12 Top American Hard Ciders from 12 Top American Hard Ciders

12 Top American Hard Ciders

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12 Top American Hard Ciders

12 Top American Hard Ciders

As America's most popular alcoholic beverage throughout the colonial era and into the early days of the United States, cider's popularity began to wane in the 1840s as a wave of German immigrants brought beer-making techniques with them into the country. The great breweries of America's cities popularized German-style beers that would eventually become the watered-down, mass-marketed lagers of today. However, just as the craft beer movement has taken off with glorious abandon, reinventing the taste and identity of American beer, hard cider, too, is being given a new platform to shine as a craft product.

 

Dry ciders dominate the American marketplace, but sweeter varieties also have their devoted partisans. To try a wide array of ciders, take a look at our list of the best in America.

Doc's Draft Hard Cider (Warwick Valley Winery)

Doc's Draft Hard Cider (Warwick Valley Winery)

This semi-dry hard cider is brewed in New York's Hudson Valley and has a crisp, almost beer-like taste.

Doc's Sells Different Flavors

Doc's Sells Different Flavors

Doc's, which can be frequently found in boutique beer bars in the Northeast, also sells sweeter pear- and raspberry-flavored ciders that mix the chosen fruit with apples.

Harpoon Cider (Harpoon Brewery)

Harpoon Brewery

Harpoon Cider (Harpoon Brewery)

What do you get when a respected microbrewery starts making hard cider? Harpoon Cider has a slightly lower alcohol content (4.1 percent) than most of the competition and a clean, slightly sweet taste.

McIntosh Apples at Their Finest

Photo Modified: Flickr / Henry Zbyszynski / CC BY 4.0

McIntosh Apples at Their Finest

Also, New England’s Harpoon chooses to use an apple blend based on McIntosh apples rather than the specialized varieties most other American breweries use.

Woodchuck Winter Chill Cider (Woodchuck Cidery)

Woodchuck Cidery

Woodchuck Winter Chill Cider (Woodchuck Cidery)

Woodchuck, one of the granddaddies of the American hard cider scene, is known for selling seasonal specialties.

A Warm and Soothing Cider

A Warm and Soothing Cider

The Winter Chill Cider currently on offer from Woodchuck has hints of vanilla and nutmeg and is made for drinkability.

Crispin Cider (Crispin Cider)

Crispin Cider (Crispin Cider)

Crispin Cider, primarily available on the West Coast, takes its cues from French rather than British cider traditions.

A Sweet and Tangy Cider

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The slightly sweet cider, unlike most other brands, also has a “light” variety that only has 110 calories per bottle.

Farnum Hill Semi-Dry (Farnum Hill Cider)

Farnum Hill Semi-Dry (Farnum Hill Cider)

New Hampshire-based Farnum Hills offers a high-alcohol (7.4 percent) hard cider that is corked, unlike most other American bottled ciders.

Boozy, But Worth It

Photo Modified: Flickr / Jeff Alworth / CC BY 4.0

Boozy, But Worth It

While mainly available in New England, Farnum Hill's products are also sold at specialty shops outside of the region.

Argus Cameo Cider (Argus Cidery)

Argus Cidery

Argus Cameo Cider (Argus Cidery)

Argus' ciders come from an unusual apple destination: Texas. Though it’s not your usual sweet spot for apple picking, it’s still a force to reckon with. 

A Traditional Blend

A Traditional Blend

This small, but highly-praised craft brewery offers several varieties of cider influenced by French and British traditions.

Bellwether Legacy Cider (Bellwether Hard Cider)

Bellwether Legacy Cider (Bellwether Hard Cider)

Bellwether, brewed in upstate New York, is a small regional cider producer with primarily local sales. Their best known cider, Legacy, is a high-alcohol (6.8 percent) beverage that packs a punch.

Unique Flavor Options

Unique Flavor Options

Other varieties sold by the brewery include an unusual-for-America black currant flavor.

Tieton Cherry Cider (Tieton Cider Works)

Tieton Cherry Cider (Tieton Cider Works)

Tieton offers an unusual cider that blends apples and cherries for a sweeter flavor.

An Award-Winning Cider

Photo Modified: Flickr / Lisa Enns / CC BY-SA 4.0

An Award-Winning Cider

This brand’s award-winning cherry cider is marketed as a wine alternative alongside other varieties of traditional apple ciders and an apricot cider.

West County McIntosh (West County Cider)

West County McIntosh (West County Cider)

West County, a small cider outfit in Massachusetts, offers a variety of high-end ciders with wildly varying tastes and alcohol contents.

A Cider for Non-Drinkers

A Cider for Non-Drinkers

This cider outfit’s McIntosh cider, a sweet, low-alcohol brew, is an excellent way of introducing hard cider to non-drinkers.

Fox Barrel Black Label Pacific Pear Cider (Fox Barrel)

Fox Barrel

Fox Barrel Black Label Pacific Pear Cider (Fox Barrel)

Giving the apple a little competition — Fox Barrel is one of the only American brands devoted entirely to pear cider. Their flagship product, Black Label, is made from 100 percent pear juice rather than the apple-pear mix used by many other brands.

A Wide Array of Flavors

A Wide Array of Flavors

While Black Label is much less sweet than other pear ciders, Fox Barrel also sells sweeter blended ciders in flavors such as Rhubarb & Elderberry, a popular choice.

Strawman (Angry Orchard)

Strawman (Angry Orchard)

With the combination of sweet juices, bittersweet apples, and aged oak, the Strawman’s Success has allowed Angry Orchard to offer this seasonal drink year-round.

A Cider That Is Similar to Wine

Angry Orchard

A Cider That Is Similar to Wine

The apple and citrus hints in this cup of gold liquid gold create an earthy, complex-tasting cider, making it similar to a glass of wine.

Orchard Gate Gold (J.K.’s Scrumpy)

Orchard Gate Gold (J.K.’s Scrumpy)

After each harvest, J.K.’s presses its apples and allows them to ferment for nearly six months. If that isn’t taking care of the blending process, we aren’t sure what is.

A Cider with Two Ingredients

A Cider with Two Ingredients

Not only is this cider delicious, but it’s simple, too. There are only two ingredients in Orchard Gate Gold: yeast and apple juice. In this case, simplicity is key.

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12 Top American Hard Ciders

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