will keep you feeling warm while the vanilla keeps this cider smooth.  Spiced apple can be enjoyed warm with a cinnamon stick or cold over ice.

8. Doc’s Draft, Pumpkin Hard Cider (NY): This hard cider is crafted with fresh pressed apples from Upstate New York, roasted pumpkins, cinnamon, allspice, fresh ginger and nutmeg.  This cider has an ABV of 6.0% that will make you feel like you’re eating mom’s homemade pumpkin pie.

Photos courtesy of respective cider companies.

Compiled by: Kristen Sarcone, Staff Writer


Atlanta Hard Cider Company Launches with Crisp Apple

Atlanta Hard Cider Co. announced the release of their first cider, Crisp Apple, to the Atlanta, Georgia market. Starting this month, this easy-drinking hard cider will be available in kegs and six packs of 12-ounce cans. Crisp Apple will be available for purchase in bars, restaurants, and other fine retailers such as metro Atlanta Target stores. 

Crisp Apple, an easy-drinking and all-natural cider, is slightly sweet and crisp with a smooth, refreshing finish. Crafted in a traditional champagne style using 100% U.S. grown freshly-pressed whole apples, just one sip is like biting into a juicy red apple. Crisp Apple will delight cider drinkers, craft beer fans, and wine enthusiasts alike. With a great neutral taste and a 5.75% ABV, Crisp Apple can also serve as the perfect base for creating craft cocktails.

"We are literally a mom and pop run company. We started in our garage and have been homebrewing for the past 3 years; with much trial and error, we feel that we have created some great ciders for the health conscience drinker. All of our ciders are all-natural, gluten free, low in sugar, and are not overly sweet... the way traditional ciders were intended to taste," said Atlanta Hard Cider's CEO and Founder, Mark Deno.

Atlanta Hard Cider has six ciders in the making: Dry, Hopped, Pomegranate, Ginger, Honey, and Tart Cherry. They plan on releasing one of these flavors in the very near future, so stay tuned!

To celebrate its Atlanta launch, Atlanta Hard Cider will be hosting a launch party on Thursday, September 28th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. The launch will take place at Stockyard Burgers in Vinings (GA), located at: 2850 Paces Ferry Rd. SE, Atlanta, GA 30339. There will be a handful of giveaways, $5 pints of Crisp Apple craft cider being served, great appetizers, and the chance to meet the owners. Atlanta Hard Cider is really looking forward to celebrating this exciting occasion alongside the local community.

Learn more about Atlanta Hard Cider by visiting them online at AtlantaHardCider.com. Photos courtesy of Atlanta Hard Cider.


For the Love of Local Apples and Quality Hard Cider

Picture an unimaginable abundance of wild apples and feral orchards in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  That’s where Phillip Kelm found his inspiration to produce top quality, local cider.  Kelm has been making quality cider for his own personal consumption for years, but it wasn’t until 2014 when he decided there was enough wild apples to share his delicious cider.  Gitche Gumee Ciderworks was incorporated in 2015 and later pressed their first batch from local, wild apples.  

Kelm lets the apples show their local terroir by slowly and naturally fermenting with no additives.  After three months of slow fermentation, the cider is then put into French white oak barrels and aged for nine months.  After a full year, the cider is bottled unfiltered but brilliant. 

Kelm chose the name Entropy for Gitche Gumee’s first bottled cider because he has limited his hand in its production, favoring the natural path that the cider wants to take.  Kelm describes it as, “Many different wild yeasts acting on many types of wild apples.  It’s sort of like bottled chaos.  The result is pleasantly funky, French farm-style, bone-dry and fruity with just enough oak to provide balance.”  

Gitche Gumee Ciderworks is currently launching a new, more approachable cider called Dancing Fatman, which is an off-dry, bright and crisp, apple-forward session cider.  Dancing Fatman will be available in early 2018.

Gitche Gumee Ciderwork’s business model is centered on local products such as fruit, honey and maple syrup.  Local businesses are used whenever production allows for it.  Kelm stated that he is in no rush to bring his cider works nationally.  It’s a labor of love for cider and local apples.  For more information, visit Gitche Gumee Ciderworks on Facebook while their website is in construction. Photos courtesy of Gitche Gumee Ciderworks.

Contributed by: Kristen Sarcone, Staff Writer of Hard Cider News


Jersey Cider Works Honors New Jersey Reserve with New Ironbound Cider Release

To honor one of the most special places in New Jersey, the Pinelands National Reserve, Jersey Cider Works has announced the release of Ironbound Hard Cider Devil’s Harvest, a blend of the cidery’s popular Ironbound Hard Cider with dry-harvested Pine Barrens wild cranberries, sour cherries and a dash of white pepper.

Ironbound Devil’s Harvest became available this month at retail stores across New Jersey, available in six-packs of 12-ounce cans ($11.99) and also on tap wherever craft beverages are sold.

At 4.6% ABV, Ironbound Devil’s Harvest features Ironbound Hard Cider as its base, which provides the fresh apple flavor, balanced with the added flavors of sour cherry and tart wild Pine Barrens cranberry. The white pepper lends lingering warmth to the finish.

“With apple, cherry and cranberry leading the way, Ironbound Devil’s Harvest encompasses the flavors of the season,” said Cameron Stark, cider maker and partner at Jersey Cider Works. “As you drink more and more — which you will — the warmth from the white pepper builds in the mouth. It’s like drinking a spicy Syrah or a good scotch; Ironbound Devil’s Harvest goes incredibly well with food and is also great to cook with.”

“We named it ‘Devil’s Harvest’ in honor of the Pinelands, which is home to not only the beloved cranberry but also the legend of the New Jersey Devil,” said Charles Rosen, founder of Jersey Cider Works. “In fact, our advertising image for Ironbound Devil’s Harvest features a ‘Piney’ version of that mythical creature that is Jersey through and through.”

Ironbound Devil’s Harvest is the third retail product released by Jersey Cider Works. In June 2016, the company debuted its Ironbound Hard Cider, made from fresh-pressed apples sourced from orchards in New Jersey and neighboring states. Earlier this year, Jersey Cider Works released Ironbound Summer Cider, a blend of cider, iced tea and fresh lemon.

Ironbound Cider is produced at the 108-acre Hunterdon County farm shared by Jersey Cider Works and its sister company, New Ark Farms, which employs chronically underemployed members of the Greater Newark community including the formerly incarcerated.

New Jersey has a long history of cider making, especially in Newark where cider was one of the city’s first industries. Celebrated throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Newark cider was considered by many, including George Washington, to be one of the finest in America.

Catch the latest Ironbound news and events on Facebook or find where to buy Ironbound cider online at JerseyCiderWorks.com. Photos courtesy of Jersey Cider Works.


Liquid Alchemy Beverages Makes Waves in Delaware

On a visit to Portland, Maine, owners Jeffery and Terri Sorantino discovered a Lavender Lemonade Mead, which uncovered their aspiration to craft meads and hard ciders.  After years of experimentation, Liquid Alchemy Beverages (LAB) was born.  LAB officially opened its doors in 2016.  With firm ties to their local community, LAB made relationships with local apiaries, orchards, and farms.  They even found a local roofing company selling a building to call LAB’s home.  After a two-year renovation period, Delaware’s first meadery opened its doors.

In LAB’s early days only one cider was available, The Dark Cide(r).  A modern style mahogany colored cider that has an ABV of 7.5%, and a unique caramel, smokey flavor.  Not only did this cider gain a following from locals, but gained the interest from a local cider maker, Ryan Rice, with big dreams.  Under Ryan’s expertise, LAB Ciderworks was crafted.  Ryan has grown LAB Ciderworks from one cider to five hard ciders as well as many small-batch flavors that could soon become a part of regular production.  The current flagship ciders are The Light Cide(r), The Dark Cide(r), and Traditions. 

2017 has brought big things to LAB Ciderworks, like the introduction of two new ciders, Deeply-Rooted, a combination of fresh sarsaparilla, birch bark and Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans; and Pineapple Experiment #13, a fresh cider with caramelized pineapple.  2017 also brought LAB Ciderwork’s first true small batch cider, Magenta-Dragon, with pink flesh dragon fruit, mango and mint.  Magenta-Dragon was the definition of a small batch, only lasting a mere six hours in LAB’s tasting room and has a highly anticipated return in November. 

LAB began with a new love for mead, which continues to be the heart of their production.  Presently, LAB’s flagship meads are O4, crafted with mandarin, tangerine and blood oranges, and Thai-Grr, crafted with Thai chili peppers, key lime and lime.  Both meads have won Best-In-Show distinctions in national competitions.  

Liquid Alchemy Beverages is proud to offer local, hand-crafted, all-natural hard ciders and meads to the Delaware and Greater Philadelphia area.  LAB’s tasting room is open for tours and tastings on Friday from 2:30pm-9:00pm, Saturday from 12:00pm-9:00pm, and Sunday from 12:00pm-5:00pm. Beginning November 1st, LAB will also be open on Wednesday from 4:00pm-9:00pm. The tasting room is located in Wilmington, DE at 28 Brookside Drive. For more information and updates, visit Liquid Alchemy Beverages at LiquidAlchemyBeverages.com. Photos courtesy of LAB.

Contributed by: Kristen Sarone, Staff Writer


New Mango-Raspberry Cider From Sweden Hits Shelves

Rekorderlig, an award-winning premium hard cider crafted and imported from Åbro, a fourth-generation family owned brewery located in Vimmerby, Sweden, announced the launch of their sixth flavor in the United States market – Mango-Raspberry.

Hitting shelves in more than 15 states including California, Florida, Georgia, Arizona and Hawaii this month, Mango-Raspberry Hard Cider is a tropical cider with the intense fragrance and flavor of ripe mango with a hint of wild raspberries. Rekorderlig recommends the cider is served cold over ice and with a squeeze of lemon. The new flavor will be available nationally early next year.

Rekorderlig cider is the 4th largest selling cider in the UK and number one fruit packaged cider in Australia, with national distribution soon in the United States. The brand formed an importing and distribution partnership with Total Beverage Solutions in August 2016. Expansion has since been rapid for the core flavors, starting with distribution in 14 States and growing to 41 in the past year.

“Rekorderlig Mango-Raspberry Cider has always been a favorite among Rekorderlig’s worldwide fans. Its intense flavor and fragrance combine Rekorderlig’s native Swedish love for wild raspberries, with an exotic touch of tropical mango. At last, consumers here in the US will have a chance to enjoy it,” says James Vincini, Head of Brand Communications at Rekorderlig Cider. “This new flavor is the perfect addition to our award-winning portfolio of hard ciders,” adds Vincini.

The mixture of these distinct flavors creates a unique experience, unlike other fruit ciders. Still drawn from Rekorderlig’s Swedish heritage of apples & pears, Mango-Raspberry can be enjoyed by itself or in a creative cocktail.  This cider can easily be mixed with spirits like tequila and rye whiskey without losing its edge.

Rekorderlig, pronounced “rek-order-lig,” is made with 100% European fruit and water from Europe’s most accredited spring. The combination creates a naturally gluten-free, lightly carbonated, crisp and refreshing hard cider. In English, the definition of ‘Rekorderlig’ is ‘reliable, trustworthy and down to earth.’ These qualities are reflected in the blended premium ingredients, pure natural spring water and family techniques that go into crafting each and every cider. It’s this care and attention to detail that is quintessentially Swedish.

For additional information, please visit Rekorderlig.com/US. Photos courtesy of Rekorderlig.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Seared Sea Bass with Citrus Fennel Salad
From Marcus Meacham at Tastemade

Cortland Jab
From The Associated Press by The Culinary Institute of America

Photo Credit: Tastemade

Photo Credit: Phil Mansfield/The Culinary Institute of America via AP