Did you know you can make cider with many more ingredients than just apples? You probably did – fruit-based ciders have become much more common in shops across cider drinking countries in the past few years. From the traditional pear-based variants to sweeter fruits such as passion fruit or all kinds of berries, the world of cider making has opened up a lot recently.
However, there are even weirder styles out there for those who are willing to look out for them. These are just a few examples of the strangest cider-based brews people are coming up with across the globe today.
Dry, Sour and Cloudy Ciders
Nearly all modern cider drinks contain vast amounts of added sugar – with nearly five grams of the stuff in one can of Strongbow’s insanely popular Dark Fruits variant. However, it is entirely possible (and sometimes very tasty) to create a cider with zero added sugar at all. In fact, even though you’d think the natural sugar content of fermented fruit might be very high, the brewing process often actually gets rid of a lot of the sugar in cider – and manufacturers often add it back in to mellow that sour tangy crispness.
Not so with dry ciders. From this less sweet base brewers can branch out into all kinds of niceness, including many US based cider makers who have been imitating an old German beer brewing method called Gose. Using a small amount of wheat and salt in the brewing process, these ciders could almost be considered part beer – but what they definitely are is tasty. This historic way of brewing was almost lost to the ages during the 1940s, and the fact that it’s now being revived by US cider makers is a fantastic thing to see.
However, if you want to get truly weird with cider then you’re gonna have to look at adding some extra ingredients to the basic formula. For example, Tampa, Florida, based brewer Cigar City Ciders has in the past created such uniquely flavoured ciders as Raspberry & Habanero, Papaya & Banana or Cinnamon & Nutmeg. For an even classier experience, why not seek out a bottle of Ethiopian Limu Coffee Cider from Detroit’s now sadly defunct Cellarmen’s Brewery and Bar? Featuring organic coffee beans grown at great attitudes in the highlands of Ethiopia in central Africa, this bottle might be a rare find today. However, it’s probably well worth tracking down with 3.9 out of 5 average rating on beer and cider review sites.
For something a little healthier (although maybe not) you could do worse than Bold Rock Brewing Co’s Ginger and Turmeric Cider. Based out of North Carolina and using only locally grown apples, Bold Rock is now the largest independent cider producer in the United States. Some of their other uniquely interesting brews include Indian Pressed Apples Cider (IPA Cider anyone?) and Rosé Cider made using American Pink Lady apples.