Since we’re no longer writing “unpopular opinion” threads on Twitter, here’s an unpopular opinion in print: I hate beer. I find the smell and taste of these hops-and-yeast brews to be, in a word, nasty. Luckily, fermented fruit has my back (and is also gluten-free)! While wine is often my go-to beverage, its high 11- to 13-percent alcohol content makes it a danger to enjoy too much of it. But cider? Ciders I can do all day. They’ve got a lot going for them: They’re sometimes dry, sometimes sweet, always thirst-quenching and carbonated. A versatile beverage, indeed. Here are six seasonal ciders worth sipping this summer.
Rosé Apple Cider (Square Mile Cider)
Made with rose hips and hibiscus flowers, Square Mile’s simple, refreshing rosé cider is made from three different Oregon apple varieties. It also got me wondering what the point of a simple rosé cider is, since this one tasted just like sparkling rosé wine—no cider vibes, really, except for the 6.2 percent alcohol. Regardless, it’s crisp, light, and a little sweet, with a clean finish. I ended up going back for more.
Passport: Pineapple Passionfruit (Schilling Cider)
I’m a person who likes her cider on the sweet side, so I suspected this tropical summer cider from Schilling would be right up my alley. And I was right! Bright and refreshing, with mango notes and a small white head, the Pineapple Passionfruit cider is absolutely, mouth-puckeringly delicious. At least in my pint at Kelly’s Olympian, the 6.7 percent alcohol was undetectable. I’ll be enjoying this again.
Sage (WildCraft Cider Works)
I get excited with anything that involves sage—as well as when a cider’s alcohol content reaches as high as 7.6 percent. WildCraft’s seasonal Sage apple cider is smooth, pretty dry, and only slightly sweet. Pouring a hazy yellow, it’s drinkable, and sort of tastes like a cross between wine and kombucha... but not necessarily in a good way. I don’t hate it, and I don’t love it.
Camp Clementine (2 Towns Ciderhouse)
This adorably named cider from 2 Towns is giving me some serious orange soda vibes. Who loves (alcoholic) orange soda? Jenni loves (alcoholic) orange soda! Camp Clementine is a citrusy summertime easy drinker made with California clementines and yellow Maracuya passion fruit. It’s definitely sweet, with a pleasant aftertaste. It’s available in kegs and bottles, so pick this up at the grocery store and sip it while you read a book on your porch.
Pom (Swift Cider)
It’s official: One simply cannot go wrong with a pomegranate cider. Earlier this spring, naturally fermenting cider company Swift rolled out its “rotating fruit series” (as well as some rotating single-varietal ciders) with the canned Pom. Made from Oregon-grown and -pressed Gala/Jonagold/Granny Smith/Honey Crisp apples and California pomegranate juice, its juicy, semi-sweet, slightly tart quality makes every sip warrant another.
Pineapple Rosé (Portland Cider Company)
As someone who loves pineapple anything (cider, juice, T-shirts, home décor) and also enjoys a glass of cold rosé when it’s above 70 degrees, I was pretty excited to try Portland Cider Company’s Pineapple Rosé, made with “a touch of Oregon blueberries.” I’m not sure what makes this cider “rosé,” other than the fact that it’s quite fizzy and, predictably, quite tasty. Despite the annoying, sexually suggestive “ALWAYS HARD” message on the side of the can, knocking a couple of these back was a joy. This Pineapple Rosé is 5.2 percent alcohol and I would 100 percent drink it again.