As the choice of beer on the shelf gets wider, so does the knowledge required to work out which style best suits you. Welcome to this lesson in craft.
Anyone who remembers the 1980s may have mixed feelings about cider, and with good reason ‒ the cheap, sweet, fizzy stuff sold in large bottles did not make for a good first impression. Luckily, those days are long gone and today’s ciders are a refreshingly dry and fruity alternative to beer.
Hot on the heels of the craft beer boom comes a wave of all-new, top-quality sparkling craft ciders, and unsurprisingly, some of the best are made by brewers expanding their portfolios, while applying their trademark planet-friendly, buy-Australian principles. Here are three of our favourites.
The story of Young Henrys started over a beer, when Richard Adamson and Oscar McMahon got chatting in a pub. In 2012, they were given the green light to brew craft beer in a warehouse in Newtown and Young Henrys was officially in business. Now known for its stellar range of craft beers, the brew team also put heart and soul into its Cloudy Cider, made with NSW-grown Royal Gala and Pink Lady apples, along with brewer’s yeast to kick off fermentation. The result is a natural fruit sweetness with a tart finish.
Before ‘craft’ and ‘beer’ were two words commonly uttered in the same sentence, Colonial Brewing Co was supplying a range of excellent beers to its local Margaret River community in WA. That was back in 2004. Eleven years later, it expanded east to Port Melbourne, and is now one of the country’s largest independent craft players. Colonial’s Bertie Cold Pressed Apple Cider uses only Victorian Red Gala and Sundowner apples, hand-picked and cold-pressed to create a crisp, delicious cider that’s big on flavour. In authentic apple cider style, there’s no added sugar.
Adelaide Hills Group co-founders Sacha La Forgia, Ewan Brewerton, Steve Dorman, Toby Kline and Marc Huber are known for their brewery Mismatch, which pumps out consistently high-quality beers. But this one is a little different, as the cider arm of the business is actually the older of the two brands, starting out in January 2010. Using nothing but Adelaide Hills fruit, The Hills Cloudy Apple Cider claims to have helped rejuvenate the fruit-growing industry in the Hills through its use of apples that were otherwise rejected for minor blemishes. The range of ciders has enjoyed consistent success, with a parade of awards to prove it. With a zesty tang from Granny Smiths and a fuller mouthfeel provided by Golden Delicious apples, it’s a great refresher after a long day on the tools.