For most people, hard cider isn’t their first drink of choice. That beverage is beer. My goal with this hard cider recipe was to make a cider that would appeal to the beer drinker. While hard cider is fermented like beer, it’s not generally brewed. Brewing involves the use of hot water like making a tea or for beer, a wort.
For my Cider Lite hard cider recipe, I am adding a key beer making ingredient and technique: brewing hops.
Many hopped hard cider recipes only use the dry hop process, which is adding hops directly into the hard cider during the aging process. Again, if I’m making an Adjunct style cider, I want my adjunct to shine. How do we get the most out of our hops with this hard cider recipe? We follow the beer model, which means we are going to start with brewing them.
For my Cider Lite Hard Cider recipe, I’m trying to mimic a famous beer (any guesses) so I’m using galena hops. Galena hops are often used as a bittering hop but can be used for aroma as well. It is known to provide fruity and citrus aromas. Also, this hard cider recipe is all juice based, no apple pressing required. I used juice for a long time before I expanded into using fresh pressed apples. You will note that I included pomegranate juice, which will bring some tannins and is intended to mimic heirloom apples. Feel free to press your own apples and pears but I wanted to mix it up a little and show you can make a great craft hard cider from juice as well.
For this hard cider recipe, I create two tea bags with galena hops. The first I boil with a small amount of water. The second tea bag, I steep and dry hop. The goal is to mimic the beer brewing process where hops are added at the start, middle, and end of the boiling process. This process releases the bitters, body, and aroma of the hops. Instead of just dry hopping my hard cider to add aromas, I want to add the bitters and body too. Using the beer brewing method allows us to make that happen.
Want to make your own Cider Lite hard cider? Go check out the hard cider recipe in the recipe section. Need more information about how to make or enjoy hard cider? You can always get a copy of my book. It’s reasonably priced. Or, leave me a comment and I’ll responded.