Living near the nation's capital has a few perks, including themed drinking festivals throughout the year. After tasting some delicious ciders at DC's "Rock the Core" cider festival, we decided to hunt through our grocery stores to find the best hard ciders. Here our rankings, from worst to best, of those hard ciders.

#12: Spiked Seltzer Company

Spiked Seltzer Company didn't impress us. There wasn't much flavoring, and the alcohol had a bitter aftertaste. Honestly, it just tasted like carbonated water with a weird flavor. It didn't help that we're not fans of regular seltzer, and alcohol didn't improve it. Like, at all. Seltzer lovers might feel differently, but we poured our tastes of this drink into the bushes "on accident."

#11 Bite Hard Cider

Boonville Cider House’s Bite Hard apple cider was alright, but it had a bit too much bite for our tastes. This cider was very dry and quite tart, and made our mouths pucker slightly. Overall it was decent, but a little bit more sugar would’ve helped this “medicine” go down.

#10 Red's Apple Ale

You can’t go wrong with a classic Red’s Apple Ale. Although we disliked the promotion of a national chain when we could have been trying more locally-brewed beers, Red’s didn’t disappoint. Red’s wasn’t terribly sweet and had a yeasty, beer-like finish, but was overall pretty good. This is definitely a cider we’d pull from the fridge at a house party, but it paled in comparison with other ales (see what I did there? Sorry, not sorry). 

#9 Winchester Cider Works

Winchester Cider Works was the first cider we truly enjoyed. Besides just being really good, it had everything we could want in a good cider: light carbonation, strong apple taste, and a hint of sweetness. It wasn't the best of the night, but it "works" for us (get used to the puns now; they'll only get worse the more hard cider we drink).

#8 Jack's Hard Cider

Jack's Hard Cider was fairly good, but it had more of a hoppy finish that overpowered its (quite faint to begin with) apple flavor. This cider was pretty crisp, and easy on the tastebuds––but we weren't huge fans of the strong beer-like IPA notes it has.

#7 Woodchuck Hard Cider

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He wouldn't, because chugging this cider is way better than chucking wood. Woodchuck's Granny Smith cider was like biting into a nice, cold, Granny Smith apple. It had a pleasant light bubbly taste without leaving a sour apple flavor.

#6 Crispin Pacific Pear

Not gonna lie, we sniffed Crispin's Pacific Pear hard cider and it smelled exactly like apple-scented hand soap. Which honestly, wasn't a bad thing. Like its namesake, this hard cider was crisp and refreshing, with light carbonation and no tartness. We thought the lightly sweetened pear flavor was a nice change from apple, and overall gave this cider a two thumbs up.

#5 Rekorderlig


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Rekorderlig may be difficult to say, but it was super easy to drink. The Wild Berry Cider we tried was absolutely delicious, and such a pretty color too! This cider really stood out, with it’s sweet taste and strong flavor full of berries and apples. Rekorderlig is the first cider where we wanted a second pour. Also, it happened to be my mom’s favorite cider—guess mother really does know best.

#4 Wyndridge Farms

If you're looking for a step up from regular cider, check out Wyndridge Farm's IPA-infused hard cider. It blew our minds––we were not expecting this IPA and hard cider blend to have such a sweet, delicious apple taste. It was the kind of hard cider you indulge in after a long, hard day; not too sweet, not too tart, it hit the spot perfectly.

#3 StrongBow 

Remember when everybody drank carton juice during snack time? Well, that's what Strongbow taste like. Imagine our surprise when we took a sip of Strongbow's apple cider, and were transported back to kindergarten. This hard cider tastes exactly like alcoholic apple juice (without the hard burn of alcohol). 

#2 California Cider Company

California Cider Company's ace pear cider reminded us of our childhood. It tasted like a jolly rancher, and had us going back for a refill (or three). We don't prefer overly sweet ciders, but this one took the cake. We might have gone back more than three times, but we can't remember at this point. We even pulled an empty bottle out of the trashcan to snap a pic to remember this cider by. 

#1 Bold Rock Hard Cider

Bold Rock Hard Cider is made in locally in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. With a wide variety of fruit flavored ciders, you can't go wrong. Bock Rock rocks the cider game. 10/10 for flavor, crispness, and aroma.

Tasting hard cider is harder than it seems. You have to constantly be cleansing your palate to give each cider a fair chance. These were our honest and semi-tipsy opinions for hard cider's found in our grocery stores and served up at festivals near DC.