"The Best Hard Cider Brands: Our Taste Test Results"


When it comes to cider I’ve found that those uber expensive high dollar ciders that are highly ranked don’t work with my pallet. Its like highly rated dry wines. They taste like absolute horse poop. If I have to drink something that tastes like caustic vinegar ill not drink anything at all.


I have the same opinion of naturally fermented cider or “farmhouse cider” as the marketing team likes to call it. Sure the old-timers drank it because it was what they had, but now days we have sterile technique (all hail Louis Pasteur :beer: :beer:) and monocultures of S. cerevisiae . While I do like a sour beer now and then, I don’t appreciate flavors like “band-aid” and “sweaty horse blanket” in my drinks. Yuck! Band-Aid is particularly awful and I don’t understand why it is considered a good thing in any cider, beer, or wine.


Am about to sample several ciders from Aaron Burr, Eve’'s and South Hill, all NY state. Will report.


Top two ciders from my small tasting event: Aaron Burr Neversink Highlands and Pomme Sur Lie from South Hill. Last place Eve’s Northern Spy. Everyone in room had a different favorite so hard to get a consensus, unlike my apple or wine tastings where a clear consensus usually emerges.
Myself I do not like the “apple-y” ones that taste cloying to me, like apple juice.

I am sad to report that my favorite cider- Foggy Ridge of VA is no longer made. Their Serious Cider and others were right down my alley. The owner there suggested Eve’s as the next best but so far that is not panning out for me. Albemarle Cider of VA has just come online and will be shipping to more and more states, using proper cider apples. Tom Burford is associated with this operation.

I sampled a bottle of Eve’s Darling Creek- day one I did not like it. I accidentally left it open on the counter for two or three days and then it was fabulous. Not sure what happened.

A wine/cider shop in Hudson NY tells me their best are Aaron Burr, Sundstrom and Eve’s.


Just posted on the Cummins and CiderCon facebook pages today:

“Looking to go to CiderCon but don’t have the clams for registration? Contact us today for volunteer opportunities! pickcider@ciderassociation.org


I’m in an email dialog now trying to get a one-day pass. I think it may work out…


We’ll expect a full report after you’ve attended!


Check out Stormalong cider while you’re there. I think they’re making a pretty good cider that ranks up there with Farnum Hill and Shacksbury. Here’s an article that talks about them and a smart collaboration they did with a few other North East cidermakers. http://cidercraftmag.com/2017/12/13/cider-grown-new-england-combo-pack/


Good news, I talked them into giving me an academic pass for the whole conference! Its my day job after all… Theres a ton of stuff going on it looks like. I’m not sure if they have open tastings, they have tasting events which you pay extra for but not sure about beyond that. In any case I will be looking out for Stormalong, @SMC_zone6.


Anyone else like to drink hard cider at room temperature? Eve’s “Darling Creek” (NY) was the runaway winner in a tasting the other night- at room temperature. Chilling it seemed to mute some elements and throw it way out of balance. So from now on I’m drinking cider at room temp. A couple cidermakers I asked suggested 55 degrees. I think even that’s too cold.


I agree that flavors are stronger at warmer temps, so you can taste and identify better when sampling. In my opinion it is also easier to taste when still or lightly carbonated. I often splash a little in a teacup for sample tasting purposes when racking a finished carboy into a keg. But for everyday drinking, I like it ice cold and very bubbly. I’m sure some traditional types would shudder to see it, but I like to drop an ice cube or two in my nightly glass of cider!

I only like dry cider so I don’t think I would appreciate Darling Creek, but Northern Spy from Eve’s impressed me when I drank it a couple years ago.


Holly- I bet you would like Darling Creek too- it’s just a bit- off dry in the finest kind of way, with an acid aftertaste that has you salivating, again in the best sense. Great balance, a lot going on. Yum! I normally love Bone Dry but fell for Darling Creek.

I have Northern Spy here too for the next group tasting. You might like South Hill’s “Pomme Sur Lie”- very, very dry, leather, a bit oaky, aged in French Oak, tons of character. That was the runnerup in our tasting.


My favorite cider is the Pear cider from Rabbits Foot Meadery


If you live in the Bay Area go check it out, to the cider/mead tasting flight it’s very generous for the price. Might be sold locally in a few stores/restaurants but I don’t think you can find it outside of NorCal.


Results of my third and final Winter cider tasting for ten friends, seven ciders.

Grand Champion: Eve’s “Darling Creek”, off dry, tons of acid, balanced, really well balanced.

Runner-up: South Hill’s “One of a Kind”- 25 apple varieties; dry, complex, yummy.

Showing well:
Shacksbury Small Batch No. 12: all Dabinett, rich, dark, robust.
Shacksbury Pet Nat: sparkling, dry, excellent


Steve did you ever get to Wine Source in Baltimore? They now have a massive cider collection, I think they may have been the importer for CiderCon as they have many of the things tasted there. I finally have been able to taste a great craft English cider, they have a few there now. Plus excellent New Zealand, French, US, etc ciders I have never seen in circulation before. I’m back to stock up soon, I expect this is going to be a one-time deal.


Scott I did not get up there, got sidetracked. Thanks for reminding me of the name.

What are your favorite one or two ciders?