Most craft beer lovers usually stick together, especially when under barrage from folks that just left the liquor store with a case of Keystone Light under one arm and a box of wine under the other. However, when it comes to the cider debate our loyalty to each other seems to break down. I don’t know what it is that makes cider such a hot button issue, but passions run hot when you ask if cider should be allowed into the craft beer kingdom.
Those who say “No! Bar the Gates! Do not allow cider to pass, it is not worthy!” would point out that cider is not beer. A fact that can’t be disputed, as it is made from different ingredients and uses a different process (for the most part). Those who say “Let cider inside the gates, it is our cousin and can gladly take refuge here!” would most likely say that because they enjoy drinking cider as much as beer (or close to it). So there you have it: Beer vs. Cider, who shall prevail?
Well, here at Beer Snob Squad we look at it very differently. The battle shouldn’t be beer vs. cider, it should be craft beer/craft cider vs. mass produced macro beer/macro cider. The cider world is a parallel of the beer world. There’s a lot of high volume stuff stocking the shelves at your local liquor store like Angry Orchard, Woodchuck, Crispin & even Michelob Ultra Light Cider (no joke). At best these ciders are a refreshing low ABV beverage (Crispin), and at worst they taste like a bad Yankee Candle scent (Woodchuck Fall Harvest). The beer world is no different with Budweiser, Miller & Coors dominating the shelves and most beer drinkers mouths.
However there is a growing movement of craft ciders encroaching on the landscape, like 2 Towns Ciderhouse in Corvallis, OR and Citizen Cider in Burlington, VT. They and other local cideries are making ciders that are unfiltered, barrel aged, hop-infused, made with ingredients like Rhubarb and Marionberry. Recently Cascade Brewing in Portland, OR teamed up with Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider (also Portland, OR) to make “Strawberry Pippin“, which was a beer/cider blend. Isn’t this why we love craft beer? The care that goes into the process, the creativity of the brewers, the integrity and purity of the ingredients, and of course the multitude of delicious results. I say craft beers and craft ciders (and the people who love them) should stick together and the macro boys can stay on the other side of the fence (the big brewers own most of the big cider names anyway).
We forget that hard cider goes back as far in history as beer, and that traditional dry English cider has been a great beverage for hundreds of years. When it comes to hard cider, it took the American palate to muck it up (that’s another article for another day). So let me state definitively that the Beer Snob Squad WILL include cider reviews as well as articles about cider bars and cideries that we visit, and we will defend cider’s honor against naysayers and those who would besmirch her good name. Good day, Sir!