Get your autumn on with some hard cider


Hard cider

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If you're a little tired of the same old, same old when it comes to your alcoholic beverage, why not try a little something different? And since fall is just aroud the corner, we're thinking something made with maybe, oh, some apples, perhaps.

Of course, we're talking hard cider. And the good news is, there's a bunch of options out there. Big players like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors have gotten into the cider game, touting their Stella Artois Cidre and Crispin Cider products, respectively.

Made from pressing apples into juice and then fermenting the juice into alcohol, hard cider is naturally gluten-free. And at usually less than 9% alcohol by volume, cider won’t leave you with the morning-after headaches associated with drinkinghard liquor.

Luckily for cider connoisseurs, the health benefits associated with drinking red wine may extend into this category as well. Researchers in the United Kingdom found that hard cider serves up as many antioxidants as a glass of wine. This can likely be traced back to the fact that you get more nutrients when eating the whole fruit — stems, seeds, skins and all — than when you just eat the flesh.

Aside from providing some antioxidants, cider doesn’t have much nutritional value. Three components stand out on hard cider nutrition labels — calories, carbohydrates and sugars. Most hard ciders have upwards of 150 calories per 12 ounces and some, like Woodchuck Amber, contain as many as 200 calories per serving.

Sugar content varies wildly among ciders as well — Strongbow, a drier cider, contains 9 grams of sugar per 12 ounces, while Angry Orchard, produced by Sam Adams, has a whopping 24 grams of sugar per serving. Make sure you carefully check labels before buying. And if you don’t like sweet wines, chances are you won’t like a sweet cider either.

If you're looking for a healthier, slim-downed cider, don't search for too long. Cider producers aren’t yet chomping at the bit to offer options with less sugar and fewer calories. So far, Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob Ultra Light Cider is the main light offering out there.