When it comes to the craft beverage scene, it seems like North America’s coastal regions dominate the spotlight (looking at you New England, Washington, Oregon & California) leaving the middle of the country to be like the kid picked last in gym class: often overlooked by the competition, but certainly not a bad pick.
In 2013, Colorado’s craft beer industry ranked 4th in the nation for breweries per capita, 2nd in gallons produced per adult, and with a giant exhibit in its airport paying homage to this booming scene, they want you to know they’re a force to be reckoned with. Its cider scene is gaining traction as well. The Rocky Mountain Cider Association currently has 13 commercially licensed cideries and is steadily growing. Here are five mile-high Colorado Rocky Mountain ciders that we dig!
- Colorado Cider Company Grasshop-ah (Denver, CO)
ABV: 6.95 percent
Highlights: The Colorado Cider Company takes the traditional hopped cider and kicks it up a notch with lemongrass. The result is a complex, beer-like cider with bright citrus notes from the lemon grass and a bite of bitterness from the hops.
- Wild Cider Spiced Apple (Firestone, CO)
ABV: 5 percent
Highlights: Slowly reclaiming what used to be known as “the fruit basket of the West,” Wild Cider currently offers five different of cider. Its Spiced Apple variety is creamy with light tannin notes and laced with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and orange peel.
- Stem Ciders Malice (Denver, CO)
ABV: 7.5 percent
Highlights: Stem Ciders attempts to make the highest quality cider, and have produced an arsenal of artisanal varieties to prove they mean business. Their Malice cider is crisp, dry fermented and aged in a stainless steel container to give it that aged taste but without the woody profile one would get from a barrel
- Branch Out Cider (Ft. Collins, CO)
ABV: 8.5 percent
Highlights: What started out as a garage project using apples collected from trees in their neighborhood, Branch Out has begun bottling and selling their cider to masses. Its 2013 variety is crisp with notes of melon and honey, and has a very fun 8.5 percent ABV
- Big B’s Harvest Apple Hard Cider (Hotchkiss, CO)
ABV: 2 percent
Highlights: Big B’s has been making juice for more than 40 years, from lemonades to teas and a variety of apple-blend juices. They recently decided to join the cider crazy with two varieties, one of which is the bold, semi-sweet Harvest Apple made with a blend of organic apples.