Autumn is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, the majority of the crops have been collected and the leaves are falling off the trees, or at the very least are resplendent red, orange and yellow. The days are also getting shorter and cooler which means it’s the perfect time to start looking into fall beverages.
While this is a beer blog, there is one drink that really captures the spirit of the fall – cider. This common drink can be found in many pubs across the UK and North America. While this drink isn’t the most popular here in Thailand, it can still be found and many bars frequented by expats and foreigners, especially the British.
What exactly is cider?
Cider is an alcoholic beverage that is typically made with fermented fruit juices. Traditional cider is made from apples and can vary from around 1% to 8% ABV. While apples are the most commonly used fruit, you can also make it from pears, peaches and really almost any fruit.
Cider can usually be found in most apple growing countries including the UK, US, Canada, Germany, Spain and even Australia. In the US and Canada, alcoholic cider is referred to as hard cider while cider is essentially hot apple juice. While it is produced in many countries, it’s most popular in the UK where a fermented beverage made from apples has been drunk since before 55 BC.
How is it made?
Making cider isn’t too complicated, it just takes time.
First you need to find apples, generally any apple that you can eat, can be used to make cider while the larger companies will use apples grown specifically for cider. In order to produce 10 liters of cider, you will normally need around 15-20 kg of apples.
After the have the apples, you will need to wash, mill and press them. Milling is the process of breaking the apples down into smaller pieces so you can easily extract the juice. Smaller producers will usually use an electric mill, or even a blender. Once the apples have been broken down, you can press them to extract the juice. The juice is normally collected into a container which can be used to ferment liquid in.
The apple juice is then fermented, normally with yeast, at 4-16 degrees Celsius for three months or more. The brewer will pay attention during this process and eventually move the liquid to a new vat shortly before the yeast is spent. All the air is siphoned out and the leftover yeast continues to ferment creating a light carbonation.
Finally, when the fermentation is complete the cider is bottled. While many mass-produced ciders will simply be canned or bottled like beer, some will be stored champagne style. This means that an extra bit of yeast is added to the bottle and stored in a cellar. The yeast goes through a secondary fermentation causing carbonation similar to champagne.
Different types of cider
There are numerous types of cider available, many are available in Thailand. Here are the five main types:
- French – These ciders typically come from Normandy and Brittany. Many of these ciders are bottled using the traditional champagne method, with extra yeast added, and undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This creates a cider that is slightly sweet, bubbly and around 5% ABV.
- Sweet – These ciders are more or less those produced by mass-market brewers. They tend to be sweet, clear and usually bubbly. Coming in at around 5% ABV, these ciders are usually produced for mass consumption from concentrate juices.
- Irish – This type of cider is similar to sweet ciders, but is usually clearer and slightly more acidic or dry. Most Irish ciders are served in larger bottles and drunk over ice.
- Scrumpy – Also known as English ciders, Scrumpy is the most popular style of cider, or in the UK at least. With a usually tannic and dry flavor these cloudy ciders are usually between 5 and 8% ABV and can be a little on the yeasty side, but are quite refreshing.
- Perry – This is a common term applied to cider made with pears and is often creamier and softer, less acidic than those made with apples.
If you are looking to try some ciders, head on over to the WishBeer cider page and checkout what we stock.
Wish of the week
Westons Old Rosie Cloudy Scrumpy
This traditional Scrumpy from the UK should be on the list of any serious drinker. Yes, it’s not beer, but every so often even the most hardcore of beer drinkers need to try something else. Why not try this medium dry cider. With a light amount of carbonation, you can guarantee that it will be refreshing after a long day at the office.