Cider tastes better than beer.

Yeah, I said it. And I’ll say it again, in bold letters: CIDER IS BETTER THAN BEER. I’m not saying that beer is bad or anything, but I like hard cider better–and I shouldn’t be mocked for the preference.

Go to a bar with your buddies. Plop down in the stool, get the bartender’s attention. Ask for cider. Even if you’re a 6 foot 5 Hell’s Angel with “LOVE AND HATE” tattooed on your knuckles, bloodstains on your chopper, and a bandoleer across your chest, your pals are going to stare, possibly laugh, and probably ask if you’re sure you don’t want a Smirnoff Ice.

Screw that noise. I was introduced to cider by a 300-pound Irish bus driver who could pound pints of the black stuff for six hours straight and still want whiskey afterwards. That’s pretty damn manly. And what’s this association with Zima and “alcopops?” Cider was what you drank long before beer took hold in this country, with pints pounded down by everyone from hard-bitten frontiersmen to John Quincy Adams. It only lost its popularity when beer breweries arose near urban centers. And like so many other things, that was all the Germans’ fault. Lousy Germans*.

Luckily, cider seems to be making a comeback–in England, anyway. It’s nice to know that if I’m ever in London and I ask for a pint of Magner’s or Scrumpy Jack, I won’t get snickers or funny looks (which is good, because I am emphatically not a bloodthirsty Hell’s Angel).

If you’d like to read a brief history of the drink I love so much, check out my article on the main site. And next time you see a guy asking futilely if the bar stocks Woodchuck, show some sympathy. An American cider-lover’s existence is a torturous one.

*In reality, Jim has nothing against the Germans, nor does he wish they would “go back to Germania.” He just wishes they wouldn’t make such good beer.**
**If any Germans are offended, Jim deeply apologizes, as he knows that Germans are not “all smiles und sunshine.”

  • Pam

    Amen! Strongbow’s my cider of choice when I’m in England (and when I can manage to find the cans in the US).

  • Callie

    After I lived in the UK for six months, I fell in love with cider. I also am a fan of Strongbow, especially with a little black current juice mixed in :)

  • Caley

    And for efficiency sake, cider has a higher alcohol content. Woodchuck is tasty, but I love my Smithwick’s. Wow, callie, your name is suspiciously like mine.

  • Ellen

    i found out i am allergic to wheat last summer. luckily, my neighborhood liquor store happens to carry strongbow, in bottles. havve you ever tried blackthorn? they have it at british style pubs in tony neighborhoods in chicago, but it’s great and really dry.

  • Jim

    I tried Blackthorn at the Nine Fine Irishmen pub in Las Vegas and absolutely loved it, but until now all I could find here in Chicago was the bottled form–it just doesn’t compare.

    Could you name some of those pubs for me? :D

  • Tom

    I too have been mocked for my enjoyment of cider. It’s kinda depressing, really.

  • kitty

    I wonder how much things have to do simply with words.

    ‘Beer’ sounds a little obnoxious, proletariat, down to earth.
    ‘Cider’….well, doesn’t. It sounds ready to have your face dunked in. It sounds old-timey and slightly polite.

    Cider ought to go thru a whole re-branding campaign, imo! :-)

  • myamii

    Ahh, Cider. I prefer a good hard cider any day over any other drink. When I lived in France, this was my preferred drink with lunch. Mmmm, what I wouldn’t give for a glass (or bottle :)) of Loïc Raison right now!

  • Claire@cookthink

    with the heat here on the east coast, my glass of draft cider at the pub last night was a saving grace for the evening. I started on woodchuck, then moved to Canada where Strongbow was on tap. Mmmmm…..the campaign for rebranding starts right here!

  • Max

    My semester abroad was spent with many-a-pint of Strongbow by my side. Unfortunately, it was also responsible for quite the weight gain! Callie – the black current juice mix in sounds fantastic! I’ll definitely have to try!

  • Jim

    Kitty, Cider Jack recently attempted an image change with some very funny ads mocking other forms of booze (“Wine is created by stomping on grapes barefoot in some dirty barrel. Cider is prepared wearing clean shoes hand-knit by virgins”), but unless a company like Magner’s starts a huge publicity push it’ll be a grassroots effort.

    Max, you’re right there–cider will make you gain weight. I was so surprised to find out it had more calories than beer, but I guess that’s the result of all the sugar they put into it. I’d love to try some non-mass-produced cider, the really dry stuff that only uses the sugars and yeast in the apples themselves…

  • Sarah

    Save me! Save me from the Germans!

  • Tea

    Hear, hear for cider–and thank you! You’re absolutely right, of course.

    Anyone in Calif or Nevada should check out Fox Barrel, a small cidery in the Sierra foothills. Made by friends of mine, it’s really great.

  • Anonymous

    As a wise Irishmen once said “Cider…ah you don’t want that. Tastes like grannys piss!”

  • Jim

    Oi! The only warning I got from Irishmen was to watch how fast you drink it!

    Okay, okay, and that it’ll rot your teeth.

  • Anonymous


    If you’re at all interested, give home brewing a try. Cider is brutally simple compared to wine, and wine is really easy compared to beer.

    And, once you get the kinks worked out, it’s fabulous. Totally dry with no additives, sugars, preservatives (except for alcohol). You’ll end up saving a boatload too.

  • Pingback: Discuss Cooking - Hard Cider?

  • Tim

    I found out that this is true when I was diagnosed with Celiac Diease (wheat-gluten allergy). I could not believe that something so simple could be so good!!

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