I had never given hard ciders much thought. For the longest time, I brushed them off as something women who didn’t enjoy beer would order.
It wasn’t until I traveled to the Basque region of Spain after college that I began to understand the relevance of cider. Producers dotting the Bay of Biscay have been growing apples and making it for centuries. Cider pairs beautifully with the regional Spanish cuisine. I sipped cider while enjoying dishes ranging from creamy salt cod omelets to seared steaks.
Hard cider was once immensely popular and widely produced throughout the U.S., but it almost disappeared before Prohibition. It’s one of the few alcoholic beverages that never returned to its former heyday post-repeal. It’s exciting to see classics come full circle with modern producers.
I found a really tasty bottle of Texas cider last weekend at Central Market. The pun-named producer, Austin Eastciders, is holding firm to traditional ingredients in an attempt to revive the flavors of the once-heralded original drink of America.
Their Gold Top cider can be found around town in a 16.9-ounce single glass bottles. It’s gold in color, medium dry, and is made with a combination of bittersweet and bittersharp apples.
The cider imparted a clean apple flavor and unexpected tannic finish. My teeth and gums dried out the same way they do when I taste a red wine. Tannin is a mouth feel I never associated with cider, but maybe I should. It may have something to do with the types of apples they use, as most cider producers use the same apples you buy as a snack at the grocery store. It was crisp, undeniably refreshing, and offered an ABV level that rivals a standard beer. It was also gone in just under 20 minutes. I can get in trouble with a fridge full of these.
You can purchase Austin Eastciders Gold Top cider at Green Grocer and Central Market.