Cider House Rules
Charleston, it’s time to get real: there is more to cider than Woodchuck.
Woodchuck is to cider like White Zinfandel is to rosé. It’s simply not a good representation. Ciders have a complexity to their flavor profiles, just how beers and wines differ from brand to brand and type to type. But how would one know about the myriad of sapors that these apple elixirs have to offer when options are far from aplenty? Well, we’re in luck. Recently there has been a surge of cider onto the market—and into our bars and restaurants—just in time to make it your new favorite cool-weather drink.
Husk provides one of the larger varieties of cider in town—each with their own tastes. The featured four ciders all hail from Foggy Ridge and cover the spectrum of flavors. Sweet or tart? Diane Flynt, cidermaker at Foggy Ridge, explains that the cider taste all depends on the fruit—much like wine, which makes sense since cider is born at wineries, not breweries. Different apples create different flavors. The Sweet Stayman is the sweetest of the bunch and Serious Cider is its tarter, drier, distant relative. Fresh Fruit and the Handmade manage to meld together a combative world of sweet and tart in two very distinctive—and delish—manners.
You want it retail? Turns out Ted knows about a lot more than just meat. That’s right, the Butcherblock carries two to three ciders at any given time. Currently stocking Etienne Dupoint and J.K.’s Scrumpy Hard Cider, Ted gives us two very different cider tastes. Etienne Dupont hails from France (and comes in the equivalent of a wine bottle—but what else would you expect from the French?) and gives you a clean, crisp flavor that almost takes on the qualities of a dry, French wine. The other brew, J.K.’s Scrumpy, compares to the cider taste we are most accustomed, mirroring the flavors of an English farmhouse cider while managing not to be a sweet bomb.
The Royal American rounds out Charleston’s cider trifecta. Boston Beer Company’s Angry Orchard has the most familiar taste when it comes to cider and may be the best place for cider newbies to start. Merging sweetness with tartness, Angry Orchard tastes like you would expect hard cider to taste—but again, without the sickeningly sweet aftermath that some other ciders leave with you.
So for all of you fellow cider drinkers who have been shunned under the Woodchuck name, it’s time to come out of hiding. Just in time for Fall.
Story by: Melissa Tunstall
Photos by: Chrys Rynearson