Our Top 10 Ciders of 2019
We tasted a lot of ciders in 2019 – I don’t even try to count anymore, but a few hundred would be a reasonable estimate. Since we’re pretty discerning and know what we like, we enjoyed most of them. It’s impossible to say what the “best” ciders were as that’s entirely subjective, but we did have some personal favorites. So, in no particular order, these were our top 10 favorite ciders we tasted in 2019!
1. Eden Specialty Ciders Guinevere’s Pearls/Siren Song Starting with a tie, because these two were absolutely sublime. Guinevere’s Pearls balanced acid and sweetness perfectly, while Siren Song could have drowned me in acidic and tannic astringency.
2. ANXO Happy Trees This blend of heirloom apples, fermented in wood with native yeast is one of the most authentic cider experiences we found in cans. Completely dry and easy-drinking, a great “everyday” cider.
3. Foggy Ridge Final Call
Foggy Ridge’s swan song epitomizes how orchard-based cider can truly communicate terroir. Full fruit flavor, soft tannins, crisp acidity – all from heirloom apples grown in their orchard.
4. Ash & Elm Bourbon Barrel Fickle Flame
Our first pyro-concentrated cider and we loved it. Baked apple, charred wood, and vanilla notes make this cider as warm as it is smooth. Balanced sweetness and lovely sipper at 13.5% ABV.
5. West County Redfield
A single variety cider made from the red-fleshed Redfield. Sharp apple gives way to red berries, sour cherry, and tart pineapple. Piquant and tannic, this cider kept me coming back for more.
6. Longueville House Mór
“Mór” means “big” in Irish and this apple brandy barrel-aged cider lives up to its name. Semi-dry and tannic with full bittersweet apple flavor, elevated by smooth oak and warming brandy.
7. BottleHouse Chorus
Cleveland’s BottleHouse is serious about their cider. Chorus is made from Ohio-grown heirloom and cider apples, a rarity, but the payoff is an invitingly complex, real-deal, local (to us) cider.
8. Aaron Burr Cider Homestead Locational Cider – 2015 Summitville
Another terroir-driven cider, but from uncultivated, foraged apples. Big bittersharp apple flavor, tart but not overly acidic. Tannins show up halfway through and linger long after the dry finish.
9. Albemarle Cidermaker’s Choice #5
A blend of 3 American and 3 European cider apples. Dry, but fresh apple flavor remains prominent. Approachable, soft tannins and clean acidity. One of the few ciders we totally agree on!
10. Embark Craft Ciderworks Golden Russet
2017 Harvest Golden Russet cider slightly sweetened by 2018 harvest Golden Russet juice. Aromas of peaches, mangoes, and honey meld with fresh apple. Astringent and mineral, off-dry finish.