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8 Hard Ciders to Try

best hard cidersSweet. Tart. Sparkling. Still. Styles of hard ciders vary as much as the knobby bittersweet apples from which they’re made, and it’s this versatility that makes them so appealing. Produced in apple-rich regions around the globe—from Spain’s Basque region to the French countryside and from the Pacific Northwest to New England—we’ve assembled a bushel of hard ciders that offer a global perspective on this universally delicious drink.

AEppelTreow Winery Barn Swallow Cider
Light and refreshing with just a slight spritz, this cider from Wisconsin-based AEppelTreow Winery & Distillery combines a trio of cider apples with Red Delicious for just a kiss of sweetness on the finish.

Argus Cidery Idalou Brut
Uniquely made with dessert apples (as opposed to the more commonly used cider apples) grown in the Texan Panhandle and co-fermented with a mix of natural and cutured yeasts, this lip-smacker takes on a rustic funk thanks to a bit of Brett.

Eric Bordelet Sydre Doux
Heralded as one of the top (if not the top) producers of French cider, Eric Bordelet crafts this off-dry cider from biodynamically farmed heirloom apple trees, some of which are more than two centuries old. The result is pure, baked-apple flavors with food-friendly acidity and a kiss of honey on the finish. Try it in the Waltzing with Vincent Price cocktail.

Eve’s Autumn Gold
New York
Yeasty apple skin aromas open into a tart, fruity acidity and playful effervescence. There’s a pleasing bitter quality that comes in mid-palate, while the sweeter finish sings of dried apples and raisins.

Farnum Hill Dooryard
New Hampshire
An experimental line of ciders from Farnum Hill, Dooryard comes from a blend of the barrels that don’t necessarily fit under any of Farnum Hill’s established labels. Usually a tad more tannic than Farnum Hill’s other ciders, but still with the delectable funk we’ve come to expect from this grower/producer, the batch we tasted offered up notes of hay, lemon, pear, earth, gunmetal, olive oil … Definitely a lot going on.

Foggy Ridge Serious Cider
Don’t be intimidated by the name—this dry cider is easy-drinking, light and delicious with playful Prosecco-like bubblels, tropical aromas of pineapple and citrus, and plump, fruity flavors of ripe apples, pears and lemon.

Isastegi Sagardo Naturala
We’ve long been fans of this lip-smackingly dry cider from Spain’s Basque region, and its tangy apple-lime flavors, sour beer-like acidity and refreshingly fizzy finish prove irresistible yet again. Try it with traditional Spanish tapas or just about anything fried and salty.

Samuel Smith Organic Cider
United Kingdom
As classic an English cider as they come, this certified organic offering is straight-forward and easy-drinking, and tastes as fresh as an apple plucked right from the tree.

Snowdrift Semi-Dry
Each Snowdrift cider we’ve tasted is at once approachable yet sophisticated, and their semi-dry version doesn’t disappoint. High-acid apples mixed with honey and molasses during fermentation create this easy-drinking cider complete with apple pie-like characteristics of roasted apples, butter and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Virtue Sidre de Nava
Former Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall turned his sights to cider when he launched Virtue in 2012. His Sidre de Nava offers a nod to Spanish-style ciders with bright lemon flavor, zingy effervescence and a tart, dry finish.

Wandering Aengus Wickson
Made solely from the Wickson Crab apple, this cider asserts itself from the get-go with super tart lemony flavors, a spike of yeasty spice mid-palate and mouthwatering seawater on the finish.

Whitewood Cider Old Fangled
A mix of Washington-grown heirloom apples flavor this dry cider from newly launched Whitewood. Expect bright citrus flavors balanced by subtle tannins and a kick of black pepper spice. For now distribution is limited to Washington State, but future plans call for extending into other states.

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