The craft cider industry is booming - most orchards can’t produce enough cider apples to meet the current demand! As a result, most cider makers in the states use the same apples that you can find at your local market. By blending apples with different characteristics, cideries craft juice with the sweetness, acidity and tannins required to produce a great hard cider. We love going to local farmer's markets and finding new apples to experiment with in our Hard Cider Kit - nothing is more thrilling than finding a new varietal that could elevate our next batch.
Apples have three main traits - sweetness, acidity and tannins. Gala and McIntosh, two sweet crisp varieties, are used for aroma and juice, tart options like Winesap and Braeburn are used for acidity and bitter crab apples like Kingston Black and Yarlington Mill are used for their tannins.
These traits are used to categorize apples into one of four categories:
Sweets - high in sugar, but low in acidity and tannins
Bittersweets - high in sugar and tannins, but low in acidity
Sharps - high in acidity, but low in sugar and tannins
Bittersharps - high in acidity and tannins, but low in sugar
Play around and experiment with blending using these different categories of apples or ask about blending apples for cider at your local orchard or farmer's market - there is always someone making their own hard cider who is happy to share their knowledge. They know best what apples grow especially well in your area and which are the best for making hard cider.