While refreshing enough for the hot August temps, there is something about apples that make you long for crisp fall weather. This makes cider the perfect choice for late summer drinking. Minnesota has seen a boom in the marketplace for artisanal hard cider, and craft beer enthusiasts are learning that there is much to love about it. The cider selection at Surdyk’s is over 100 different varieties, and it seems to be one of the fastest-growing sections in our store. and that’s no coincidence as cider is also one of the fastest-growing drink categories in America.
The fermented alcoholic beverage made from apples has been a favorite in England for centuries and was popular with our founding fathers after a hard day of democracy. Cider came to America with the Pilgrims, as well as the seeds to plant orchards. It was easier to produce than wine or beer, and in fact, most settlers often started their day with a mug of cider. So what happened? The German immigrants came over and along with them their thirst for beer, but mostly Prohibition. After it was repealed, the drink never really made a comeback… until now.
As one of the hottest categories right now, cider is attracting artisanal cider makers, craft brewers, and mega brewers as well. With hundreds of apple varieties, there is endless potential for creating unique ciders with spices and botanical flavor, hopped ciders, or barrel-aged ciders. You can find ciders that are very dry with lots of tart acidity, to semi-sweet and juicy, or even yeasty, fine-bubbled, and complex like Champagne. These ciders are definitely not the sweet cider that first infiltrated the market as a beer alternative! Because cider is made from apples and not barley or wheat, ciders are naturally gluten-free. We also love them because they are so food-friendly – try cider with soft cheeses, salads, seafood, pork, anything grilled.
How ’bout them apples?!