With the drop in temperature, we’re looking for something to heat us up. Pepper-infused cider happens to be trending, with the season change and with the direction of craft cider to experiment with more flavors and ingredients. The ciders listed below are starting to make a mark by packing a heated punch to jack up your list of cider favorites. Many are limited released so be sure to watch out for them on tap lists, grocery store shelves and company websites for special ordering.
Wood Chuck Hard Cider Hot Cha Cha Cha! || Middlebury, VT || As the sixth installment of the cidery’s “Out on a Limb” series, this heat-packing scrumpy contains bird’s eye chili peppers. The heat and pepper flavor complement the bitter cider apple flavor that then brings out sweetness with a hot and spicy finish. The series happens to rotate out a new cider every 90 days on grocery market shelves so make sure to keep a watchful eye on this spicy cider.
Seattle Cider Co. Three Peppers || Seattle || The limited edition cider recently released at The Woods taproom contains three peppers—green jalapeño, poblano and habanero—like the name implies. The green bell pepper aroma and subtle sweetness are the first notes until the heat kicks with some mild spicy flavor. The small batch was made with Fuji, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Gala apples.
Blake’s Hard Cider El Chavo || Armada, MI || On the sweeter end of the brix scale, the El Chavo is a blend of habaneros, mango and Blake’s famous apples. Of the 19 varieties that Blake’s offers, this is the spiciest in the heat department that is nicely counterbalanced by the sweetness from the mango and apples. According to Blake’s, this sweet and hot blend is like no other.
Finnriver Farm and Cidery Habanero Cider || Chimacum, WA || The limited release was brewed for the Strange Brew Fest in Port Townsend, Washingtion, when cidermaker Chris Weir desiered something strange yet spicy. He decided to experiment by adding some spice in the way of peppers to his cider. The level of heat is achieved by soaking habanero chili peppers in the cider for a flavor profile of chili heat and tart apples cut with a flavor of semi-sweetness.
McClure’s Orchard Jalapeno || Peru, IN || The cidery opened when Paige and Jerry McClure took over an overgown orchard in Indiana. Now they produce award-winning cider, and the jalapeno happens to be included on the list. Jalapeno peppers are added during fermentation, and although the peppers do not create a ear-steamingly spicy cider, there is a lot of great pepper flavor is every glass.
Bishop Cider Co. Cat Scratch Fever || Dallas, TX || The Dallas arts district cidery created the mildly spicy cider infused with jalapenos for a flavorful boot rather than a sip loaded with heat. This unique craft cider has been made in the past at the cidery and served at the bar in-house but make sure to check for it on their tap list or neighboring restaurants and bars that serve Bishop.