Cider Tasting


By Molly Freeman

Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Recently, some friends of mine took me on an unofficial bar crawl–which is to say that we went to all the bars around their Brooklyn neighborhood that we hadn’t been to before. Generally I stick to wine or whiskey when I go out for drinks with friends, but in the spirit of trying new things I decided I’d taste different kinds of hard cider on the bar crawl, specifically a different type or brand at each location.

Photo by Molly Freeman.

The first bar we went to was the entirely-outdoor Nowadays in Ridgewood, Queens, where I tried a can of Downeast’s Original Blend. Since this was the first cider of the night, I didn’t have much to compare it to (I’d only had cider once or twice before), but my friends said it was the perfect blend of smooth and bubbly–which I have since found to be true.

At the second bar, Onderdonk & Sons, I went for a Crispin Browns Lane, which is much dryer than typical hard ciders. Although it may be a classic English cider, this was my least favorite of the night. With my tendency to dislike dry wines and prefer the sweet kinds, my reaction shouldn’t surprise me. However, it was enjoyable enough and could surely be a staple for those that like dry ciders.

For the third bar, we ventured to JUNE, which sits under a 99 cent store sign in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Here, I tried a Magners Irish Cider, which came highly recommended by my friends. It’s my understanding that Magners is pretty standard for cider drinkers and widely available like Woodchuck. As a sweeter staple, Magners is good.

Next, my friends and I ventured to the tongue-and-cheek dive bar Boobie Trap, also in Bushwick, where I tried a Harpoon Craft Cider. Again, there seemed to be nothing too special about Harpoon, although it was a bit on the bubbly side for my taste. This cider was far out-shined by the gaudy decorations of Boobie Trap.

Our last stop in our unofficial bar crawl was at my friends’ neighborhood favorite, Old Stanley’s. This bar didn’t have anything exciting in the way of cider, so I ordered a Magners Pear, which I enjoyed so much more than their original cider. The pear was just subtle enough to make this drink stand out from all the other ciders I had tried and I would certainly order it again (and again).

All in all, I’ve found that I really enjoy hard cider and now I have plenty of information about which kinds of ciders I prefer (sweet, but not too bubbly). And, if I had to pick a favorite from that night, I’d easily say: Downeast. I’ve even had their cider again on two occasions since the night of the unofficial bar crawl.