5 Must-Try Hard Ciders From Coastal Cideries
Smackintosh, Tandem Ciders
Suttons Bay, MI
Sweet yet not cloying. Tart without the screaming acidity of more vinous examples. This blend of heirloom baking varietals is all about balance: fresh apple flavor and just a hint of cinnamon on the finish.
The Explorer, Incline Cider Co.
The hop plant's Swiss Army charms—preserving, flavoring, adding bitterness— aren't limited to the beer world; as proof, this chuggable cider with floral notes from three types of hops.
Cider for Wine Drinkers
Lost Orchard, Tilted Shed Ciderworks
Utilizing feral, bittersweet cider apples from lost orchards around Sonoma County yields a rich, tannic cider that's as food-friendly as anything in the wine aisle.
Percheron, Virtue Cider
Head cidermaker Seth Boeve leans on French oak barrels harboring Brettanomyces—a "wild" yeast that imparts a distinct barnyard quality—to create a complex cider (wood, stone fruit) that drinks like a grower Champagne.
Bigsby, Bantam Cider Company
Bantam culls tannic heirloom varietals (Ellis Bitter, Major, Ashton Bitter) that can stand up to aging in both bourbon and rum barrels to produce a toddy-like cider perfect for chilly nights.