Friday, March 14, 2014

What I'm drinking these days

You know, I really like beer. I mean, hell, I'm German. Why wouldn't I?! It's funny: I remember a time when I would tell other women I liked beer and they would wrinkle up their noses at me, thinking me not very lady-like. Stupid. They apparently didn't know what they were missing.

But I don't drink it any more, and now I miss it. A lot. It's one of those things that I like very much, but it doesn't like me. The yeast, the gluten, I don't know what the issue is exactly. It just creates an inhospitable environment in my system.....well, let's just leave it at that, shall we?

Apple cider at work, fermenting
I was lamenting this sad fact not long ago at work and my co-worker told me I should try cider. Apple cider? Can't get much of a buzz from that! No, hard cider. Like apple cider, but with alcohol. I was intrigued. I had never tried it. Or so I thought.

Naturally, I had to research it.

Cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice, most commonly and traditionally apple juice, but also from peaches, pears or berries. Cider varies in alcohol content from as low as 1.2% to 8.5% or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, cider may be called "apple wine". Cider may be made from any variety of apple, but certain cultivars grown solely for use in cider as known as cider apples. The beverage is very popular in the U.K., which has the highest per capita consumption of it in the world. Cider is also popular in other European countries such as Ireland, and in the French regions of Brittany and Normandy. In Poland, which is the largest producer of apples in Europe, cider is just recently gaining popularity. Argentina is also a cider-producing and drinking country, as well as Australia. In Spain (especially in the Basque Country), and in Germany, in my family's neck of the woods, the Rhineland, and in Hesse (Frankfurt area). In fact, the Germans call it Appelwein and I had had it as a youngster.

The first recorded reference to cider is in Ancient Roman literature resulting from Julius Caesar's invasion of Britain in 55 BC. Clearly the Brits were making it a long, long time ago. In America, during colonial times, apple cider was consumed as the main beverage with meals because water was often considered unsafe for drinking!!

My co-worker suggested I try the cider from Angry Orchard. It was his favorite. A few months ago I was at a sports bar for dinner and they had it on their menu so I gave it a try. I loved it. Crisp, only slightly sweet (because of the fruit) but not really. It was like a soft apple juice, slightly carbonated, a little alcoholic, and super refreshing. Best of all, no lingering gut problems. 

My sister likes one from the U.K. called Strongbow. I found it at BevMo and will try it next.

If you're looking for a nice way to unwind after a busy work week, or a vigorous bike ride, or it's hot out and you need a way to cool off, give a nice glass of cider a try. You might be pleasantly surprised by how good it is.

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