The beer: Leprechaun Premium Hard Cider Golden Cider
Brewery: Collaboration between Leprechaun Cider Co. and Vermont Hard Cider Co.
Style: Hard cider, made from the fermented juice of cider apples or pears. Styles range from sweet or semisweet to bone dry and very tart. Some are flavored with additional fruits.
The pitch: Crisp, clean and delicious, this semisweet-style cider is made with golden apples and pears. It's sweet but not cloying, with a hint of tartness for balance. Brewed with champagne yeasts, it has a sparkling moscato quality. This refreshing, super drinkable alternative to beer is ideal for the hot stretch of summer ahead. It's also a good drink for those adhering to gluten-free diets.
Fun fact: Four-year-old Leprechaun -- a small-production, family-owned cider company based in Houston -- recently teamed with Vermont Hard Cider Co. for the relaunch and reformulation of its cider line. Originally made in Houston, then in Oregon, the cider is now produced and bottled at VHCC's new facility in Vermont, using cider apples from an acclaimed neighboring growing region, east of Lake Champlain. Packaged in 12-ounce bottles for the first time, it's now more affordable than the previous 22-ounce bombers. Fans of drier and tarter cider styles can check out Leprechaun's European-style Dry Cider and sweet-tart Pomegranate Cider.
Pair it: It would be a great match for spicy dishes, fried foods and smoky cheeses. It's also good as a base for cocktails. Leprechaun Cider Co. suggests combining 10 muddled mint leaves, 1 ounce lemon juice, 2 ounces whiskey, 1/2 ounce simple syrup and 3 ounces Leprechaun Golden Cider.
Get some: Sold only in Texas, in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles for $8.99. Available at Central Market; Market Street; Spec's; Trader Joe's; Total Wine; Whole Foods Market; World Market; select Kroger stores; the Bottle Shop; Greenville Stop; the Fresh Market on Gaston; Las Colinas Beverages; Lone Star Taps & Caps in The Colony; Midway Mart in Denton; Choice Beverage in McKinney; and Kegs & Barrels in Plano.
Tina Danze is a freelance writer. Follow here on Twitter @Tina Danze.