Discovering the Best Hard Cider Brands of the Year

If you’re eagerly anticipating the discovery of the best hard cider available today, you’ve arrived at the perfect destination. Our comprehensive taste test has unveiled the top contenders that shine in a competitive market. So, pour yourself a glass, and let’s embark on a journey to explore the flavors that are setting the standard for hard cider this year.

The Rise of Hard Cider

Hard cider has surged in popularity over recent years, emerging as a sophisticated alternative to beer and wine. This shift can be attributed to several factors, including the rise of gluten-free and less alcoholic options, the growing interest in craft beverages, and the appeal of its refreshing and diverse flavors. 

Made from fermented apple juice, hard ciders offer a variety of flavors ranging from sweet to dry, each brand bringing its unique twist to the classic beverage. This growth in popularity means more choices, so how do you know which ciders are worth your time? We’ve conducted a thorough taste test to find out.

Criteria for Our Taste Test

Selecting the best hard cider involves more than just sipping a few random bottles. Our evaluation was methodical, focusing on several key aspects. We blind-tasted each cider, eliminating any bias, and scored them based on the following criteria:

  • Flavor Profile: How well does the cider balance sweetness, acidity, and bitterness?
  • Aroma: Is the aroma appealing, and does it align with the taste?
  • Aftertaste: How pleasant is the aftertaste?
  • Uniqueness: Does the cider offer something unique or memorable?
  • Packaging: While not a taste factor, attractive packaging can enhance the overall experience. It can create a positive first impression, reflect the brand’s personality, and even influence the perceived taste of the cider. A well-designed label and bottle can make the drinking experience more enjoyable and memorable.

Each cider was scored based on these criteria, ensuring a fair and comprehensive assessment.

Top Hard Cider Brands of the Year

1. Gold Apple Orchard Bliss

Our top-ranked brand, Gold Apple Orchard Bliss, is a well-established player in the challenging cider market. It stood out for its impeccable sweetness and tartiness balance, making it a crowd favorite. Its robust apple flavor and hints of cinnamon and vanilla offer a perfect drink for any occasion.

2. Silver Stream Craft Cider

Silver Stream’s entry is a testament to the craft of cider making. Its crisp taste and slightly spicy undertone were highly praised, making it ideal for those who prefer a sharper flavor profile.

3. Bronze Barrel Select

Bronze Barrel Select is noted for its rich, oaky undertones, which come from a unique aging process in oak barrels. This traditional method adds a complexity that is savored by those who appreciate a more traditional cider, making it a standout choice for connoisseurs.

Analyzing the Flavor Profiles

Each top brand brings something unique to the table. Gold Apple Orchard Bliss is renowned for its smooth, fruity taste that appeals to a broad audience. It offers a balanced blend of sweetness and tartness, with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla for added complexity. 

On the other hand, Silver Stream Craft Cider caters to those who enjoy a more pronounced, almost wine-like complexity. It has a crisp taste with a slightly spicy undertone. Bronze Barrel Select satisfies traditionalists with its deep, resonant oak-infused flavors, offering a rich and full-bodied experience.

Why These Brands Excelled

The common thread among these top brands is their commitment to quality and the ability to create a distinctive flavor profile that stands out. Their success is not just in crafting a beverage but in creating an experience that resonates with their audience. These brands understand that hard cider isn’t just about tasting apples but offering a palette of flavors that can be as nuanced and sophisticated as any wine or craft beer.

The Growing Trend of Hard Cider

As more consumers embrace gluten-free and less alcoholic options, hard cider is experiencing a golden era. It’s no longer just a fall seasonal favorite but a year-round delight. This trend is not just a passing fad, but a reflection of a shift in consumer preferences towards healthier and more diverse beverage options. 

With its versatility and broad appeal, hard cider deserves shelf space alongside traditional beers and wines.

Champlain Orchards

Champlain Orchards produces exquisite hard cider and exemplifies environmental stewardship and community involvement. They manage a sustainable orchard, using organic farming practices and minimizing waste. They also actively engage with the local community, hosting events and supporting local initiatives. 

This approach enhances their product quality and supports a more significant cause, connecting with consumers on a deeper level.


Having explored the best hard cider brands of the year, it’s clear that this beverage category offers much to savor and enjoy. Whether you’re a seasoned cider lover or new to this type of drink, there’s no better time to explore the diverse flavors available.

What’s your go-to hard cider? We’re eager to hear your thoughts and preferences in the comments below. Your shared experiences can be a guiding light for others in their quest to discover new brands and flavors. Feel free to share this post with friends who might also be on the lookout for top-quality cider. 

If you’re interested in learning more about why you should try Champlain Orchards’ offerings, consider visiting their website or orchard. The world of hard cider is rich and rewarding—dive in and taste it for yourself!

Read More:

Hard Cider Tasting Room

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As one of the oldest continuously operating orchards in Vermont, we take pride in growing over 175 varieties of apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, and berries.

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