Hard cider: a treat in the fall, a staple year round

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(NAPS)—When the weather cools, a favorite pastime emerges: apple picking. Today, apples are used for more than just a delicious apple pie and one use in particular is catching the eyes of drinkers—hard cider. Hard cider is officially experiencing a renaissance here in the states, growing more than 400 percent since 2010, and is the perfect refreshment as the cooler months near.

(NAPS)—When the weather cools, a favorite pastime emerges: apple picking. Today, apples are used for more than just a delicious apple pie and one use in particular is catching the eyes of drinkers—hard cider. Hard cider is officially experiencing a renaissance here in the states, growing more than 400 percent since 2010, and is the perfect refreshment as the cooler months near.

In the fall or anytime of the year, there is no better time to celebrate one of America’s oldest yet most beloved drinks. In fact, as of last September, Angry Orchard launched a new cider style, Stone Dry, to help take your celebrations—from the barbecue season to your first tailgate—up a notch.

Stone Dry is an American interpretation of a traditional English draft cider, revealing a refreshing, slightly puckering, dry finish. Another fall favorite and a must-try is Angry Orchard Crisp Apple. With its sweet apple flavor and refreshing balanced taste, this cider style is hard to resist.

Despite the beverage’s recent resurgence, many people are still unaware that hard cider is one of our country’s oldest and most beloved beverages. Here are a few quick facts as to why hard cider is America’s new favorite beverage:

1.   The Pilgrims drank hard cider. So did President John Adams, who comes in third for “longest-lived U.S. president” (behind Reagan and Ford), and he enjoyed a tankard of hard cider every morning with breakfast. You can draw your own conclusions.

2.   There are more than 7,500 different varieties of apples in the world, so if you had the recommended “apple a day,” it’d take 20 years to try them all. Cider makers carefully choose apple varieties as each can contribute very different flavor profiles.

3.   Hard cider is naturally gluten free, so even those with gluten allergies can enjoy.

4.   While cider can be enjoyed solo, it’s also an excellent beverage to pair with a variety of foods such as barbecue. Bold dishes call for a beverage of equal strength. A fruit-forward cider can complement and calm the smoky and spicy notes you find in barbecue cuisine.

A favorite recipe sure to wow any crowd is Pork Sausage with Angry Orchard Grilled Onions and Mustard. Cooking the sausage in the cider infuses the meat with apple flavor and brings a subtle sweetness to make this dish pop.

Pork Sausage with Angry Orchard Grilled Onions and Mustard

   6premade pork sausages

3bottles Angry Orchard

Crisp Apple Hard Cider

10garlic cloves

2large yellow onions

2tablespoons whole grain mustard

2tablespoons Dijon mustard

2tablespoons dry mustard, rehydrated in 2 tablespoons Angry Orchard

Soft hot dog or hoagie buns

Heat a grill to medium high. Pour 3 bottles Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider into a deep roasting pan and add 10 garlic cloves and 2 large yellow onions sliced into ½-inch rings. Bring to a low boil right on the grill, and cook until the onions soften, about 15 minutes. Add the sausages and enough water to cover, then bring the liquid to a simmer and poach until the sausages are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the sausages and onions to the grill grate and cook just until grill marked, about 4 minutes. Mix the whole grain, Dijon and dry mustards in a separate bowl. Serve the sausages on soft buns with the grilled onions, poached garlic and cider mustard.

For additional Angry Orchard facts and recipes, visit www.angry orchard.com.