55% Of People Think This Is The Best Hard Cider Brand- Exclusive Survey

Sometimes you want a beer, and sometimes you want something a little lighter. Lighter and crisper on the palate, hard cider makes a great alternative choice when you want to reach for a cold, bottled adult beverage. And it's not just a great alternative for flavor, either. Hard ciders, which are generally naturally gluten-free, allow those with gluten intolerances who wouldn't be able to have a beer to enjoy a fizzy adult beverage (per Beyond Celiac).

Both tend to run at an ABV of about 4.5% to 7% (per Webstrauntstore & Alcohol). Drier ciders tend to be higher on the alcohol scale as the yeast eats up the natural apple sugars. In rare cases, these ciders can contain as much as 10 or even 12% ABV but you're unlikely to find any of those high-alcohol variants in most popular hard cider brands.

In the last ten or so years, we've seen a bloom of interest in American hard cider, a drink largely forgotten since its once great popularity in the pre-industrial era (per The Local Palate). In the colonial era, for instance, the average American drank a staggering 36 gallons of cider a year. Some regions, like New England where Puritans eschewed harder drinks, consumed as much as 54 gallons a person (per Atlas Obscura). Cider is gaining traction again, so we wanted to know which brand our readers preferred.

What's the best cider on shelves today?

If you're looking to give hard cider a try, or just want to know what's the best one to weed out the fluff at the grocery or liquor store, we asked nearly 600 Mashed readers how they felt about five popular brands of hard cider and here's what they had to say on the matter. Citizen Cider was by far the least popular, garnering less than 8% of the vote. Downeast Cider, which despite its name referring to the Maine coast is not a regional brand, came in second to last with 11% of the vote. Austin Eastciders just edged it out with 12% of the vote, and Golden State Cider came in a very far second with about 13.5% of the vote.

Taking the win by a positively massive landslide of nearly 250 votes is popular cider brand Angry Orchard. Angry Orchard is currently available in eight flavors, including crisp apple, high alcohol hardcore dark cherry apple, pineapple, and passionfruit infused tropical, peach mango, rosé, green apple, strawberry, and classic crisp unfiltered. The brand's original crisp apple flavor received a silver medal from Tastings in 2018.