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Quick Guide

Cider

What is it?

A fermented fruit beverage, often containing ‘sparkling’ bubbles, the best known and most popular Cider is Apple Cider although Pear (or Perry) Cider is increasing in popularity.

Where's it from?

Unlike many wine and spirit varietals, cider is not really region-specific. Its historic roots lie in Britain, but it’s produced – and is a popular drink – in many countries around the world including the UK & Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Argentina and of course, Australia. Poland, Europe’s largest producer of cider fruit, has only just started to actually drink it!

What does it taste like?

Ah, well that all depends…on the variety of apple/pear, the length of fermentation, the filtering process and the amount of sugar added (or not). The majority of popular ciders are sparkling and on the sweeter side with scented fruit flavours. But new craft and boutique producers are creating crisp, dry ciders with acidic finishes.

Tip

If you’re serious about your cider, look for traditional or organic producers; their cider is more likely to contain pure fermented fruit juice rather than flavours extracted from fruit pulp. As a general rule of thumb, the darker and cloudier the cider, the higher the alcohol content.

History

The Ancient Britons were fermenting crab apples in the BC era, which goes some way to explaining how cider became the second most popular beverage in the UK, after beer. 

Brought back to Europe by the Romans, cider grew in popularity across Europe, becoming well established by the 10th Century. Indeed, cider became so entrenched that during the 18th Century, farm labourers received part of their wages as a ‘cider allowance’.
 
Cider is now enjoying a major resurgence, and Australia is leading the charge.

Australian Cider Regions

Tasmania, the Apple Isle, is unsurprisingly, the largest producer of apple cider in Australia. But with Australian cider consumption having grown by over 30% in the last four years – and the number of producers and varieties of ciders exponentially – plenty of new cider fruit-growing regions are hoping to steal Tasmania’s crown. Artisan brewers are launching in niche regions including the Adelaide Hills, Bilpin in the NSW Blue Mountains and Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. The only constant is that cider fruit requires a cooler climate.
 

 

Popular Australian Brands

From time recognised international imports to local boutique start ups, Australia is well served by a growing number of cider suppliers. From the UK and Ireland we’re well accustomed to the flavours of Strongbow, Bulmers and Mercury cider, and now local brands including Little Creatures, 5 Seeds, Pipsqueak and Three Oaks have launched, fuelling the beverage’s popularity.
 

 

Flavour

Cider flavour is significantly influenced by the type of cider and the variety of fruit. Pear cider will taste like pears, and, unsurprisingly, apple cider tastes like apples. But it’s not as simple as that. There are as many variations in flavour for apple ciders as there are varieties of apples themselves, and that’s without taking into account the different fermenting methods that will deliver sweet, dry, clear, cloudy, crisp or effervescent attributes. And over the past few years, as cider has grown in popularity and production, there are new varieties now incorporating other fruit flavours such as passionfruit, berry, guava and orange.

 

Food Matching

Cider, like beer, can be drunk on its own (maybe over a glass of ice) or matched with a meal. Due to its high fruit content and resulting acidity, apple cider works best with fatty meats such as pork belly or sausages, as well as fish (salmon or sardines) and even cheeses like camembert or cheddar.
 

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