Is cider beer or ale?

Answered by Charles Pate

is not classified as beer or because it does not contain or hops, which are essential ingredients in beer production. The main similarity between cider and beer is that both undergo fermentation using yeast. However, this does not make them the same thing.

As a sommelier and brewer, I can tell you that the fermentation process in cider production is quite different from that of beer. While beer is typically fermented using specific strains of yeast, cider often utilizes or yeast strains, commonly referred to as “cider yeasts.” These specialized yeasts contribute to the unique flavors and characteristics of cider.

When it comes to ingredients, beer is primarily made from malted grains such as barley, which provides fermentable sugars for the yeast to convert into . Hops are also added to beer to impart bitterness, flavor, and aroma. On the other hand, cider is made from the fermented of apples or pears, without the inclusion of malt or hops.

In terms of taste, cider and beer can offer distinct flavor profiles. Cider typically exhibits fruity and refreshing notes, often with a balance between sweetness and acidity. On the other hand, beer can vary greatly in taste, depending on the style and ingredients used. It can range from light and crisp to rich and malty, with a wide spectrum of flavors including hop bitterness, roasted malt character, and yeast-derived esters.

From a historical perspective, cider has a long and rich tradition, especially in regions like England and France, where it has been enjoyed for centuries. In fact, cider was once a more popular than beer in many parts of the world. It was often consumed as a safer alternative to , as the fermentation process helped to purify the liquid.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in craft cider, with producers experimenting with various apple varieties, fermentation techniques, and aging processes. This has led to a greater appreciation for the complexities and nuances that cider can offer.

While both cider and beer undergo fermentation using yeast, they are distinct beverages with different ingredients, flavors, and historical backgrounds. Cider is not classified as beer or ale due to the absence of malt and hops in its production. So, the next time you're enjoying a glass of cider, you can appreciate its unique qualities as a fermented apple or pear beverage, separate from the world of beer.