Ahead of the current boom in the market for hard cider, Kensington's Philadelphia Brewing Company expanded its product line two years ago by creating Commonwealth Ciders. In addition to being gluten free, the company's ciders are all natural - free of any artificial colors, preservatives or colors. Commonwealth does not add any additional sweeteners, relying only on the apples' natural sugars. The traditional dry fermentation technique, incorporating some non-traditional ingredients like ginger, make for some unique and must-try ciders.
Traditional Dry (5.0% ABV): This cider is very dry - reminiscent of a brut champagne. Very light-bodied and crisp, this is the complete opposite of many dense, syrupy-sweet ciders that dominate the mainstream market. The tartness comes in at the finish in the form of tangy Granny Smith flavors. Enjoy this refreshing cider while grilling.
Gregarious Ginger (5.0% ABV): Just like the Traditional Dry, the Gregarious Ginger is light, crisp and dry. The lack of sweetness allows the ginger to shine, leaving an almost peppery burn on the tongue and in the throat. As a ginger (and spice) lover, this is right up my alley. The strong ginger flavor pairs well with Asian cuisine. I plan on enjoying it alongside some sushi.
Razzberet Tart (5.0% ABV): The most striking quality of this cider is the bright red color. More tart than the other two ciders, there is also a pleasant raspberry aroma and flavor. The mix of fruitiness and tartness will complement dark chocolate.
All three varieties are available in Philadelphia and the suburbs; distribution began this summer into New Jersey. You can even find the ciders on tap in town; check here for updates. Or stop by for a brewery tour and tasting (2440 Frankford Ave., 215-427-2739) on Saturdays between noon and 3 p.m. Commonwealth will also be sampling at the Pour The Core hard cider festival at the Navy Yard on Saturday, Sept. 27.
DISCLOSURE: While Philadelphia Brewing Company provided product samples for review at no cost, such compensation did not influence this review. The author, publisher and their family members are not employees, officers, directors or agents of Philadelphia Brewing Company or its respective parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities, advertising and promotional agencies. Click here for the Gluten Free Philly complete Disclosure.