Nine delicious Irish craft ciders you need to try
Cider dwells between the worlds of wine and beer. Like wine, cider is made by fermenting a fruit's juice, but is more similar to beer's lower alcohol range between 4pc and 8pc.
The apples grown for cider differ from eating apples by their palate tingling bitterness and astringency and, after milling, they release generously more juice when pressed; the pulp giving about 80pc of its weight in juice.
Irish Craft Ciders are artisanal and hand-made using Irish grown apples. They contain no artificial sweeteners, sulphates, additives, colourings or preservatives. The result is a dry to medium-dry cider, best drunk well-chilled without ice. Gluten-free because grain is not used in the creation of true craft cider. Beer or wine? Try cider.
1) Cockagee Pure Irish Medium Dry 2012 Keeved Cider, Slane 5pc
Delicately sparkling from the natural keeving art of fermentation. Off-dry, smoothly textured and very fresh and refined.
€10.99 (750ml) in Dublin at Drinkstore, Stoneybatter; Sweeney's, Glasnevin; Redmond's, Ranelagh and direct from the cidery in case quantity: cockagee.ie
2) Craigies Irish Cider's Dalliance 2012, Ballyhook 5.8pc
Chalk-dry with a fruity apple core and an elegant finish.
€4.50-€4.85 (375ml) at independent off-licences nationwide including O'Brien's, Next Door and Carryout Groups; McCambridge's, Galway; Bradley's, Cork and in Dublin: Jus de Vine; Redmond's; Donnybrook Fair and McHugh's.
3) Dan Kelly's Cider, Drogheda 4.5pc
Lovely fresh mill of juicy apple flesh and red skins with a honeyed ripeness.
€3.99-€4.25 (500ml) widely available at independent off-licences nationwide and in Dublin at Molloy's Liquor Stores citywide; Redmond's; Baggot Street Wines; McHugh's; Martin's and Sweeney's.
4) Little Island Irish Craft Cider, Cork 5.1pc
Very dry. Flavours of Granny Smith apple skins, crisp acidity and a steely coolness.
€3.49 (500ml) at O'Donovan's Off Licences, Cork citywide; nationwide at O'Brien's Fine Wines; Dunnes; SuperValu; Centra; Carry Out; Next Door and many independent off-licences.
5) LL Double Fermented Real Cider, Medium, David Llewellyn, Lusk 6pc
Off-dry and fuller-bodied with authentic earthy windfall green and red apple flavours.
€6.59-€6.99 (750ml) at Bradley's, Cork. In Dublin: Sweeney's, Glasnevin; Wines on the Green/Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dawson Street; Drinkstore, Stoneybatter and directly from the orchard in Lusk.
6) Longueville House Medium-Dry Cider, Mallow 5pc
Off-dry with refreshing tart and tangy apple flavours with green apple skins on the finish.
€3.99 (500ml) at Celtic Wine & Whiskey Shop, Dawson Street, Dublin and Bradley's Off-licence, Cork.
7) MacIvor's Traditional Dry Cider, Co. Armagh 5.6pc
Very dry with a fresh bite of acidity and a tangy finish of freshly peeled crunchy green apples.
€3.49 (500ml) at independent off-licences nationwide; O'Brien's; O'Donovan's; selected SuperValu, Spar, Eurospar and Mace; Next Door and Carry Out.
8) Madden's Mellow Armagh Cider, Armagh Cider Company 4.5pc
Attractive off-dry and juicy with a red apple skin finish. Balanced fruitiness and refreshing acidity.
€3.49-€3.99 (500ml) at independent off-licences nationwide
9) Orpen's Medium Dry 2012 Irish Craft Cider 5.3pc Dublin
Dry and crisp with freshly milled apple flavours. Elegant and balanced. To cider what lager is to beer.
€2.69 (330ml) nationwide at selected Tesco, Supervalu and Dunnes and most independent off-licences.
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