Over the years, cider has evolved from its original tradition, of being simply fermented apple juice, to new styles and a continual deliverance of experimental blends. Like its counterpart, craft beer, the arrival of autumn signals the release of special seasonal offerings to the ever-changing cider landscape.
One of the latest to hit Japan is Australian import Rhubarbarella from Derwent Valley Cider in Victoria. It’s a limited release Imperial Apple and Rhubarb cider coming in with an ABV of 8%. This very popular drink combines fruity apple with rhubarb sour and a touch of vanilla to create something that’s reminiscent of Turkish delight.
For those with less exotic tastes, there are also vintage-styled ciders like Gold Rush #8 and Pomona Rolling Season Blend (2018), both from Oliver’s Fine Cider out of Herefordshire, England. You can find them at Tokyo shops that carry cider or online at Japan Cider Market (japancidermarket.com).
On the domestic side, seasonal ciders are also becoming part of the yearly line-up. One such cidermaker is VinVie in Southern Nagano, whose offerings include hopped, spiced and vermut ciders. Their ciders can be ordered online at vinvie.jp (Japanese only).
Lee Reeve is an international cider consultant and the publisher of inCiderJapan, Asia’s first and only bilingual magazine dedicated to all things cider. Lee often presents at international cider events about Japan’s cider history, growing industry and current scene. He also imports and distributes world-class ciders in Japan.