TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Hard Cider | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Hard Cider | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Hard Cider

For Memorial Day festivities, we cut our beer purchases in half and substituted hard cider—specifically, the Crisp Apple variety of Angry Orchard Cider.

Think of an elegant apple cider, made from a very complex blend of both culinary (eating) apples and bittersweet “angry” apples. Then, add a lengthy fermentation process, including oak aging for complexity and balance.

Angry Orchard is made by a brewer that knows how to satisfy: Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams beer. (Read the full review.)

Th cider was a hit.

So for summer entertaining, consider a hard cider tasting. Following our Memorial Day success, we’re gathering up different hard cider brands and for a multibrand tasting.

Magners (made in Ireland) and Woodchuck (from Vermont) are brands found most often in our local supemarkets, but check in wine stores for artisan brands (if your state’s wine stores don’t sell cider, they may be able to send you somewhere that does).

Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple Cider is our new favorite refreshment. Image courtesy Angry Orchard.
“Apple cider” is a redundant term: By definition, the term cider indicates a beverage made from apples. Cider made from pears is called perry.

Hard cider has been fermented into an alcoholic beverage. Fresh apple cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process. Apple juice has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer.

  • Varietals. Certain grapes make better wine. While wine can be made from any grape, good wine is made from tried-and-true varietals. The same is true with cider.
  • Bubbles. We prefer our cider bubbly, but not all hard ciders have bubbles. They often require an added step: added carbon dioxide (like soda) or a dosage, which a bit of sugar and yeast that causes a second fermentation (like Champagne).
  • Style. Ciders are made wherever apples are grown. As with beer, styles vary widely. The French style tends to be light and subtle; English ciders are typically higher in alcohol and drier, with bolder apple flavor. American ciders are made in a broad variety of styles, from dry and semi-dry to sweet.
  • Pairings. Depending on the style, cider can start the meal as an apéritif; sweeter styles can conclude the meal with dessert. We enjoy lighter styles of cider with fresh cheeses; sushi; with oysters and other raw bar seafood; grilled or poached fish; seafood-based luncheon salads and green salads. Heavier cider styles go better with poultry, meat-based luncheon salads and sandwiches; we enjoy them with blue cheeses. As with beer, any cider can be enjoyed whenever you’re thirsty.
    For Labor Day, we’ll be hosting a perry tasting—a hard cider-type beverage made from pears instead of apples.

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