Traditions can mean everything. And one piece of tradition lies deep in the seed of an apple. Two steps forward from this seed and, voila, cider. With the correlation in taste between the apple and hard cider, ciders tend to gravitate towards crisp, apple flavor and either a sweetness or a dryness, depending on the blend. But what about going beyond that walls of familiarity and exploring the weird flavor combinations that the world has to offer. Several cideries across the US are exploring and experimenting with these different flavor combos, and we are fully intrigued. We will be breaking down these ciders from the intriguing, to the strange, to the downright insane combinations that everyone is pouring up. Now, there are some cider combinations that used to be unique, but with all of the players out there, some items just won’t make the list. Some of these flavors include hops, cranberry, and lemon. So, let’s delve a little deeper, deeper than 1,000 leagues under the cider sea, and see what we can… see.
Starting off with the intriguing combinations we will take a trip to Michigan and our long time love affair with Blake’s Hard Cider Company. As we know from past posts Blake’s is trying to bend your thoughts and beard on what normal cider is and how it is made. They offer up quite a few combinations that we will be talking about but we start off with The Tonic. The Tonic is an interesting cider that we have tried before, it is a light crisp cider with picked ginger root and cucumber combinations. This make for a very interesting and refreshing taste and would go great with some of their other crazy combinations like the El Chavo which we will put in the strange cider category later on.
For our next offering, we go to the great state of Washington and visit Locust Cider. They offer up a lot of unique flavored ciders but what piqued our interest was the line they call the Hootenanny Hard Cider Series. Some of these flavors include vanilla bean and smoked blueberry. These aren’t wildly farfetched, in the eyes of this cider drinker, but it intrigues a consumer looking for something a little bit off the beaten path.
Have you had a cider that makes you say, “Aloha?” Argus Cidery’s Tepache Especial is one to reckon with. Deemed a “sparkling pineapple wine”, this product brings the flavor of yeast, spices, and the whole pineapple to life. That’s right. They don’t let any of that ole’ pineapple go to waste. This is one tropical twist you certainly can’t miss. See what I did there? I rhymed.
Bring your cape, doctor, things are about to get strange all up in here. One of the strangest ciders I have ever heard of comes from Urban Fermentory. A product of Maine, Urban Fermentory makes a cider infused with seaweed. Yes, seaweed… from the sea. That may sound strange but many that have tasted it say the flavor is a pleasant saltiness, balancing the sweetness of the cider.
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Farmhaus Cider in Michigan tends to agree. They agree so much, in fact, that they started making a breakfast cider that is strange but tasty to the tenth degree. This cider, called Brunch, a combination of cinnamon and maple flavors, does not sound as strange as some may think. The strangeness of brunch in a can is that it does, in fact, taste like brunch in a can.
Eh, what’s up, Doc? When I think of cider, I certainly am far removed from carrots. Reverend Nat’s Br-er Rabbit is your golden eye-sight saver. Made with carrot juice and local raw madras carrot honey, this dry cider is not to be expected. Blending the natural processes of the carrot to sweeten itself in harsh conditions, we must respect the craftsmanship of this tasty, strange, cider. Wait, did they say carrot honey?
Strap in for the insanity. We are about to take things from extreme to the XTREME. Now this can mean a few things and when you are mixing extreme heat with sweet like Blake’s EL Chavo or Buskey’s Habanero cider you are in for a ride. The El Chavo is a cider with a blend of habanero peppers and mango taken to the next level. They even kicked up the peppers at their own festival Cider Dayze with a scorpion and ghost pepper. Yes, it definitely has a burn going down.
Buskey’s offers Randall’d Cider, a series of experimental ciders. They create these concoctions by fill a canister full of fruit or other product that is used it to infuse the cider before it hits the glass. As the cider comes through the draft line, the cider infuses with these flavors. This means their jalapeño lime cider would give you an extreme kick of insanity because you are being punched by the real deal. This line of products has a truly unique way to deliver flavor to your mouth hole. They also offer Randall’d cherry-lime, Watermellon-Rosemary, Grapefruit-Lemongrass, and Mango-Mint.
Here is a video of how Buskey prepares their Randall’d Jalapeño Lime Cider:
Below are some other ciders that wanted to mention in the article, so we won’t leave them out:
One Tree Hard Cider’s Lemon Basil
Citizen’s Wits Up & Dirty Mayor
Blue Bee Cider Smoked Winesap Cider
Apple Outlaw’s Chocolate Raspberry Cider
Vander Mill’s Totally Roasted