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Apples are not the only Fruit

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Craft cider has steadily been establishing itself as a solid alternative to craft beer in Vietnam. After all, why not, when the local population has a preferred palate for lighter, fruity flavours in general, rather than the bold and robust IPAs which have spearheaded the craft beer revolution to date.

Cider has long been traditionally regarded as an autumn drink, most notably because of the connection to the apple harvest, but actually cider’s crisp mouthfeel, light body, sessionable ABV, moderate carbonation and fruit backbone are characteristics of a classic summer drink, or in a climate such as Vietnam, possibly an all-year-round tipple.

Increasingly the youth in Vietnam are growing to know Cider as Strongbow, and for the writer that was probably also the case, albeit in a different generation in a different location, as a kid back in the UK in the 1980s when Strongbow and Bulmer’s Woodpecker dominated the cider shelves at the local off-licence. However, the craft cider industry has exploded in recent years, offering a variety of styles and flavours which traditional ciders never did, or perhaps would never dare to do. Vietnam’s cider revolution is much more recent but no less stirring.

As consumers increasingly look for locally grown and locally made food and drink, ciders with local fruit added can definitely scratch that itch. From the south of Vietnam, Bazan Brewing have created ciders with hibiscus and táo mèo (rose apples), Saigon Cider have combined apples with both ginger and chili, and Dalat Cider have experimented with pineapple and berries. From the northern cider houses, Hanoi Cider Co. have launched everything from mango to yuzu cider, B’ross have brought us a range of ciders including butterfly pea and grapefruit blossom, meanwhile for those looking for an “honest” apple cider, without the additional fireworks, we would suggest looking no further than Slav Cider’s Apple Cider.

Many articles written about Cider in Vietnam refer to Cider as “rượu” (liquor) or engage in lengthy explanations about it being essentially a fermented apple juice. This is often the hallmark of a new, or less-established product, whereby we seek for an explanation in the ingredients and the process. Beer on the other hand is less subject to being treated as a “fermented beverage combining water, malts (and its adjuncts), hops and yeast”; nor is whisky detailed as “a fermented cereal grain mash drink”. Beer is beer, Whisky is whisky.

Cider requires no translation, just a better understanding. Cider is fun and fruity, it’s refreshing and crisp, it’s anything from tart to sweet, it’s a drink for anybody, it’s a drink for everybody… it’s quite possibly the drink for future generations of Vietnam!

To learn more about Vietnam’s blossoming craft cider scene come down to CiderFest #4 at The Bottle Shop on Saturday 11 November and taste more than 20 different craft ciders from 5 of Vietnam’s leading craft cider houses.

📍 The Bottle Shop, 25b Ngõ 12 Đặng Thai Mai, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội
📅 Saturday 11 November
🕰 14h00 – 23h30

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