Long considered in a disregard reserved for wine coolers and premade cocktails, hard cider is finally having its moment. And it’s no wonder. This old/new beverage is similar to sparkling wine but more approachable due to a not-too-sweet apple flavor profile, offering a crisp and very quaffable, gluten-free alternative to beer. Many of the brewing giants like Anheuser-Busch and Coors have recognized its resurgence and have rolled out their own versions. But, as is the trend for almost everything from produce to chocolate, small-batch cider fermenters are where it’s at now.
“Hard cider has been building momentum for a few years now, in a way similar to the microbrew movement 25 years ago,” says Joel Goodwillie, cider maker at Utah’s only microfermenter, Mountain West Hard Cider. “Consumers are interested in something familiar yet new, and hard cider checks that box,” he says.
Ruby Hard Cider, Mountain West’s first release, is a semi-dry hard cider created with apples from Santaquin, Utah. “It pairs well with a burger as an alternative to wine or beer,” Goodwillie notes. And in the same way a light beer hits the spot after a long bike ride, hike, or round of golf, Mountain West’s 7 Mile Hard Cider is an option Goodwillie says outdoorsy types like due to its lower alcohol content and easy drinkabilty.
Who knows? If hard cider can make a comeback—it was the beverage of choice for the colonists, after all—maybe next we’ll all be sipping glogg and munching hard tack.
Mountain West Hard Cider’s Ruby Spritz
- 4 oz Ruby Hard Cider
- 1 oz Aperol
- Blood orange slice (garnish)
Combine hard cideår and Aperol over ice. Stir gently and garnish with a blood orange slice.