What is Hopped Cider?

Hopped cider is a drink that combines the sweet and tart flavours of apple cider with the floral and often citrusy notes of hops. This combination results in a beverage that is both familiar and novel, appealing to a wide range of palates.

Written by

martin harris

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  • Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

DefinitionA unique craft beverage blending cider with hops
Brewing ProcessFocus on the use of hops and its impact on flavour
Flavour ProfileDiverse tastes from different hops varieties
Comparison with Traditional CiderHighlighting the distinct differences
PopularityUnderstanding the growing trend among consumers
Food PairingsSuggestions for complementary foods

What are Hops?

Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus. Brewers commonly use them in brewing beer and, increasingly, in making cider. Hops contribute a range of flavours and aromas to beverages, from floral and fruity to bitter and earthy. 

Hops have different compounds that make them versatile. Alpha acids give bitterness, while essential oils add aroma and flavour. Hops also improve the shelf life of the drinks they are used in because of their natural preservative qualities.

How is Hopped Cider made?

Hopped cider combines cider-making with craft beer methods by adding hops during brewing. After the apple juice undergoes fermentation, the key difference maker comes into play: the introduction of hops. Unlike regular cider, which relies solely on the flavours of fermented apples, hopped cider benefits from this unique addition. 

Brewers often use the method of “dry hopping”, where they add hops post-fermentation. Dry hopping cider allows the beverage to absorb the aromatic qualities of the hops without significantly increasing its bitterness. 

The process gives the cider various flavours and smells. These include flowers, citrus, pine, and even some spice. The specific flavours and smells depend on the hops used. 

Every batch can have a different smell and taste, making it a varied and interesting experience. This method makes hopped cider different by giving a rich and varied taste experience that is different from regular cider.

The Rise in Popularity

Consumers are increasingly seeking unique, flavour-rich beverages, and hopped cider fits this niche perfectly. Its versatility and unique taste have made it popular with both cider enthusiasts and newcomers

Food and Hopped Cider Pairing

A hopped cider with citrusy notes pairs wonderfully with seafood, enhancing the dish’s natural flavours. If the cider has more earthy or piney hop characteristics, it can complement the richness of roasted or grilled meats, such as pork or chicken. 

Cider hops can balance rich dishes such as cheese plates or creamy pasta. They have a slight bitterness, which makes cider a great choice for pairing. For dessert, a hopped cider with floral notes can elevate the flavours in fruit-based desserts like apple crumble or peach cobbler.