Exploring World Ciders: Understanding Varieties and Traditions

Embark on a global cider journey, Exploring World Ciders: Understanding Varieties and Traditions discovering unique flavors and cultural traditions.
July 25, 2023
Exploring World Ciders: Understanding Varieties and Traditions

Cider, a drink derived from apples, boasts a range of styles, traditions, and tastes as diverse as the world itself. This article, “Exploring World Ciders: Understanding Varieties and Traditions,” explores the intricacies of worldwide cider production techniques, the multitude of apple varieties used, and how these factors shape each cider's unique identity. Get ready to broaden your cider horizons and discover how this simple apple-based beverage is interpreted around the globe.

Global Ciders: Exploring Shared Traits and Unique Varieties

Understanding ciders worldwide involves appreciating the diverse cultural influences, regional traditions, and unique production techniques that each country brings to the table. It is a journey of discovery, much like wine tasting, where each sip tells a story of the region and the people behind its creation.

  • Ingredients: The foundation of all ciders is apples, but the apple varieties, the use of other fruits like pears (known as perry), and the addition of specific flavors (like honey or berries) can vary greatly from one region to another.
  • Fermentation and Production: The process of making cider is nuanced and varies worldwide. This includes the fermentation process, the use of wild or cultivated yeasts, aging process, and whether the cider is still or sparkling. These factors significantly influence the cider's taste, aroma, and texture.
  • Cider Styles: Cider styles can be incredibly diverse - from bone-dry to sweet, still to sparkling, clear to cloudy, and everything in between. 
  • Cultural Traditions: From the cider houses (sagardotegiak) of Basque Country in Spain to the wassailing (orchard-visiting) tradition in England, local customs play a huge role in the cider culture. They often dictate how cider is served and enjoyed and are integral to the cider experience.
  • Regulations: Different countries have their rules and regulations concerning cider. For instance, in the UK, a drink can only be classified as cider if it contains at least 35% apple juice, while French regulations insist on using cider apples from designated orchards.

Understanding these factors will help you appreciate the complexity and diversity of ciders worldwide. Each country, region, and producer provides a unique interpretation of what cider can be, making the exploration of world ciders an exciting and endlessly surprising journey.

Global Cider Journey: A Taste from Every Continent

The UK's cider tradition, with its distinct apple varieties and time-tested fermentation methods, offers a unique old-world charm. The various regions of the country, each with their unique climatic conditions and apple varieties, produce ciders that range from sharp and dry to sweet and fruity. The lengthy maturation process, often in oak barrels, further enhances the depth of flavors, giving UK ciders a complexity that is both enticing and refreshing.

Innovation in Cider Production: Australia and Argentina's Rising Influence

In the southern hemisphere, countries such as Australia and Argentina are carving out a niche with their innovative approach to cider production. These countries, known for their expansive vineyards and fertile orchards, have turned to cider making with enthusiasm and creativity. Adapting to the local climate and apple varieties, cider makers in these regions have adopted novel techniques, experimenting with blends, fermentation processes, and aging methods. This innovation has resulted in ciders that are vibrant, fresh, and full of unique flavors. Whether it's an Australian cider that surprises with a tropical twist, or an Argentinian creation that's splendidly crisp and effervescent, the southern hemisphere is definitely raising the bar in the global cider scene

A Worldwide Toast: Exploring International Ciders

Venture into the Asian cider scene, and you'll find Japan and China creating a unique fusion. These countries ingeniously blend the familiar charm of traditional cider apple varieties with a twist of local fruits. This fusion not only enhances the diversity of flavor profiles but also adds a cultural nuance to their ciders. It's a nod to their rich local agriculture while paying homage to the traditional cider roots, crafting a truly mesmerizing beverage experience.

Sip Around the World: The Ultimate Cider Tour

Canada’s cider industry, though relatively young, stands tall with its delightful offerings. Quebec's ice ciders, made from apples frozen on the tree, bring a delectable sweetness that will have you coming back for more. Venture to South Africa, and you'll find cider that offers a blend of tart, sweet, and earthy tones. This balance is testament to the expertise of the country's cider makers. 

Spain's Escanciador to UK's Apple Rule: Cider Traditions Decoded

Distinct cider-making traditions define the character of ciders in Spain and the UK. In Spain, cider or "sidra" is poured from a height, a tradition called "escanciador." This aerates the cider, unlocking its tart and effervescent qualities. Meanwhile, in the UK, cider must contain at least 35% apple juice. This high apple content, often utilizing local bittersweet varieties, results in ciders with a depth of flavor characteristic of British brews. Despite both being ciders, these two countries offer vastly different experiences reflecting their unique traditions and regulations.

Sampling Global Ciders: From Americas to Asia

In the US, the Pacific Northwest leads in cider production, with Washington State offering a vast selection of ciders. Across the ocean, Asia is gaining traction in the world of cider. China, despite being the world's largest producer of apples, is relatively new to the cider scene. Yet, the country's cider makers are demonstrating remarkable prowess, combining traditional cider apple varieties with local fruits to create something genuinely unique.

Crafted Globally: The Ciders That Define Our World

In this grand tour of world ciders, we've journeyed from continent to continent, exploring the rich diversity and deep-rooted traditions that shape this delightful beverage. From the unique cider varieties of North America, the heritage-laden brews of Europe, to the innovative creations of Asia and beyond. So, next time you raise your glass of cider, take a moment to appreciate the world-spanning journey those apples have embarked on. 

Ready to Discover Craft Cider for Yourself?

Whether you’re a seasoned craft cider drinker or just discovering this delicious drink, next time you’re at Ciderworks@Story Tavern in Burbank, be sure to make it your go-to happy hour option. Enjoy mouth-watering, organic beverages you’ll never forget! Try our award-winning apple cider, cherry/blueberry, pineapple, ginger/lemongrass, strawberry/orange, and many more exciting flavors proudly made in-house from fruit picked from the trees in local orchards - including the owners’ backyard.

Come visit our Taproom and enjoy gluten-free, mouth-watering food and beverages you’ll never forget! Plus, you’ll find Ciderworks menu loaded with unique, 100% gluten-free food choices - all made by hand using the highest quality, farm-to-table ingredients.

Head to Ciderworks@Story Tavern and try some of our delicious flavors today! We’re located next to Story Tavern at 150 S San Fernando Blvd. in downtown Burbank.

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