The Rise of Hard Ciders

Beer is booming, especially in a sudsy state like Colorado that boasts 6.1 breweries per capita and produces roughly 1,673,686 barrels of craft beer per year. But last week, with sweeping views of Copper Mountain and a blissfully blue sky framing the scene—hundreds of tasting glass-toting festival-goers gathered together in Colorado not in the name of beer—but in the name of ciders. Some of the ticket holders for this year’s Cider Circus that took place at Copper Mountain Resort on August 29th were dressed in their festival finest, donning wide brimmed floppy hats and clothing from various breweries and cideries. But most of the thirty-something craft consumers wandering around the festival grounds were fresh off the mountain and still wearing droplets of sweat, CamelBaks, and the appropriate footwear from the morning adventures.

While it’s been proven that in moderation, beer has some health benefits that most habitual beer drinkers can list off at a moments notice, many active Americans are preferring to reach for the hard cider.

Here’s why:

Two words: Gluten. Free. Many avid athletes follow a strict gluten-free diet in hopes of improving their athletic performance. For the most part, hard ciders fall in this category and offer an accessible and enjoyable alternative to beer for gluten-conscious people.

Antioxidants. Ciders are made from fresh fruit. Traditional ciders are made from apples, which are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C and other antioxidants that provide the basis for the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

They’re light and refreshing. Although ciders typically carry the same amount of calories as beer, the drink’s minimalist approach to ingredients leaves behind a light and refreshing beverage that transcends seasons and trends.

The cider industry is growing. The days of breaking out the hard ciders only when the temperatures begin to drop are done. Ciders are more accessible than ever, and many cideries are not only serving up their products from their tap rooms, they’re packaging them and taking them on the road to liquor stores, bars, and beer festivals across the nation.

Whether they’re dry or sweet, the drinkability factor of ciders is high.

Here are some of our favorites that we tried at this year’s Cider Circus.

The Ginger Cider by C Squared Ciders {2875 Blake St Unit C, Denver, CO}

Balance is the name of the game when it comes to the sweetness level of ciders, and this one has it. The ginger flavor took this cider from a basic beverage to a drink that you’ll seek out in the future.

Cherry Daze Hard Cider by Big B’s Fabulous Juices & Hard Ciders {39126 Highway 133, Hotchkiss, CO}

The tartness of the cherry cuts through the sweetness of this cider, made from locally harvested apples in Hotchkiss, Colorado. We also love that Big B’s is serving up this cider, along with several other hard ciders, in 16 oz. cans—upping the portability factor.

Grasshop-ah by Colorado Cider Company {2650 West 2nd Avenue #10, Denver, CO}

Colorado Cider Company’s hard ciders can be found all throughout the state of Colorado, often on tap a restaurants and stocked on shelves of liquor stores. We dug the Grasshop-ah’s citrusy kick of lemongrass that made this cider especially refreshing on a warm Colorado day.

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