This Is What Makes Angry Orchard Different Than Other Hard Ciders - Exclusive

Over the last decade, hard cider has become an increasingly popular choice for drinkers looking for a crisp and refreshing pick, but there are still some skeptics (via SevenFiftyDaily). One of the most common misconceptions is that hard cider is too sweet to be able to enjoy, especially on a hot summer's day. But Ryan Burk, head cidermaker for Angry Orchard Hard Cider, is working to change that perspective.

As of 2019, the U.S. boasted more than 900 cideries producing hard cider, with Angry Orchard leading in sales, per Statista. And while all cidermakers are similar in the way they utilize apples and make cider out of them, each cidery has its own unique creative twists.

To find out more about what makes Angry Orchard different from other hard ciders, we went straight to the source. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Burk shared exactly what makes Angry Orchard so refreshing and why it continues to stand out from the rest.

For Angry Orchard, it's all about balance

First thing's first: The language around how cider is described is still in the works. Burk serves on the board of the American Cider Association and noted that, as an industry, it's hard to define solid categories within the world of cider. But, there are a few terms that are frequently used in the cidermaking world, and that includes dry to sweet, along with tannin and acid.

According to Burk, the secret to a successful Angry Orchard hard cider is all about the balance between those key qualities. The cidery's flagship offering, Crisp Apple, is considered to be on the sweeter side of the spectrum. And while people may run from the idea that a cider is sweet, it doesn't mean you're drinking something overwhelming or syrupy by any means. The key is to counteract that sweetness with tannin — which gives weight. As Home Cider Making describes, tannins are naturally occurring compounds in apples and other fruit that leave you with that dry, astringent feeling on the tongue. Burk then adds some acidity to create a well-rounded drink like Crisp Apple.

Whether it's a national release or a smaller batch made at Angry Orchard's cidery in Walden, New York, the company experiments to get to that sweet spot. Burk explained that it'd be rare to have a cider that's very high in acid and sweetness without any tannin to balance it out. "We're always moving those levers to make something balanced that is a complete thought," he said. "That approach, I think, is the hallmark of what we do across the entire spectrum of our ciders."

Browse Angry Orchard's website for a complete list of its ciders and keep an eye out for new releases.