About Ciders from USA

About Ciders from USA
US: From Pilgrims to Pale Ale Beer has occupied a central position in American culture from the start. This was true even before the craft-brewing revolution, which dramatically increased the beer choices available to consumers. Beer predated the arrival of Europeans to the New World. Columbus noted on one of his expeditions to Central America that the inhabitants drank a fermented corn beverage, while the Aztecs of Mexico produced a beer-like fermented drink made from agave pulp and corn, the ancestor of modern pulque. Of more direct relevance to the beer-drinking history of the Americas is the fact that the Pilgrims on the Mayflower were well provisioned with beer when they set off toward the New World. In fact, their landing choice of Plymouth Rock was dictated by an onboard crisis - the beer supply was running low, and they might be forced to drink just water. Beer has always been a staple of American life, albeit with an ill-conceived pause during National Prohibition. One might argue that many things, including beer, suffered in the headlong dash for the ever more processed and stable foods that defined the post-World War II world of prosperous America. By the mid-1970s, if an ale or lager with flavor was your choice of beer, outside regional holdouts such as Anchor Steam Beer in San Francisco, the Yuengling ales and porters in Pennsylvania and the Augsburger line of lager beers from the Huber Brewery in Wisconsin, there was not much in the way of alternatives to an imported European brew. This situation began to change in the late 1970s, when the tiny New Albion Brewing Company in Sonoma, California began brewing a line of English style ales, stouts and porters. Other pioneer craft breweries as Sierra Nevada Brewing in Chico, California and Pyramid Ales in Washington State soon followed. What we now call craft breweries were originally referred to as boutique breweries, after the new generation of small, local “boutique” wineries that started opening in the 1960s. Their beers were promoted as “all malt” beers, made only from barley malt, hops, water and yeast, to distinguish them from the mass-produced national brands, most of which contained high percentages of barley malt substitutes called “adjuncts” (corn, corn syrup and wheat primarily), which provided fermentable material but resulted in blander brews. The rapid growth of craft brewing spread from California and the Pacific Northwest, where interest in high-quality foodstuffs has always been closer to the cultural mainstream. The American beer renaissance originally focused around the production of ales. This can likely be explained by a number of factors. The first and succeeding generations of home brewers who "went commercial" were inspired by the ales of England, which had been relatively easy to reproduce at home. Home-brewed ales do not require the additional cooling and storage vessels needed for high-quality lager beer production. In a market well-supplied with pale lager, it was a much surer marketing prospect to introduce an amber-colored, hoppy ale rather than a pale-hued lager, even if brewed to exacting German-style purity laws. In more recent years craft lager brewers have begun to catch up, with such breweries as the Capital Brewery in Wisconsin, Bayern Brewing in Montana and Trumer Brauerei Berkeley in California in the forefront. Nowadays, virtually every existing style of beer, along with a few new ones, are being produced in American craft breweries. Craft Beers in Today’s Beer Market On a national basis, craft-brewed beers are well on their way to becoming a national staple. According to 2012 figures compiled by the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado, craft-brewed beers grew 15%, totaling over 13 million barrels, and amounted to 6.5% of the total volume of beer sold in the United States. Sales totaled $10.2 billion out of a U.S. total beer market of $99 billion. In some regions, such as the Pacific Northwest, the craft beer market share is now over 20%. Some brewing industry analysts are now predicting that the craft beer share of the national beer market will grow to 20% by 2020. By the end of 2013 the total number of craft breweries (including brewpubs) in the United States was over 2,500. Brewpubs In a world where beer distribution is a tough business that has broken the heart of many a start-up brewer, the brewpub can still offer the rewards of good profitability. Brewpubs, of course, do not have to distribute their beer beyond their premises. In this commercial setting, brewing can be immensely profitable in the right location, and virtually all major cities now boast a number of thriving brewpubs. Typically, you can expect a standard range of amber ales, English-style brown ales, pale ales, stoutsand/or porters. Because of space restrictions, brewpubs generally tend to focus on brewing ales, rather than lagers. All such beers may or may not be named after the brewer, his mood at the time of brewing, his dog, or his first-born child - the naming of beers being possibly the greatest exertion of creativity in a brewer’s working life. The savvy beer hunter should always keep an eye out for cask-conditioned, hand-pumped ales at brewpubs. A brewpub that has made the effort to set up this style of English beer-dispensing system, not as exotically rare as it once was in the United States, is demonstrating a serious approach to ale dispensing that should show itself in the beer that is being brewed. Brewpub brewmasters typically have a lively special event and seasonal schedule that can traverse the entire spectrum of beer styles. Expect to find imperial stouts and barley wines in winter, kölsch and wheat ales in summer, a mandatory Oktoberfest in September, and possibly a maibock in springtime. The only limitation is one’s imagination, which is generally not lacking in this vibrant and growing industry.

Top Picks for USA

Ciders

WildCraft Cider Works Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Cherry Cider
96 points
Bright red oak color. Aromas of cherry preserves, pinot noir, floral yeast, and rose hip and rose petal with a slightly chewy, crisp, effervescent, dry light body and a complex, medium-long taro custard, cherry skin, coffee cake, and herbal lozenge finish. A dry, sophisticated cider with fine interplay of fruit and wood.
Awards: 2017 Best Cider, 2017 Best Specialty Cider
E.Z. Orchards Roman Beauty Semi Dry Cider
94 points
Gold color. Attractive aromas of leather patina, warm earth, foraged mushrooms, lime spritzed jicama, and grilled corn with a round, crisp, spritzy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a complex, very long peach preserves, bruleed lemon, butter, and sesame candy finish. French cider lovers may fall in love with this balanced new world heritage cider with great balance, texture, and endless finish.
Northern Natural Northern Star
94 points
Minutely hazy yellow straw color. Aromas of candied pineapple, tropical fruit custard, ripe cantaloupe, flint, and white strawberry with a velvety, vibrant, dry light-to-medium body and a complex, long celery, lemon spritz, biscuit, and honey finish. A vinous dry cider with great structure and endless gullibility; drink this.
Ciderboys Cider Company Peach County Hard Cider
94 points
Minutely hazy old gold color. Sweet, fruity, floral aromas of cinnamon pear, peach blossom, orange flesh and melon, and belgian waffle with a round, vibrant, effervescent, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and an interesting, medium-length whipped honey and candied apple finish. An aromatic cider for romantics.
Awards: 2017 Top 2 Best Fruit Cider
Ciderboys Cider Company Strawberry Magic Hard Cider
94 points
Bright gold color. Yeasty aromas of cotton candy, chardonnay, and candied apple with a round, crisp, effervescent, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a medium-length fresh bartlett pear, butter poached apple, and banana taffy finish. A fruity sipper for sweet-tooths.
Awards: 2017 Top 2 Best Fruit Cider
Vermont Cider Co. Wassail Spiced Hard Cider
94 points
Clear golden amber color. Aromas and flavors of spicy carrot cake and mincemeat pies, sarsaparilla float, and rum and coke float with a silky, tangy, effervescent, fruity medium body and a graceful, complex, long finish displaying notes of chai, spiced squash, rum raisin cake, and cola finish. A complex, spicy, creamy cider with barrels of flavor to offer.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery Golden Russet Hard Cider
94 points
Clear light gold color. Delicate aromas of baked apples, butter roasted nuts, waxy honeycomb, and clay with a supple, tart, spritzy, sour light-to-medium body and a tingling, buoyant Sicilian lemon juice, blood orange, and matcha finish. A very, tart apple cider that will pair nicely.
Kaneb Orchards Cranberry Crisp Cider
93 points
Bright pink coral color. Aromas of honeycrisp apple, strawberry, and rose hip with a satiny, vibrant, effervescent, fruity medium body and a smooth, engaging, medium-length strawberry jelly, strawberry ice cream, and currant finish. A lighthearted and concentrated, fruity cider with a candied sweetness; totally delicious.
Angry Orchard Dear Brittany Hard Cider
93 points
Cloudy opaque golden amber color. Interesting, vegetal aromas and flavors of green banana and underripe nectarine, cucumber-zucchini relish, crusty apple-peach tart, and avocado seed on a forest floor with a round, tart, effervescent, dry medium body and an interesting, medium-length finish with notes of jicama and kiwi skin, nutskin, wet stones, and sea buckthorn finish. A juicy cider with outstanding acidity and hop-like tropicality for the New England-style IPA drinker.
Angry Orchard Eden Specialty Collaboration "Understood in Motion 01"
93 points
Light gold color. Aromas and flavors of spicy poached apples and pears, nougat, and flan with a vibrant, petillant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a complex, long finish revealing notes of dried mango and lemon, green apple flesh, and arugula finish. A complex, savory, artisanal cider with mouthwatering flavor and great structure.