THE DRINK – A drink fit for all of Iowa’s seasons

By Eleni Upah

Hard ciders have been increasing in popularity. The light, crisp flavor makes it a popular choice for people who don’t typically like the taste of beer, but it’s also a fresh summer favorite for regular beer drinkers.

And when it comes to pouring the flavors of Iowa into your glass, apples are an obvious choice. With more than 40 apple orchards throughout the state, Iowa is well stocked on that fruit front.

A cider is a fermented drink made from unfiltered apple juice, and it can range from 1.2 to 8.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). The hard cider at the Iowa-based Sutliff Cider Company has a 6.25 percent ABV and is known fondly as “the champagne of hard ciders” thanks to its lively carbonation and dry flavor. The drink is fermented in French oak barrels to give it a hint of oak flavoring, and it serves as a very versatile beverage to complement many meals.

The Sutliff tap is used often at el Bait Shop, where the Iowa-based company is the favorite among hard ciders.

The Sutliff tap is used often at el Bait Shop, where the Iowa-based company is the favorite among hard ciders.

Sutliff is one of four hard ciders served at el Bait Shop, which carries two apple and two pear varieties. Sutliff is the only local brand, and owner Jeff Bruning said el Bait Shop is Sutliff’s biggest account in the metro. The Sutliff cider has been sold in the downtown restaurant for about six years, and it has been the top-selling cider beer for the last five years, according to Bruning.

He added that the industry is “going bonkers” with demand as new ciders are created seemingly every day.

Known for its crisp and refreshing twist on the average beer, hard ciders are the perfect drink for transitioning from spring into summer because they pair well with fresh fruits and just about anything you can throw on a grill.

Sutliff hard cider can also be found on draft at the University Library Café, located in the Drake neighborhood, and Rock Bottom, located in West Des Moines. RELISH

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Categories: The Drink

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