Scandalous Cider

Nathan Gismot, April 28, 2014

I’m just going to be out with it: I cheated on beer. I don’t know how it happened, you guys. My girlfriend and I were going to go out on a Saturday, I’d try a new beer, we’d laugh, it’d be fun, and I’d write about it.

How could I do this? How could I cheat on beer with…cider?

{Sigh} It’s undeniable, friends: it happened. Sadder still, perhaps, is that I will probably do it again.

I know what you’re thinking: “Beer has been nothing but good to you, and this is how you repay it? With cider?

{Deep breath}


Hard cider has been examined here at some length by both Michael Donato and Alex Fossi, and I recommend giving those articles a read; they both do a great job of explicating 1) what hard cider is (and is not), and 2) what a consumer might expect when dipping their proverbial toe into that tasty little pond.

Mmmm…cider toe.

As you may have guessed, I, unlike my colleagues, probably won’t be contributing much to your knowledge base today. I’ll just tell you what I experienced and leave it there.

My girlfriend and I kicked off the afternoon on a recent Saturday by heading to a new distillery in Old Town Fort Collins called CopperMuse. This isn’t VodkaGraphs, so I won’t linger there -- suffice to say we enjoyed their fine wares. When we left, it was still too early for dinner, so we walked down to another new kid on the block: Compass Cider.

Aside from a few Woodchuck Ciders back in the day, neither of us had any experience with hard ciders, let alone craft ciders, so we ordered a taster tray:

We were advised that the tasters proceeded in ascending order from “dry” to “sweet,” which, as you can imagine, lent a very wine-y take on the experience. It seemed like an accurate enough assessment, though, and Sailor’s Sour proved the most balanced of the bunch. We ordered one, as well as a 2-oz snifter of the 2014 Vintage Blossomwood Pommeau (header image), which, at 20.5% ABV, was aptly depicted as an aperitif.

It was fun, and I think I gained some insight into hard cider as an alternative to beer. Most of the ciders in the taster tray had a very unimposing feel, which, in tandem with their generally sweeter, subtler taste, yielded a lighter, easier drinking experience.

I can safely say that I still prefer beer, but I’ll keep cider in the rotation as a side piece. I wouldn’t want to make my beers jealous, after all.

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