Hard cider is crazy-delicious and refreshing. It also often feels like a lighter, easier-to-sip carbonated adult beverage than, say, beer. But with so many crisp options to choose from on the market, which ones are the best hard ciders out there for your palate...and your health?
Ciders taste so deliciously fruity and sweet because there's a fair amount of sugar in each glass (or bottle...depending on your cider of choice). “Because it’s fermented with fruits like apples, peaches, and pears, all of which are naturally high in sugar, cider actually has a much higher sugar content overall than beer, which is fermented with lower-sugar grains,” explains dietitian Samantha Rigoli, RD, founder of Healthy to the Core in New York City.
Cider also tends to have a lower alcohol content than beer. They tend to be anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 percent alcohol to 7 to 10 percent alcohol, says Rigoli.
Ready to sit back with a glass in hand? These picks all hit the sweet spot.
1. Strongbow Cider Gold Apple
Several different apple varieties make up this Strongbow cider, striking a balance between sweet and sour. For the best taste, the cider maker recommends serving yours over ice.
Per serving: 172 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 19 g carbs, 19 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 5.0% ABV
2. Stella Artois Cidre
This one blends three types of apples to create a crisp and refreshing finish. The gluten-free drink is a European style cider that features a subtle sweetness coupled with a crisp dryness.
Per serving: 180 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 22 g carbs, 17 g sugar, 70 mg sodium, <1 g protein; 4.5% ABV
3. Angry Orchard Green Apple Hard Cider
A fan favorite among all cider brands, Angry Orchard is a hard cider go-to. This one has a fresh, tart green apple taste with hints of melon and kiwi.
Per serving: 210 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 31 g carbs, 21 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 5.0% ABV
4. Austin Eastciders Ruby Red Grapefruit Cider
This tart cider is made with heirloom apples, American dessert apples, and Ruby Red grapefruit grown in the Texas Rio Grande valley.
Per serving: 160 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 17 g carbs, 13 g sugar, 20 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 5.0% ABV
5. Magners Original Irish Cider
This is the oldest Irish cider on the market (it's been around since 1935, to be exact), according to the Magners website, so I think it's safe to say it deserves its spot on this list of the best hard apple ciders for weight loss. The cider is made with 17 kinds of apples and fermented for two years, so it's guaranteed to be tasty.
Per serving: 150 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 14 g carbs, 12 g sugar, 35 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 4.5% ABV
6. Samuel Smith's Organic Cider
This medium dry cider is actually registered with The Vegan Society in the United Kingdom, according to its website, making it 100 percent safe for vegans and vegetarians alike. You'll probably recognize every ingredient including water, organic apple concentrate, and yeast, among a few others.
Per serving: 178 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 2.9 g carbs, 2.6 g sugar, 200 mg sodium, 0.5 g protein, 5.0% ABV
7. Crispin Original Cider
With a mix of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Washington apples, this cider's crisp and refreshing, with a "lingering green apple flavor," according to its website. But you may also taste the subtle citrus aroma and a hint of lemongrass.
Per serving: 150 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 15 g carbs, 10 g sugar, 30 mg sodium, 0 g protein, 5.0% ABV
8. 2 Towns Pacific Pineapple Unfiltered Cider
This cider's billed as being "juicy and tropical," thanks to the pineapple, per its website. Perfect for enjoying on a hammock.
Per serving: 170 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 12 g carbs, 12 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 0 g protein, 5.0% ABV
9. Ciderboys First Press
This cider's described as "sweet, crisp, and tart," but also, look at how pretty that packaging is. You'll taste the apple, of course, but you may also catch the subtle hints of honey and cinnamon, too.
Per serving: 180 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 24 g carbs, 24 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 5.0% ABV
10. Woodchuck Amber Hard Cider
This cider features a sweet red apple taste and golden hue. First mixed up in a two-car garage back in 1991, Woodchuck claims their hard cider is "accidentally gluten-free."
Per serving: 160 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 13 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 5.5% ABV
11. Austin Eastciders Hopped
This cider is "sure to bring the craft beer and cider world together," according to the product description. (Finally!) To make it, the cider maker blended bittersweet and culinary apples with hopped tea to give the cider a smooth and floral finish.
Per serving: 149 cals, 0 g fat, 13 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 30 mg sodium, 2 g protein, 5% ABV
12. Ace Apple Hard Cider
This cider is less fizzy and has more of an apple juice taste, so it's perfect for people who don't like too many bubbles. The brand recommends pairing this particular cider with pork and seafood dishes.
Per serving: 160 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 9 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 10 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 5% ABV
13. Stem Pear Apple Cider
Made with fresh-pressed apple juice and pear juice from Bartlett pears, this semi-dry pear cider features a tart finish. But its best feature is probably that it's available year-round, meaning you can have one as you cozy up to a bonfire in the winter.
Per serving: 161.9 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 10.6 g carbs, 10.6 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 5.3% ABV
14. Golden State Hamaica Cider
This Hamaica cider is worth every sip. It's made with fresh-pressed apple juice, fermented champagne yeast, and natural hibiscus flowers that give it its floral aroma and pink hue.
Per serving: 190 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 13 g carbs, 1o g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 5.8% ABV
15. City Roots Cider Spritz
Think of this as a cross between a dry hard cider and a hard seltzer. To make this light cider, the fresh-pressed apple juice was fermented with a wine yeast. The drink also features hints of pineapple, melon and citrus.
Per serving: 97 cal, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 13 g carbs, 1 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 0 g protein; 4.3% ABV
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