Distinct Spanish Cider Makes Its Way to US
It's not as sweet as the US stuff, but it's got a growing popularity
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2017 2:08 PM CDT
Elena Garcia, a biologist from Spain, eats a tiny apple just plucked from a tree in her orchard near the village of Pero Moniz, north of Lisbon in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

(Newser) – In western Spain, cider has been made for centuries along the Atlantic coast to be tart, flat, cloudy with sediment, and "a bit funky tasting"—in high contrast to the sweeter varieties released in the small but growing craft cider market in the US, per NPR. In fact Spanish cider is so distinct it's the butt of a joke: "We say, 'Oh yeah, this cider went bad, so we just put it into green bottles and called it Spanish,'" says cider maker Nathaniel West of Reverend Nat's Hard Cider in Portland, Ore. And yet, in perhaps the same way some people come to love the funkiest-smelling cheeses, these traditional Spanish ciders so loved in their homeland are finding a growing audience in the US. A post at eturbonews.com breaks down the differences between the Spanish cider, or sidra, and US cider. The top characteristic of sidra: Its "dominant wild yeast character."

Over the past decade, the craft cider culture has grown quickly in the US, notes NPR. This coincides with a growing sour beer market, which is helping Americans develop a taste for Spain's "sidra natural," says Tim Prendergast, a cider maker in Washington, DC. "Even people who don't necessarily like sour beers now know that sourness is something that can be intentional and doesn't necessarily mean, 'Oh, this cider has gone bad,'" he says. (The Washington Post has a closer look at his new cidery, called Anxo.) Portland company Ciders of Spain was founded by a guy who wrinkled his nose when he first tasted it in Europe, but fell in love just a few sips later. He says his reaction is common. People are at first "horrified by this sour, horse-blanket-smelling stuff," he says, and then, almost suddenly, they crave it. (One Spanish company is experimenting with blue wine.)

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