Hard ciders gets a bad rap—especially among beer swigging crowds who’d rather just write it off as fizzy apple juice for lightweights. That’s their loss. Today’s top hard ciders are as complex, nuanced, and downright eyebrow-lifting as the beefiest double IPA. If you’re a suds guy, before scoffing yet again at this underappreciated fruit brew, allow us to make a proper re-introduction.
Here are some of the finest hard ciders for guys who don’t typically like cider.
1. Austin Eastciders Original Dry Cider
Austin Eastciders is a big name in the hard cider marketplace for good reason. Every cider from this brand is unique and exciting, especially its classic Original Dry Cider—a 5% ABV, crushable, slightly tart, sparkling wine-like, dry cider made with bittersweet apples sourced from Europe and dessert apples from the U.S.
[$10.99 for a six-pack; austineastciders.com]
2. Citizen Cider Unified Press
Unified Press is Citizen Cider’s take on the traditional hard cider produced for centuries in the U.S. Made in Burlington, VT, this naturally gluten-free cider is 5.2% ABV. The apples are pressed at the cidery’s own press house. The result is a slightly tart, crisp, easy-to-drink, well-balanced, classic hard cider.
[$12.99 for a four-pack; citizencider.com]Get it
3. Jack’s Helen Blend
This 5% ABV, year-round cider from Jack’s Hard Cider gets its name from founder Jack Hauser’s wife Helen, who had an affinity for apples and loved fall harvest time. A tribute to her, it’s known for its fruit and mellow yet slightly tart and acidic flavor profile.
[$10.50 for a six-pack; jackshardcider.com]Get it
4. Yonder Dry Hard Cider
Yonder’s 6.5% ABV Dry Hard Cider is made with a ton of different apples. Check out their list—Fuji, Honeycrisp, Roxbury Russet, Ashmead’s Kernel, Porter’s Perfection, and Wickson Crab apples. It’s known for its fruity, light, crisp, very drinkable flavor profile that will definitely appeal to beer drinkers.
[$14.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans; yondercider.com]Get it
5. Ship Bottom Cider Donut Hard Cider
When it comes to fall treats, there are few things more crave-able than a traditional, sweet cider donut. The only thing better would be a cider donut in beer form. This dry hard cider is made with pressed Pennsylvania apples and gets its sweet, delectable flavor from the addition of cinnamon, sugar, and cardamom.
[$13.99 for a six-pack; shipbottombrewery.com]Get it
6. 1911 Honeycrisp Cider
Landing on the sweeter side than most hard ciders, this award-winning, 6.9% ABV cider is made from 100% estate-grown Honeycrisp apples. Known for their sweet, crisp flavor, these apples lend a fruity flavor that pairs well with the slightly tart, refreshing flavor profile of this hard cider.
[$11.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans; 1911established.com]Get it
7. Wild State Classic Dry
This 6.9% ABV dry hard cider is referred to by the brand as the “champagne” of hard ciders. The naturally gluten-free hard cider from the Minnesota-based cidery is known for its effervescent sparkling wine-like flavors.
[$11.99 for a four-pack; wildstatecider.com]Get it
8. Golden State Mighty Dry Cider
Sonoma County CA is well-known for its wine prowess, but after one sip of Golden State Mighty Dry Cider you may start thinking about the area for hard cider as well. Made with 100% pressed West Coast apples and fermented with Champagne yeast, it’s crisp and fruity with a sparkling wine-like flavor profile.
[$12.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans; drinkgoldenstate.com]Get it
9. Woodchuck Amber
In a now saturated hard cider market, Woodchuck is still one of the biggest names. Sweeter than many of the more artisanal brands, its Amber is the most appealing choice for beer drinkers. Made the same way since 1991, it’s known for its sweet, fruity, crisp apple notes.
[$10.50 for a six-pack; www.woodchuck.com]Get it
10. Bad Seed Dry Hard Cider
Bad Seed makes a complex hard cider, to say the least. This dry, crisp, sparkling wine-like contender is made with pressed apples that are fermented until dry as well as sauvignon blanc yeast before being keg-conditioned. If you only try one hard cider this fall, make it this one.
[$9.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans; badseedhardcider.com]Get it
11. Artifact Cider Project Slow Down
Massachusetts-based cider innovator, Artifact, wants to change the way you think about cider—and coax you to take your sweet time to appreciate it. Their latest release, Slow Down, takes that mission about as literally as it gets. Brimming with 100 percent McIntosh apples, the beverage offers minerality and fresh citrus notes, accompanied by a hint of funk. We could all do with some slowing down right now, so why not take this 6 percent ABV cider’s lead. Preferably with some quality oysters —a perfect pairing.
[$36, 12-pack; artifactcider.com]Get it
12. Oliver Winery & Vineyards Original Beanblossom Hard Cider
This crisp, light, and gluten-free cider is made with a varied blend of Midwestern apples—think Ida, Red, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Empire and Gala—and never deigns to contain any concentrates. Thanks to the winery’s vino savvy, Oliver uses its state-of-the-art winemaking facility to work magic on apples that their suppliers press a day before fermentation begins. The company cold ferments the apple juice, halting the process at the ideal moment. At 8.3 percent ABV, this one’s a slower-sipper.
[$6.50 per bottle; oliverwinery.com]Get it
13. Original Sin Brighter Times
Brighter times? We’ll drink to that. This cider made from pressed New York apples leans a little retro-tropical thanks to the inclusion of a ‘70s-reminscent, Hawaiian-style “POG” blend (passion fruit, orange, and guava) that carefully eschews oversweetness. The 6 percent ABV cider is actually rather dry and complex—but can still let you dream of warm faraway places.
[$27,12-pack; originalsin.com]Get it
14. Rootstock Ciderworks Dry Cider
Based in Williamson, New York (a.k.a. “The Core of Apple Country”), this fifth-generation farmstead cidery situated near the shores of Lake Ontario uses culinary and dessert apples—including Jona Gold, Ida Red, and Golden Delicious—for a brew that drinks like a fine craft beer. If you think you detect notes of sparkling wine, you’re not too many ciders deep. Rootstock Cider is strikingly reminiscent of bubbly thanks to the strain of yeast used in its making.
[$11 per bottle; rootstockciderworks.com]Get it
15. Rootstock Ciderworks Hopped Cider
This modern, single-variety cider made with Crispin apples and locally-grown Cascade hops offers hints of citrus and pine. Finished with a touch of residual sugar, the beverage’s acidity carefully balances its sweetness. The end result is crisp, refreshing and semi-dry—complemented by a brilliant yellow-green color that has been compared to summer hay.
[$11; 6-pack; rootstockciderworks.com]Get it
16. Highpoint Cider Tram-Line
Bold Mosaic hops lend this 6 percent ABV cider a clean, crisp finish. Handcrafted in Teton country and made with freshly pressed Rocky Mountain apples, this invigorating cider is the one we’d elect to toss into a daypack for a celebratory post-hike toast. In addition to the trail, the Mosaic dry-hopped, citrusy beverage also pairs very well with spicy food.
[$13, 4-pack; vinoshipper.com]Get it
17. Artifact Cider Project Wild Thing
Forgive us if we suggest that Artifact’s Wild Thing—a tart, aromatic cider, crafted with 100 percent McIntosh apples—may very well make your heart sing. Tasting notes of honey, saffron, and stone fruit help this moderate 5.4 percent ABV crowd-pleaser pair well with hiking boots if the kickass woods-inspired can design is any added incentive.
[$36,12-pack; artifactcider.com]Get it
18. Highpoint Cider Transplant
Another release we love from the Jackson Hole-based Perez brothers behind Highpoint, this traditional semi-dry New England-style cider is smooth, slightly cloudy, low-sugar, and made with delectable Rocky Mountain apples. Perfect for a New Hampshire expat heading West for even higher hills and thrills.
[$13, 4-pack; vinoshipper.com]Get it
19. Artifact Cider Project By Any Other Name
They call it a “brunch and beach cider.” We call it the perfect rosé alternative after a long day of Zoom meetings. What’s behind the pretty pink hue of this dry, delicate creation hiding behind the most floral can design we’ve ever seen? A smattering of fermented blackcurrants for color, fruit and a hint of floral notes.
[$42,12-pack; artifactcider.com]Get it
20. Haykin Family Cider Niedzwetzkyana
This Aurora, Colorado cidery only uses apples and yeast without any additional sugar or flavorings—so brace yourself for bold, unadulterated apple taste in each sip. Boasting a mighty 8.1 percent ABV, this unique drink is made with the Niedzwetzkyana apple, an ancient fruit traced back to Central Asia (home of the Forbidden Fruit). The fabled varietal lends the cider a unique crimson color and a remarkable round taste with a hint of tart cherries.
[$16 per bottle; haykinfamilycider.com]Get it
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