Category Archives: CIder

Which Cider Is Right For You? A Scale To Measure Sweetness

Okay so it took until the middle of October but finally it feels like fall! Though I recommend drinking ciders year-round, now is the time when they really start to shine and we begin seeing new limited edition series, fun fall flavors, barrel aged ciders… I could go on and on.

The funny thing about ciders is that while most don’t contain added sugar, some do, and while most claim to be super dry, some aren’t. It can be tricky to decipher exactly what you’re getting into when trying a new cider, so I’ve broken down a couple to get you started. This list is a mix of old, new, classic, funky, sweet, dry, local, international and unusual! 

And for those who just want the answer to their very simple question, “is it dry or sweet?,” we’ve created a sweetness scale — using apples! 
Etienne Dupont – Organic Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie $7.99 375ml

This bone dry cider from Normandy is unfiltered, unpasteurized, organic and funky! If you like your ciders to be Champagne-esque, this is for you!  
Eve’s Cidery – Beckhorn Hollow $19.99 750ml

Eve’s Cidery in Van Etten, New York, is growing the most gorgeous apples and thus making absolutely stunning ciders. This Beckhorn Hollow uses Golden Russets which provide a juicy, fruity start but build up into structured tannins and zippy acidity. It leaves that dry, lip-smacking feeling that makes you crave another sip.  
Shacksbury – Dry $13.99 4pk, $3.75 single

This unconventional cider blends Vermont and UK apples for a bittersweet concoction that combines two great cider worlds. This cider is particularly low in grams of sugar and is slow fermented and aged for at least 6 months. Check out their other flavors, too!  
Samuel Smith – Organic Cider  $5.99 500ml

A classic! Light bodied, crisp and clean and begging to be had with creamy soups or spicy entrees. This is a great introduction to classic cider and comes in the perfect size to share.  
 Champlain Orchards Cidery – Heirloom $12.99 750ml

Champlain has a variety of tasty ciders, but I believe their Heirloom is the best example of local, perfectly-balanced cider. Their orchard is family-owned, sustainable and runs entirely on energy from the sun – pretty cool! This particular bottle gives us a delicate, floral aroma with beautiful sharp acidity in the finish.  
Harpoon Brewery – Cider  $16.99 12pk, $9.49 6pk, $1.99 single

The underdog of the group here! Most don’t think cider when they think Harpoon, but the brewery is doing a great job in letting the apple shine in this little number. The only ingredient is apples! Also an extremely low sugar content for cider, this is a great choice if you’re buying for a party as it comes in a 12-pack format and is extremely crowd-friendly.  
Downeast Cider – Original Blend $8.99 4pk, $2.75 single

The sugar content starts to creep up a little on this guy, so if you’re looking for a touch more sweetness this is for you! Another crowd-pleaser, Downeast’s unfiltered cider is fruity and bubbly. Shake the can to dissolve some of the sediment – but then don’t forget to wait 10 seconds before opening or you’ll have a real mess on your hands!  
Woodchuck Cider – Fall Harvest Blend  $9.99 6pk, $1.75 single

Probably their most popular seasonal, this Woodchuck claims to be just like apple pie, so prepare for some warmer, softer fruitiness met with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. This is a great blend to have around for Thanksgiving, as that sweet, sharp apple punch will cut through the rich dishes.  
Rekorderlig – Mango Raspberry Cider  $10.49 4pk, $2.99 single

This Swedish cider is basically a fruit tart in a can! Mango raspberry is the newest edition to their lineup and packs some sweetness for sure. This would be delicious with some hard, salty cheese and spicy meats! 
Eden – Heirloom Blend Ice Cider  $36.99 375ml

An extremely special bottle that would make for an amazing gift (to yourself!). It takes at least 8 pounds of apples to create enough juice for this one teensy little bottle, thus creating a juicy, concentrated, mouth-watering blend that is delicious after dinner. Great for upcoming holidays!  
Happy fall, and Cheers!

Cider For Thanksgiving. It’s A Thing.

While Thanksgiving may be the most All-American of holidays, its history is deeply rooted in our more local New England heritage and traditions. A meal of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce could only have come from New England (after all, they weren’t shooting wild turkeys in the vast cranberry bogs of El Paso).

Every year people ask us, “What’s the best wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner?” The answer is, honestly, almost any wine that you like! Pinot noir, Cotes du Rhone, and malbec are all great, safe choices, and all offer extremely tasty wine at a variety of price points. But the one beverage that gets short shrift each year, and couldn’t be better aligned to our New England Thanksgiving traditions, is cider.

One thing New England has never been short on is apples. And when you’re facing a harsh new England winter without any modern conveniences, it makes a lot more sense to turn your surplus apples into safe-to-drink cider, so you can save your barley and wheat for baking. Which is what our forefathers did.

After prohibition, we lost our taste for cider, and many of our orchards were given over to the cultivation of eating apples. Thankfully, the recent resurgence in craft beer and spirits has reversed that trend, and many long forgotten cider apple varieties are making their way back onto our shelves.

Here are nine of our favorite ciders for a Thanksgiving meal with friends and family. Many come from cideries right here in our backyard, but we’ve also included some classics from the great cider making nations of Europe.

We hope you find something new to try in our list, and are inspired to branch out with your Thanksgiving feast. Remember, it’s not wine, and it’s not beer – it’s cider!

Nine Great Thanksgiving Ciders

Stormalong Cider The Grand Banks – Sherborn, MA
A new-comer to the Rhode Island market, Stormalong makes an excellent dry cider, and a very tasty dry-hopped variety. Our choice for Thanksgiving is their cider finished in Boston’s Bully Boy Distillers’ rum barrels. The cider coaxes beautiful flavors of vanilla and baking spice from the oak casks, and provides a welcome counterpoint to the bracing acidity of the cider. Extremely well made.

Shacksbury Classic – Shoreham, VT
Made with both eating and cider apples from Vermont and England, this slightly sparkling cider has subtle earthy notes and an off-dry finish that’s the perfect accompaniment to turkey’s dark meat and fatty skin.

Eve’s Cidery Albee Hill – Van Etten, NY
Made with a hodgepodge of traditional cider apples like ‘Stembridge Cluster’ and ‘Wickson,’ this is a cider for wine lovers. Bone-dry, with nuanced flavors of stone fruit, peaches, and sage. With a slightly bitter finish, this cider goes with everything on the table, especially stuffing and gravy!

Aaron Burr Cidery Appinette – Wurtsboro, NY
This one is a bit bonkers, but the juice in the bottle is phenomenal. A Champagne lover’s cider, Appinette is made from 30% Traminette grapes from the Finger Lakes, and 70% cider apples. A little cloudy and ruddy, it has vibrant, bubbly aromas of grapefruit, apricots, and rose petals. Truly delightful.

Oyster River Winegrowers Dry Cider – Warren, ME
Unfiltered, bottle conditioned, naturally fermented cider – it’s about as natural as it gets. Bracingly tart, with lively, persistent bubbles, this is a light bodied cider for a toast and a first course.

Sandford Orchards Chestnut Cider – Devon, England
Made with fun-to-say English apples like ‘Sweet Alford’ and ‘Dabinett’, this cider is fermented and aged in chestnut casks before bottling. The chestnut adds a creamy weight to the cider, which retains a little sweetness and residual sugar.

Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie – Normandie, France
A strikingly beautiful cider with a ridiculously understated label. Very lively in the glass, with a frothy head and complex flavors of apples, pears, citrus, pine, leather, anise, and oak. An elegant cider for an elegant meal.

Rekorderlig Spiced Apple – Vimmerby, Sweden
Rich and fruity Swedish cider, infused with cinnamon and vanilla. It’s apple pie in a glass – perfect for dessert!

Guzman Riestra Sidra Brut Nature – Asturias, Spain
A secondary fermentation in the bottle creates this naturally sparkling beauty with a Champagne-like dryness and body. It has bright fruity pear and banana notes, but is not at all sweet or cloying! The bubbles and tartness of the apples will cut through heavier flavors of mashed potatoes and stuffing without getting in the way.

Happy Thanksgiving!