Seriously – What’s Cider?

I worked as a server in a popular bar and grill for a couple years. The serving experience certainly breeds some very unique frustrations and pet peeves. You can probably imagine some of those frustrations – like a stingy tip or that guest who thinks snapping his/her fingers is an appropriate method of grabbing one’s attention – but some are unique to the individual server. One of those personal pet peeves looked like this:

Guest: “Can I have another beer?”

Me: “Absolutely.”

*And then I return to the table to deliver said guest’s “beer,”…which was actually an Angry Orchard.

The frustration came from the fact that Angry Orchard is a hard cider – not a beer. While I know that ciders and beers are different and the overwhelming sweet flavor of a cider is that dead giveaway to me – I’ve never really understood what the actual differences between a beer and a hard cider are. I figured, I should probably understand something if I’m going to allow it to annoy me. So, with that being said, let’s learn!

Beer and hard cider are pretty similar – they are both the result of yeast alongside a fermented ingredient and are carbonated– they can even have a pretty similar appearance! The difference is in that specific fermented ingredient. Beer is made with yeast and fermented grains while hard cider is made with yeast and fermented apples. Personally, I am not a huge fan of hard ciders – but I’ll admit, I have only tried a few different kinds. However, as the niece of someone living with celiac disease, I see the importance of having these beverages available! It’s nice to have a simple drink that you can easily crack open at a barbecue that’s also gluten free!

This does get me thinking, though, if a hard cider is the result of fermented apples…does that make it more similar to wine – the result of fermented fruit (typically grapes, but can be made from any other fruits)?? Maybe. But that yeast still keeps it close to the beer family. I guess, for now, I’ll refer to hard ciders as an intriguing beer/wine hybrid – something I will really have to explore a little bit more!

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