It’s a crisp summer evening and you’re on your way to a gathering with friends. The campfire is roaring and the stars sparkle in the night sky. It’s the perfect moment to unwind with a cool beverage. What do you pack in your cooler?
For those of you who are 21 years and older, you might consider refreshing options like beer, wine, and hard seltzer.
But what about hard cider?
For us, hard cider stands out among the rest of the alcoholic beverages on the market. Hard cider offers some of the best elements of beer and wine while also being an all-around unique beverage.
We make our own Cold Hollow hard cider, so it’s something that we’re passionate about. But once you get to know more about this classic Vermont beverage, you’ll fall in love with it too.
Here are seven reasons why you should grab a four-pack of hard cider for that next party of yours.
Hard cider comes from real fruit
Hard cider is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented apples (like how wine is made from fermented grapes).
Like wine, starting with fruit gives hard cider taste profiles that range from fruity to dry. Your palette can pick up on the acids and tannins that come from the wide variety of apples. Cider is a similar experience to drinking wine, but the possibilities of apple taste combinations are greater than those from grapes.
It’s all about the apples in a glass of hard cider.
Our Cold Hollow hard cider starts when we press local McIntosh and Honeycrisp apples into a sweet juice on our rack and cloth cider press. This fresh cider is then fermented and transformed into cans of hard cider. Starting with real fruit gives us the best foundation of flavor.
Apples are a great fruit to work with because there are so many varieties to explore! We always use sweet table fruits like the McIntosh and Honeycrisp varieties. But we will also use more tart heritage apples for some of our hard cider taste profiles. Each type of apple adds different levels of acid, tannins, and sugar to create unique taste profiles.
We don’t use anything but real fruit in our hard cider. And if we’re adding other flavors like raspberry or lemon to our hard cider, we will only use the whole fruit or fruit purees. Never “natural” flavorings. Just the real stuff.
Fresh fruit tastes better!
Hard cider supports local agriculture
We’re lucky to live among rolling hills of apple orchards here in Vermont. So why not use these local apples for our hard cider?
We source our apples from both sides of Lake Champlain in Vermont and upstate New York. The result is a can of hard cider that represents our local communities, which makes us very proud.
Making hard cider with local apples connects us to the land and farmers right in our backyard.
Beer is often made with imported grain from the midwest or Europe. And depending on where it’s made, wine can also come from a blend of imported grapes. But Vermont hard cider is made entirely from local apples.
Our hard cider engages local agriculture and offers consumers like you a taste of this wonderful place we call home.
Hard cider is the ultimate way to “drink local.”
Our hard cider has no added sugars
Apples are naturally sweet - that’s what makes hard cider so tasty!
But more tart apples are also used in the hard cider-making process. So it’s not uncommon to add a sweetener to your hard cider.
Some hard cider producers add simple sugars to their cider for added sweetness. We’re not a big fan of added sugars, especially those that don’t come from natural sources. If we need to sweeten a batch of hard cider, there’s only one ingredient we use: cider syrup.
We make our cider syrup at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill as part of our cider jelly-making process. As we boil down our fresh apple cider, we pull off the cider syrup at a lower temperature before the natural pectins turn the cider into jelly. The result is a sweet, syrupy apple flavor.
So in the end, we’re only sweetening our hard cider with more apples.
Sweetening with cider syrup adds a new layer of complex apple flavor to our hard cider. It’s more robust than adding plain sugar. And the natural sugars are better for everyone who drinks our hard cider. Wins all around.
Hard cider is naturally fermented
We mentioned earlier how hard cider is made from fermented apples. But the key to this process is time.
There’s no point in rushing the fermentation of your hard cider. Doing so sacrifices those fantastic apple flavors that add “soul” to every sip.
So we give our hard cider the time it needs to naturally ferment. This could take up to several months...and the wait is worth it.
There’s something magical about how the sugars in fresh apples transform into a cold can of hard cider. All you have to do is add yeast to our fresh-pressed cider, create the right environment for the yeast to grow, and then fermentation will take over.
This isn’t the case with all alcoholic beverages.
Hard seltzer, for example, is a combination of seltzer water, added flavors, and alcohol made from fermented cane sugar. There isn’t any natural fermentation in a can of hard seltzer. The drink is mostly water spiked with processed sugar.
That doesn’t compare to the natural sugars of a crisp, local apple.
Hard cider is naturally gluten-free
More and more people are looking for gluten-free alternatives to food and beverages. And hard cider is the perfect fit!
While beer is made from grain (which contains gluten), hard cider is only made from apples. And apples are naturally gluten-free. A glass of hard cider gives you a similar beer experience but without gluten.
Hard cider is the perfect alternative to beer if you’re sensitive to gluten. And while wine and hard seltzer may also be gluten-free, they don’t always compare in quality or flavor. We’ll still choose hard cider every time.
Hard cider can also be more gentle on your stomach even if you’re not gluten-free. Hard cider doesn’t leave you with the same “full” feeling you can get from a few pints of beer.
We may not all be gluten intolerant, but moderating gluten intake can still be a good idea. Too much gluten doesn’t always make us feel well. A glass of hard cider is a lighter alternative for anyone’s body.
Hard cider comes in a can
Hard cider can feel like the best of both worlds -- fermented fruit like wine and canned like beer!
Our hard cider comes in a can, making it easy to drink and portable at any backyard gathering. It’s a similar experience to popping open a can of craft beer, but with the benefit of crisp apples.
Hold a cold can of hard cider in your hand and people at the party might not even realize that you’re not drinking a beer!
And if you’re passionate about the design of cans, you’ll enjoy the art on our hard cider. Our daughter, Makenzie, helped create the original sketches for the hard cider cans. We then worked with a talented artist from California who helped turn her designs into reality.
Each taste profile speaks to some of our favorite Vermont experiences (see: Barn Dance, Good Altitude, Grateful Sled). Read your can of Cold Hollow hard cider while you sip to learn more about the inspiration for each flavor.
Hard cider has a lower ABV
It's important to be conscious of the alcohol by volume (ABV) in the drink you're consuming. One benefit of hard cider is it has a lower alcohol content compared to wine and hard liquor.
The ABV of our Cold Hollow hard cider ranges from 5.9% to 7.2%. But most of our taste profiles are closer to 5.9% ABV.
Hard cider is a good option for enjoying the buzz of an alcoholic beverage more responsibly. It’s perfect to sip at a casual evening hang with friends or as a chilled drink with dinner.
You’ll feel a gentle warmth of alcohol that’s as enjoyable as a glass of wine, but a bit more delicate. We’ve been told hard cider just “hits a different vein to the brain.”
Try our Cold Hollow Hard Cider
Ready to join team hard cider? We make ten hard cider taste profiles for you to enjoy!
We’re excited to have Cold Hollow hard cider cans available for online ordering. Visit our website to shop for hard cider and choose from our range of sweet and dry taste profiles. When you checkout, we’ll ship the cans right to your doorstep as soon as our cidermaker finishes the latest batch of hard cider.
And if you’re ever in the Waterbury-Stowe area, you can also stop by our tasting room. We offer pints and flights of hard cider and also have cans available to enjoy later. We’d love to have you!