Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Cider House Rules

For those who cannot consume gluten, the selection of gluten-free beers is rather limited. On the other hand, the availability of safe ciders is much more widespread. Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples. Alcohol content for most ciders - in the mid-single digits - is less than for wines, which are fermented from grapes.

Traditional ciders, like those from Farnum Hill Ciders, are made from cider apples, while others are made from varieties like Granny Smith (Original Sin Hard Cider), English Bittersweet (Woodpecker English Cider), or both (Cider Jack Hard Cider). Ace Cider, Fox Barrel and Wyder's Cider styles come in such flavors as black currant, pear and raspberry.

Perhaps the most widely available domestic ciders, both in bottles and on draft, are those from Woodchuck Draft Cider, out of Vermont. Strongbow, which is the most popular cider in the United Kingdom, is available as an import in the United States, as is Ireland's Magners Irish Cider.

Since restaurants, beer distributors and liquor stores in the Delaware Valley frequently rotate their offerings, it's best to call ahead to see what might be available. Restaurants such as The Ugly American, Devil's Den and Memphis Taproom in Philadelphia often have gluten-free ciders on their beverage lists.
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