By Brooklynn Johnson
Cider has deep roots in England that date back to the beginning of time, if not before. An English-style cider is made by using bittersweet and bittersharp types of apples, or “spitters,” as they are sometimes called. Some of these varietals include Dabinett and Yarlington Mill, both of which have English roots. These brews are often characterized by their slightly higher than average ABV, ranging between six and nine percent, a low to non-existent level of carbonation and dry, tannic flavoring.
If you find yourself craving a little piece of history, check out where you can get a classic scrumpy.
Griffin Cider Works || Moving from the English countryside to Cleveland, Ohio, Richard Read realized that it was significantly harder than he had originally thought it would be to find a true English-style cider. So, he started making his own and founded Griffin Cider Works in 2010. Not only could you find one English style cider there, the majority of Griffin’s line up are in sync with this style. The Griffin Original is described as “British was a capital ‘B.’” Brilliant in its clear gold color, the cider is fermented first with wild yeast, and then fermented with a commercial one. This is the classic English pub-style cider, made by someone who knows exactly what that really means.
Montana CiderWorks || Tucked in Darby, Montana, this bonded winery specializes in English-style ciders. Silver medal winner at the 2014 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition and a gold medal at the Portland International Cider Cup, the Darby Pub Cider is a semi-dry cider that has an extra bit of fruit juice added in after fermentation, subtly upping the sweetness factor. Its alcohol content ranks on the lower end of English styles at 5 percent.
Virtue Cider || Owner and founder of Fennville, Michigan’s Virtue Cider, Greg Hall, owes much of his original cider inspirations to classic English-style ciders. Taking a tour of English breweries in 2000 lead him to follow up with his own cider studies in England and France, where he landed an extremely coveted internship at Domaine Dupont in Normandy. Virtue Cider’s English style draft cider, Red Streak is made from a varietal of Herefordshire apples that dates back to 1630, and has a touch of lemon and a subtle scent of oak.
Whitewood Cider || As South Puget Sound’s first cidery, Whitewood Cider Co. in Olympia, Washington is dedicated to sticking to traditional cider making methods. The beautiful Puget Sound does a lot of the work—their ciders are fermented through the winter out in the natural temperature of the area. Dave White, Whitewood Cider co-owner, is actually a founding member of the Northwest Cider Association, and is even currently serving as its president. Their Red Cap session-style cider is juicy, crisp and refreshing with a clean finish, reminiscent of an English pub style, and is made from Washington-grown heirloom apples and traditional cider apple varietals.
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery || The name of Caledon, Ontario’s Spirit Tree derives from a testament to the history of cider. Wassailing is the practice in which a group of people get together in an orchard, and sing, shout and make all sorts of noises in hopes of waking the apple trees and scaring away any bad spirits that could hurt the trees’ health. Thus, the spirit trees. Cellared for four-six months before release, Spirit Tree’s new Draught Cider is hearty in apple and robust flavors, ideal for fish and chips or a pint or three.