Beer is one of the most widely available alcohols in the world. With millions of breweries around the world, making unique brews such as craft and draught beers, it is the third most drunk beverage in the world. Beer is a universal favorite. Cider is only slightly less popular. Made from fermented apple juice, cider is a favorite in many Commonwealth countries, such as Australia and Canada. Similar to beer, different countries have produced their own unique methods of producing cider. However, where beer is hugely loved, cider may require a more acquired palate. The question is: which one suits you best?
Beer is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks. In fact, the oldest archaeological evidence of the existence of beer is 13,000 years old! Spread throughout Europe by Germanic and Celtic tribes, beer was originally made of fruits, wheat and even nuts. However, in the 1500’s, laws were passed across in modern day Germany, restricting beer to be made of water and barley, creating the beer we know today. In 1912, brown bottles began to be used, after it was discovered that the dark color of the glass kept beer stable for longer.
The process of making beer, known as brewing, requires many tedious steps. From mashing the malt, to filtering liquids, this process can take up to 8 weeks. The standard ingredients of beer are usually water, malted barley or maize, a brewers yeast and a flavoring agent such as hops, a bitter flower. These ingredients can vary from place to place, especially in traditional brewing regions such as Germany, The Czech Republic and the United Kingdom.
What are the various types of beer?
Ale: Beer made with a warmer method of fermentation, making it taste much fruiter than regular beer.
Mild Ale: Malty tasting ale that is dark in color.
Pale Ale: Beer that uses a top-fermenting yeast
Stout and Porter: Beer made using roasting malts or barley, and brewed with a slower fermenting yeast.
Lambic: Beer that is fermented naturally using wild yeasts. This beer is from Belgium.
Lager: Beer that is fermented in cooler temperatures.
Craft Beer: Beer that is brewed using older, traditional methods.
Draught Beer: Beer that is stored in a cask or keg.
Is beer for me?
Beer has many different flavors depending on the brewer, region of origin and type. Often described as nutty, sweet, bready or malty, beer is for those who prefer a more muted, milder flavour. This drink doesn’t really have any “in your face” flavors. It’s soft on the palate and great with fries, dips and any other bar foods!
Cider is another drink that has extremely ancient origins. Originating in Britain, the oldest recording of cider is in a Roman text from 55 BCE. Originally, English cider was much drier and higher in alcohol than the cider we know today, as a result of the evolution of methods used, preferred tastes and types of apples that have become more widely available. Today, ciders are lower in tannin and much more acidic.
In contrast to beer, ciders have a much quicker production process, however, a much longer fermentation process is required . Apples are ground down into a pulp, after which the juice is separated and put aside for fermentation. After fermenting for around 3 months, the cider is blended and then bottled, ready for distribution. There are only two types of cider: Brut, a drier, crisper cider, and Doux, a sweeter cider.
Cider-like drinks made from other fruits are also very popular. Of these, Perry, a cider made from pears, is a beloved favorite. Cyser, another popular cider-like beverage, is made of apples and honey, making it quite similar to mead. Berry flavored ciders are also very popular.
Is cider for me?
If you prefer a much punchier, fruity flavor in comparison to beer, then cider is for you. This drink comes in a variety of flavors, enabling you to switch up your preferences. This crisp drink is also a lot lighter than beer, and will not give you the same heavy feeling that you may get from beer. Overall, it makes for a refreshingly fruit drink that you will love if you find yourself looking towards lighter, tangier beverages.