Tasting Notes: American Hard Ciders

Diverse, dry, and delicious, American hard cider is making a comeback. Here are 15 bottles well worth a taste.

Wandering Aengus Wickson Cider
Wandering Aengus Wickson Cider
($8; 500 ml) Made from crab apples, this arresting cider has a musty, almost vegetal astringency; try it with shellfish.Penny De Los Santos
Doc's Draft Dry Hopped Hard Cider
Doc's Draft Dry Hopped Hard Cider
($6; 22 oz.) Fermented cider is infused with flowery, citrusy Centennial and piney Chinook hops to produce a bright, floral drink with notes of pink grapefruit. It's zesty, a little sweet, and very refreshing.Penny De Los Santos
Reverend Nat's Providence Traditional New England Hard Cider
Reverend Nat's Providence Traditional New England Hard Cider
($14; 750 ml) Fermented with raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this oak-aged cider is surprisingly lean given its apple pie aroma. It's wonderful warmed slightly.Penny De Los Santos
Uncle John's Russet
Uncle John's Russet
($14; 750 ml) A bubbly prosecco-like cider with a rounded tartness and an earthy fruit fragrance, this hard cider would be nice to serve with both the relish plate and the holiday bird.Penny De Los Santos
Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider
Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider
($16; 750 ml) Golden in the glass, with aromas of fermented fruit, this cider's rich nose and full body belie its sharp, tannic finish. Complex and delicious—just right for pairing with autumn's braised meats.Penny De Los Santos
Foggy Ridge Cider First Fruit
Foggy Ridge Cider First Fruit
($15; 750 ml) Hazy and pale with whiffs of bloomy-rind cheese and just a hint of sugar on the palate, this chardonnay-like cider resolves in minerally oyster notes. It's a natural with seafood.Penny De Los Santos
Slyboro Cider House Hidden Star Semi-Dry Cider
Slyboro Cider House Hidden Star Semi-Dry Cider
($12; 750 ml) A frothy head, clear appearance, loads of brisk, fresh apple on the nose, and a balanced sweetness characterize this New York farmstead cider.Penny De Los Santos
Virtue the Mitten
Virtue the Mitten
($30; 750 ml) This blend of bourbon-barrel-aged cider and juice from fresh-pressed cider apples delivers horse-radishy aromas and hints of spiced vanilla and caramel—a good pairing with a well-aged cheddar.Penny De Los Santos
Anthem Cider
Anthem Cider
($8; 22 oz.) Apples not traditionally used for cider—Golden Delicious, Fuji—yield an elegant, easy drink with a soft bubble and rich aromas of green banana and peaches.Penny De Los Santos
Eve's Cidery Rustica
Eve's Cidery Rustica
($15; 750 ml) This light, honey-colored cider is as sweet and snappy as a freshly cut apple. Try it over ice as an aperitif alongside a young cheddar or a mild blue cheese.Penny De Los Santos
Bad Seed Dry Hard Cider
Bad Seed Dry Hard Cider
($13; 22 oz.) From a family orchard in upstate New York, this dry, stony cider opens with a pungent fragrance but wraps up with a crisp, steely finish.Penny De Los Santos
Alpenfire Flame Brute
Alpenfire Flame Brute
($22; 750 ml) French and English cider apples lend this effervescent, complex Washington State cider a rustic fragrance, creamy mouthfeel, and pleasingly bitter finish.Penny De Los Santos
West County Cider Pippen
West County Cider Pippen
($13; 750 ml) A deep butterscotchy aroma yields to a bone-dry, tangy finish in this cider from Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains.Penny De Los Santos