Hey cider lovers of Japan, we’ve got some great news! We’ve partnered up with inCider Japan to offer a discount on all your cider orders. Just order from their website and type gfguidejapan in the coupon code box to get 10% off of your order.
Where’s Part Two?
Some followers asked us what happened to Part Two of “Gluten-Free Sake in Japan”? Honestly, we have been hesitant to write it. During the pandemic, we have been cautious with recommendations, particularly visiting bars or going outside of your neighborhood to shop and eat.
But we can wholeheartedly recommend Japan Cider Market without any hesitation because it’s delivered right to your door. Free shipping starts at ¥12,000 if you’re looking to really stock up.
Are all the ciders gluten free?
The ciders should all be gluten free, but if you have any doubts about if your order is celiac-friendly or if you’re having a hard time choosing, the owner, Lee, recommends that you email him.
How did inCider begin?
Lee, who is originally from the UK, says that cider, “the evil farmhouse high-octane version”, was his first alcoholic drink. He became a homebrewer in his teens and found cider more enjoyable and easier to brew than beer.
“When I eventually moved to Japan, after a few-years career as a craft beer consultant and writer, I decided to focus again on cider…published the first issue of inCiderJapan in 2017, and the rest is history.”
Now inCider is an online market and magazine. Lee also coordinates pop-up events and collaborates with local and international cider enthusiasts, so follow their Instagram to stay informed on future events.
How should I choose my first cider?
Lee has some recommendations: “For first timers, I usually recommend our Courtney’s Orchard Whimple if you want to try something more traditional, or the Premium from Batlow, if you want something more modern.” We’ll give you the scoop on the ciders we each ordered below.
And don’t give up if your first sip doesn’t suit you—there are many other ciders that might!
Lee says, “Point is to realize there is a huge range of tastes and you’ll probably not like them all. That’s okay. There’s one out there that you’ll love.”
Just browsing through their shop, they have a whole new line-up of ciders from the last time we ordered, so you won’t run out of new options to try. Also, using the “Easy Cider Shopping List” gives you an easy breakdown of each product.
What’s next for inCider?
Lee is working on a project called Global Cider Connect: “I’ve invited five cidermakers from around the world to come to Japan and collaborate with Japanese cidermakers. It was meant to take place last November, but couldn’t because of Covid-19. We’ve rescheduled for this year.”
The Ciders We Ordered
Since many of the ciders are award winning, it was hard to choose which ones to order. To get the most out of this tasting, we each ordered different ciders. Here is a bit about each one.
Courtney’s of Whimple- Orchard Cider: Coppery, medium-sweet, sulphite-free.
Recommended by Lee, and I second that! This was my husband’s favorite, and the taste was just the perfect sweetness for me. The description says, “The orchard is pollinated by their own bees, and their grass is maintained by sheep.” I pictured this while drinking it in my Tokyo living room.
Willie Smith’s- Traditional Cider: Cloudy, medium-dry, slightly carbonated.
This was the first organic-certified cidery in Tasmania. This cider uses 100% Tasmanian apples, and was super refreshing. “Traditional” is an accurate way to describe this cider: straightforward pleasant apple taste with a full body.
Hallet’s Real Cider: Clear, medium-sweet, sparkling.
This Welsh company prefers traditional, natural methods and notes that they’re certified GF. Their motto is “beautifully simple”, and I think that’s a fair description of this cider. It’s 100% juice, has no additives, and has a pleasant straightforward apple taste.
Pulp Culture Love: Sugar-free, carb-free, keto-friendly.
A healthy option, this one is wild fermented and includes live cultures. It is “infused with pineapple, pomegranate, damiana tea, maca root, and cordyceps,” which is a fungus used by healers in traditional Tibetan/Chinese medicine. This one would be best for people who like fruity, sour ciders, which I do. This one tasted a little like Kombucha to me.
101 Cider House- Cactus Rosé: Sugar-free, sour, fruity.
This cider includes probiotics, is made from 100% fresh-pressed juice, and is filled with antioxidants. This one is only for folks who like fruity, sour ciders. The bubbly pink color is perfect for hanami in sakura season.
Unfortunately, these look currently out of stock, but hopefully will be back soon!
Reverend Nat’s- Sacrilege Sour Cherry: Slightly tart, semi-dry.
This cider is made with Granny Smith apples, two kinds of cherry, pear juice, and a hint of spice. I personally loved this one—felt a bit like drinking mildly carbonated Lambrusco. I would order it again.
Reverend Nat’s- New Moon Mandarin: Tart, Semi-dry.
This one has an orange taste, with a hint of chamomile and spices. This one was really easy to drink, and I liked the combination of citrus and spice, so if that’s your jam, you will probably love this one.
This cider was everything I expected. It was very dry with that funky taste I love. The dry ciders are maybe not a great choice for someone who wants to try cider for the first time. But if you love strong, fermented flavors then this will be right up your alley. It was a nice treat to have this cider with some cheese and gf crackers after work.
101 Cider House- Frosted Tips: Dry, hints of mint and juniper
This was the one I was most excited about because it has such an interesting flavor combination. “Crafted from the frosted tips of American Spruce and Juniper trees and blended with the finest locally grown spearmint, this cider will fill you with deliciously fragrant forest flavours.” Yes please! For a cider that is flavored, it was still pleasantly dry and I could definitely taste the juniper. Recommended for anyone wanting to try something new and unique.
Willie Smith’s- Bone Dry Cider: Bone Dry
Though this cider is considered “bone dry” I felt it still had a crisp lightness to it. I really enjoyed how smooth it was to drink though the 7.2%ABV and tall can are definitely something to be ready to commit to. It had an overall nice taste and everything you’d want from a dry cider.
If you love cider too or want to branch out into the cider world head over to inCider’s Japan Cider Market site. Don’t forget to enter our code: gfguidejapan for 10% off your order!