Well, it's officially fall. I mean, it’s officially been fall for a little while according to the calendar, but Mother Nature still thought it was summer until a few weeks ago. So now that it’s finally cooling off (at least where we are), we’re ready for cider! Cider is available year-round, but for me it’s really a seasonal thing. Drinking cider in July would be like putting up your Christmas tree in July—blasphemy!

My problem with most ciders? They’re too sweet. Overwhelmingly sweet with tons of sugar and artificial flavors. Some taste less like an apple and more like a Jolly Rancher. That may be fine for some people (who like Jolly Ranchers), but not me.

I stumbled upon two ciders that were pleasantly dry and tart, and very enjoyable.

1. Angry Orchard Strawman: Strawman is a very unique, strong, and delicious cider. Brewed using traditional British and French farmhouse technique, Strawman uses apple juice from bittersweet apples, which are then aged in oak barrels, yielding an earthy, dry-tart, bubbly beverage. It’s just slightly sweet and has a very natural apple taste and even hints of Sauvignon Blanc. I would drink this as a dessert beverage, after dinner, as it is a strong cider that’s meant to be savored.

2. Crispin Brut: This extra-dry cider is lower in alcohol and can be enjoyed anytime, with a sour-tart apple flavor that’s very dry and clean (almost like champagne). Plus, so many bubbles! Just looking at it, it could easily be mistaken for champagne with that level of carbonation. It has a big apple flavor and a medium sweetness that’s not overpowering. If you’re not a fan of the super dry ciders, try Crispin Original; it’s a little sweeter, but also enjoyable, and easy to find.