With the rites of spring starting to appear all around us and the smell of grills wafting through the air, the search for the perfect spring and summer beverage is officially on. But when you're tired of Bud Light, Smirnoff Ice, and Arbor Mist (which tends to be consumed like grownup Kool-Aid), what refreshing drink should your reach for? The answer is simple: hard cider. Joe Heron of Minneapolis' Crispin Cider--and probably the most knowledgeable cider expert in the Twin Cities, shared five of his favorites for spring imbibing.
1. Crispin Honey Crisp: Heron talks about his refreshing cider with the love of a father discussing his child's Little League game. Served over ice--all Crispin ciders are to be poured on ice--his own recipe is gluten free and provides a very solid flavor, not the weak, airy body that comes with some dry ciders. Fun fact: They don't actually make it with Honeycrisp apples.
3. Samuel Smith's organic: This USDA-certified organic English cidery has been producing the stuff since the mid-1700s, although it didn't cross the pond until 1978. Served in a generous 18.7-ounce bottle, Samuel Smith's organic cider offers a tart-sweet flavor that even staunch beer-lovers will easily find appealing.
4. Eric Bordelet Poiré Authentique: Although you might consider France to be the source of fancy-schmancy red wine, popular winemaker Eric Bordelet's Poiré, a very pale, 4% ABV cider, has gained accolades for its pear flavors and champagne bubbles. Its very stylish bottle and look will also class up any picnic or backyard dinner party for a relatively low cost.
5. Etienne Dupont Normandie Cidre: Heron admits this dry French cider is "Not for everyday drinking," but for refreshing spring drinking, it hits the spot. Another sparkling cider, this 5.5% ABV bottle's French-language label and tart taste belie its $10-$12 price tag.