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What is Cider?

By: Dark Rock Brewing Team

Home brew beer and wine-making experts
A glass of cider in front of a cider jug, next to some apples.

Ah, cider! Is there anything more refreshing than a chilled glass of this fruity beverage on a sunny afternoon? But what exactly is cider? If you’ve ever pondered this question, grab your favourite glass, and let’s dive into the world of cider.

A Brief History of Cider

Cider, at its core, has been intertwined with human history for centuries. It’s more than just a drink; it’s a reflection of our agricultural and social evolution.

Origins in Ancient Times

Believe it or not, references to fermented apple beverages can be found in ancient texts. Remember the apple that tempted Eve in biblical lore? Some believe it might have been the allure of a fermented apple beverage.

Cider in the Middle Ages

Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and cider became a staple in many European regions, particularly in areas where grapes weren’t easily grown. Ever heard the saying “When life gives you apples, make cider”?

Modern Cider Production

Today, cider has experienced a resurgence, becoming a trendy drink in many bars and pubs. Craft cideries are popping up everywhere, and it’s not just about apples anymore. Varieties infused with berries, pears, and even hops are stealing the show.

The Cider-Making Process

Like a fine wine or a craft beer, making cider is both an art and a science.

Selecting the Apples

It all starts with the apples. Did you know there are specific apple varieties used just for cider? The choice of apple can determine the flavour, sweetness, and acidity of the final product.

Pressing and Fermentation

Once the apples are picked, they’re crushed and pressed to extract the juice. This juice is then left to ferment. It’s like letting nature do its thing. Wild yeasts can be used, or cider makers might add a cultivated yeast.

Maturation and Bottling

After fermentation, the cider is left to mature, which can take anywhere from a few months to several years. It’s then filtered, carbonated if necessary, and bottled. Ready for you to enjoy!

Types of Ciders

Cider is a broad term, and under its umbrella, you’ll find a plethora of varieties.

Hard Cider vs. Soft Cider

Ever been confused about these terms? Simply put, hard cider is fermented and contains alcohol, while soft cider is essentially apple juice.

Regional Varieties

From the crisp English ciders to the sweeter American versions, and not forgetting the traditional Spanish ‘sidra’, each region has its unique take on this age-old beverage.

The Health Benefits of Cider

Besides being delightful, did you know cider has some potential health benefits too?

Nutritional Value

Cider contains vitamins and minerals, predominantly potassium. It’s also a source of antioxidants, thanks to the apples.

Antioxidants and Other Benefits

Research has shown that cider, like wine, contains polyphenolic compounds that can be beneficial for heart health. But remember, moderation is key!

Pairing Cider with Food

Best Food Combinations

Cider is incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairing. From spicy dishes to creamy cheeses, there’s a cider for every palate. Fancy a slice of apple pie with that cider?


So, the next time you sip on that glass of cider, take a moment to appreciate its rich history, the artistry in its making, and the diverse world of flavours it represents. Cheers to the humble apple and the delightful beverage it gifts us!


What’s the difference between apple juice and cider?

Apple juice is a clear, pasteurised product, while soft cider is raw apple juice that hasn’t been filtered to remove pulp and sediment.

Can I make cider at home?

Absolutely! With the right equipment and a bit of patience, you can brew your own batch.

Is all cider alcoholic?

No, only hard cider is. Soft cider is non-alcoholic.

How long does cider last once opened?

Like most beverages, it’s best consumed within a few days of opening to enjoy its freshness.

Are there gluten-free ciders?

Most ciders are naturally gluten-free, but always check the label to be sure!

Experience the Art of Cider-Making with Dark Rock Brewing

Now that you’re an expert on all things cider, wouldn’t you love to try your hand at crafting this divine beverage? At Dark Rock Brewing, we provide everything you need to unleash your inner brewmaster. We offer a wide range of brewing equipment, high-quality ingredients, and fantastic cider recipes for anyone who wants to make cider from scratch. We also have an extensive range of cider kits which are made with an apple concentrate for quick and easy homebrewing. Trust us, there’s nothing more satisfying than sipping on a glass of cider made from your very own hands. Elevate your love for cider from mere appreciation to a full-blown passion. Discover our cider range today and make your cider dreams a reality! Cheers!

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