“One night in the Quill and Tankard’s common room, after his second tankard of fearsomely strong cider, Pate had boasted that he would not always be a novice.” -A Feast for Crows 

Cider is a popular favorite here at the Inn. Bursting with the tasty goodness of fermented apples, it is often the drink of choice on any given night. Paired with some boar or ribs or fish, it’s lovely. Cider also comes in a wild variety of flavor combinations, so odds are good that there’s a version for everyone.

 In the Books:

  • sweet cider
  • strong cider
  • hot cider

Readers’ Suggested Ciders:

  • Magners (IRE)
  • Keppler’s (IRE)
  • Strongbow (UK)
  • Farnum Hill (NH)
  • Julian Hard Cider (CA)
  • Cattle Dog (OH)
  • Old Rosie’s Cloudy Scrumpy (UK)
  • Koppaberg (SWE)

Ciders We Love:

  • Woodchuck– all of them!
  • Angry Orchard– especially the crisp and the ginger
  • Scrumpy’s– All varieties, but their seasonal specials are delicious
  • Sarasola– A Basque cider, very barnyardy in flavors, with hints of hay and mild sweet sileage, in a good way. Rustic and quirky, this is what we imagine they would drink on the Wall.
  • Luk Rose– clearly the cider of Highgarden, this is a delicate, pink cider that is a little too easy to drink.

Homebrew Cider Recipes:

Over at Game of Brews


31 thoughts on “Cider”

  1. Honey says:

    My friend recently started making her own cider from wild yeast, and it’s tasty. You should give it a go.

    1. Needs Mead says:

      Oh man, we’d love to. It’s on the docket for this fall, when New England cider is in season, but we might not be able to wait that long… :)

  2. Richard says:

    If you’re looking for a cider that’s “fearsomely strong”, Keppler’s Irish fits the bill. I don’t recall having seen it in the States, but it is exported from Ireland (one of the local supermarket chains has started carrying it here in Thailand). It’s a good bit drier than most of the American cider’s I’ve sampled and at 6%, a half-litre can does the work of two beers.

  3. Mandizzle says:

    Another good cider is Strongbow. Definitely preferred over Woodchuck (in my opinion). For a pear cider – Ace makes a delightful one.


  4. Shannon M says:

    Don’t forget Magners/Bulmers. Deliciously refreshing and fairly strong tasting IMO.

  5. Alice C. says:

    The best hard cider I’ve had is a brand called Farnum Hill. It’s made in Lebanon NH and is available at good beer and wine stores in the Boston area. I don’t know if it’s available in other parts of the country but I know you’re from Boston so you should give it a try! It comes in semi-dry, dry, and extra dry varieties and they’re all delicious. I bought it at Downtown Liquors in Davis Sq, but I’ve seen it other places too. It’s expensive but totally worth it.

    1. Needs Mead says:

      Had it, and love it. Added to the list- thanks for the nudge! ;)

  6. Peter says:

    I don’t know how widely it’s available, but there’s a peculiar style of cider mostly made in Quebec that involves allowing the apples to freeze before pressing them. La Face Cachee de la Pomme seems to be the most widely known, and it’s really something else. Strong, thick, and quite decadent.

    1. Needs Mead says:

      Oh my. That sounds utterly wonderful! We’ll definitely keep an active eye out for it, and thanks for the recommendation! :D

    2. Leaf says:

      Cidre de Glace from Domaine Lafrance is also a very known and most available brand. ^^ I know you can easily find it in Europe, so I’m pretty sure it’s possible to find it in USA too.

  7. Basel Gill says:

    McKenzie’s is a good cider. Their black cherry flavor is excellent.

  8. galeforcewind says:

    I’ve recently come across a cider made in California outside of San Diego. I got it at a gastropub here in Hollywood. It’s called Julian Hard Cider after the city their based in. It’s clean, crisp and refreshing. Not cloying or overly sweet as most commercial American ciders are. Worth the try if you get the chance –

    1. Needs Mead says:

      I did get the chance! I saw this today, and on your recommendation, tried it. Very good, with a taste that goes on and on, somehow very fruity while still being relatively dry. Thanks so much for the tip! :)

  9. Kara says:

    You must also try Cattle Dog cider from Barrel Run Crossing in Rootstown, Ohio. It’s a dry cider they developed to appeal to beer drinkers and other folks who don’t care for sweet cider. It’s AMAZING.

  10. Tom says:

    If you can get hold of it, Old Rosie is excellent; the closest thing to a proper scrumpy that’s widely available. Aspall’s cider is also very good. I’m not sure if either are available outside the UK, mind.

  11. War says:

    Has anyone tried Rekorderlig? It’s a Swedish cider I came across while in London (I enjoyed their Orange-Ginger cider). I don’t think I’ll be able to get again anytime soon.

    I did manage to get a hold of a Scrumpy’s Cider once or twice at least.

    1. Rich P says:

      Rekorderlig is awesomeness!

      1. Jess says:

        Rekorderlig is excellent. Not too expensive and comes in so many flavours, so can be used for any Game of Thrones setting :)

  12. FabMax says:

    I’d like to endorse Magners, too. It’s not too strong and still tastes like apples. The pear variant OTOH tastes too chemically flavored.

    Bulmers (from Hereford, GB) is almost the same as Magners. Given the companies’ history, the Brits probably use the same recipe, but stretch it with a lot of water, so it lacks the stronger flavor of the Irish stuff.

    The various Koppaberg (Swedish) ciders are really good, even the red berry version (which from other producers usually taste like cough syrup or those cheap sugary juices). Especially their pear cider is very nice.

    1. Needs Mead says:

      Thanks for the suggestions! I hadn’t heard of the Swedish varieties yet, so I’ll keep an eye out, should I ever get the chance to try one.

  13. Spike Spohn says:

    The best cider I’ve found on the East Coast is Crispin. They make a wide variety of large bottles typically named after the type of apple used to create the brew (my favorite being Honey Crisp – least favorite being Lansdowne which tastes like cider mixed with beer due to some of the ingredients stolen from beer making). They make a great dry cider (comes in a can) but I prefer the original 4 pack (bottles) for every day drinking. It’s best served over ice in a pint glass…and add a touch of mead to cut the dryness and add just a bit of sweet (it’s called “bee sting” for us Maryland rennaissance faire geeks). Highly recommend it if you can find it…that’s it’s one drawback, not so easy to find.

    1. Needs Mead says:

      I’ve definitely got a bottle of the Honey Crisp in the fridge. I love the variety of their ciders, even if a few are too quirky for me! :)

  14. Michael says:

    My favorite has to be George Hornsby’s Hard Cider. The Crisp Apple is delicious.

  15. cindy says:

    J.K. Scrumpy’s Organic is the best ever.

    1. Chelsea M-C says:

      I LOVE Scrumpy’s! :D

  16. Rich says:

    I did find Keppler’s in the States the last time I was home, but it was at a “World Foods” store. They were supplied out of DC, so if you’re in the Metro area I suspect enough legwork could locate some. I’ve also found Magners here in Thailand and while both the apple and pear are nice, I’d still take a Keppler’s over them. For pear ciders, I just found Crumpton’s. It’s bit strong (5%) but still quite sweet. I also tried Crumpton’s Dry (5% apple), the flavor itself was alright, but it had something of an unpleasant aftertaste (at least until you get halfway through a can).

  17. Bex says:

    Magners/Bulmers/Strongbow – that ain’t cider that’s artificial alcopops….that’s like calling Stella Artois beer Koppaberg/Rekorderlig their still alcopops not cider but at least they taste nice!!!!

    Now Stowford Press or Old Rosie that’s a proper cider…. Or even better some cripple cock scrumpy.

  18. Erik Bjelke says:

    My local awesome kitchen gadget/cooking class store serves some alcohol during their cooking classes, and after taking several classes I’ve come across something truly wonderful: Fox Barrel Pear Cider. I highly recommend checking this out if you like pears at all!

  19. Jen Gartner says:

    I just moved to the DC area and discovered the most amazing cider: Bold Rock. It’s from a Virginia cidery and used to be available only in Virginia, but now it’s available at certain stores in DC and Maryland. SO GOOD!

    1. Chelsea M-C says:

      Ooh, I will have to keep an eye out for that! Thanks for the tip! :)

  20. Noah Cohen says:

    Interesting cider recommendations, I’ll have to get my hands on Scrumpy’s and Sarasola. I am a fan of Crispin and Fox Barrel. Savannah is another good, dry cider brand from South Africa but I have not been able to find a place selling it in the states yet, still searching.

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