Hard cider has long been a traditional favorite of Europeans, and has been experiencing consistent growth for the last few years among the craft beverage movement here. The cider industry grew by 400% in 2014 and there are now more than 150 cider brands nationwide.
Cider is usually carbonated. Although primarily made from fermented apples, it can be flavored with other fruits such as pear, apricot, peach, or cherry, and also spiced with anything from cinnamon to habanero chilies. It is a diverse drink that can fit a variety of tastes and occasions.
In Colorado, cideries such as Wild Cider in Firestone, Stem Ciders, the Colorado Cider Company, and C Squared Ciders of Denver, and Big B’s in Hotchkiss, are gaining in popularity due to their innovation of flavors and position as a lighter, less caloric option to beer.
The growing popularity is cider is less of a discovery and really more of a renaissance. In colonial times, cider was early America’s drink of choice. It wasn’t until an influx of European immigrants in the 1800’s, that beer started to impinge on cider’s popularity in the U.S.
Craft brewers looking to expand their portfolio are not the only ones who have taken notice of the cider resurgence. Mega brewers like Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Heineken, and the Boston Beer Company have joined the apple trend, introducing their own brands with major marketing campaigns.
If you are a fan of farmhouse or traditional sour beers, check out the arrival of traditional French ciders. Bottled, and often corked, in heavy wine bottles, they can exhibit flavors that rival the complexities of Scotch, while remaining an effervescent, refreshing, and lighter alternative to wine during the warmer months.
And for the health conscious, cider is naturally gluten free.
With the advent of spring, now is the perfect time to experience the cider movement firsthand. Wyatt’s Wet Goods is celebrating the first annual Colorado Cider Week with a special “Cider Saturday” sale on May 28.