Whenever you are appreciating your cider it might be handy to know that there are two main approaches to making cider: NEW WORLD & TRADITIONAL. Each approach uses different techniques to produce specific flavour, clarity and texture that can usually be easily identified by the cider drinker.
THE NEW WORLD APPROACH
New world cider can be considered the contemporary way of making ciders and the vast majority of Australian Ciders are made this way. According to Cider Australia, “the intention in making a new world cider (...) is to produce a drink that is clean, fresh and fruity”.
In this approach, cider makers aim for a cider that is fresh with crisp acidity (Hello, Perth Cider!), using culinary apples (check this post to learn more about culinary apples vs cider apples), preventing oxidation of the pulp or juice and fermenting cold in stainless-steel tanks.
The benefit of this approach is not just a fruitier cider, but a great market for juicing/eating apples that would have been discarded for not meeting the standards to hit the supermarket shelves (There are discussions being held on this for quite a while - if you’re curious: here’s 2010, 2013, 2016, 2017)
Some really great new world ciders are being produced in Australia, a few examples are funk cider (Western Australia), The Hills Cider Company (South Australia), Monkey Rock Winery & Cider (Western Australia).
Much like wine, this approach is influenced by the European ‘old world’ traditional techniques of making cider, originating in England and France. Ciders made this way aim for the mouthfeel experience, with fuller bodies and higher tannins.
In this approach, the ciders are made with cider specific fruit using techniques that involve deoxidation of the pulp and juice, and fermentation or maturation in oak barrel - similar to winemaking. This process results in a cider that is usually drier with more savoury notes, some fermentation-derived flavours (brett lovers, hello!) and grippy texture.
Cider apples are not as easy to come by. Nevertheless, there is a growing number of cideries in Australia producing cider the traditional way. You can check the guys from Willie Smiths (Tasmania) & Denmark Heritage Cider (Western Australia).
At the end of the day, we love ALL CIDERS and cherish every technique and flavour! There is certainly no right or wrong, better or worse - it is really a matter of taste and sometimes principles (to some).