Cider Snobbery, Finding Cider and Cider Ratings

mailFrom The Cider Journal’s In-Box:
Mail we’ve recently received from readers posses some excellent questions and comments.

“Snobbing Up Cider”
I’ve had a chance to look at the new Cider Journal and want to tell you how much I hate how you are Snobbing Up Cider. Even in the old days when cider was drunk by everyone, it was never associated with the snobbery that has always been a part of the wine world. I recently started drinking cider and enjoy the Angry Orchard and Johnny Appleseed, the same ciders you bash. Why is the Cider Journal the decider of what’s good cider and what is not? Leave cider to those who love drinking it and don’t turn it into a wine snob’s drink.
—From Jason

Jason,
Try not to think of The Cider Journal’s critical evaluation of ciders as “snobbing up” the drink. Think of it as celebrating the diversity and complexity of the proliferation of Cider in the American marketplace and culture. Furthermore, despite the best efforts of The Cider Journal, I don’t think you are in any danger of having to treat your favorite ciders as anything other than what they are: your favorite ciders. Drink what you like.
“I Can’t Find The Ciders”
I am loving the reviews. The problem is I can’t find most of the ciders you review. The grocery carries many of the mass market brands and sometimes I come across a different cider I’ve not heard of. But other than this, we don’t have access to these amazing ciders I keep reading about. Any suggestions?
—Holly

Holly, I know the feeling. But here’s the thing. The vast majority of ciders we review at The Cider Journal arrive in our glass via shipment from across the country. But here’s what you can do. If you, for example, wanted to get a hold of a cider you read about at The Cider Journal, but can’t find locally, tell your retailer about it. Ask them to carry it. Also, go to the Cidery’s Facebook page and let them know you want to buy it, but can’t find it locally. This kind of commentary really helps grease the wheels for cideries looking to expand their distribution…plus, you may just get what you want. Additionally my suggestion is to contact the cidery by phone and ask if there is someplace nearby where you can buy the cider and, if not, and ask if they will ship it to you. If they won’t, then try “Wine-Searcher.com”. Thousands of retailers across the country and the world upload their inventory to this beverage search engine. Once you find a retailer that sells the cider you want, simply order it online. With the exception of a few small production Canadian and European ciders, we’ve been able to locate and order just about anything we like. Good hunting!
What Does 5-Stars Mean?
I like that you rate ciders on a 5 star scale, but what I’m wondering is the difference between a 4 star cider and a 5 star cider. It seems a very subjective matter, isn’t it? Thanks for publishing The Cider Journal. Loving it.
—Claude

Claude, Thank you for your kind words about The Cider Journal. We will try to continue to meet your expectations. We describe what the different ratings mean HERE. However, let me say a bit more. For a cider to gain 5-STARS, it must possess a number of qualities. First, it must be in absolute balance. By this I mean the various components, including acid, tannin, sugar, effervescence, must come together without one dominating but with each contributing to the drink. In addition, we are looking for distinctive character that highlights the fruit as well as the production process. And we are looking for the kind of complexity in the aromas and flavors that make us think about the drink…that captivate us.

 

 

2 Responses to “Cider Snobbery, Finding Cider and Cider Ratings”

  1. Darlene Hayes

    Tom,

    Your reply to Claude was fine as far as it went, but it should also be clear that you are judging (I hope) a cider within the context of it’s regional style. You would not judge a great Asturian cider by the standards of a great West County cider any more than you would judge Champagne by the standards of Madeira. This gets complicated when judging an American cider, of course, as we’re all over the map here. That’s part of what makes the cider renaissance in the US so exciting.

    Darlene

    Reply
  2. Tom Wark

    Darlene,

    Indeed, that should have been added. However, even where these ciders of specific character are being made, we see “new” or “next” generation ciders emerging. Asturia is a perfect example. I’ve have a few sparkling ciders from Asturian cideries that could have easily passed for sparkling ciders from anywhere in the U.S. as well as from Normandy.

    Reply

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