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Cider vs Beer

BY: Editors | Nov 17, 2017

Ah, cider or beer? The age-old question. Though most people know that these drinks are not the same, not everyone knows why that is. Learn all about the differences and similarities, so that the next time there's a cider vs beer battle, you can confidently choose a side and imbibe (not that it's stopped you before).


What Is Beer?

Perhaps no one in history have ever asked this question out loud, but we're here to give you an answer. Beer is an alcoholic beverage made by brewing and fermenting malted barley. Although there are many different types of beers, there are only two actual classifications: lager and ale. Beer is a lager if it's brewed in low temperature and an ale if it's brewed in high temperature. Also, the two styles feature different strains of yeast, the microrganisms responsible for fermentation. Beers are typically low in sugar (thanks to the yeast, which convert sugars into alcohol), although some brewers add some back into their brews to balance out the sourness from fermentation. And finally, beer comes in a wide range of shades, from pale to dark, which depends on the malt.

What Is Cider?

Cider, though it looks similar to beer, is quite different. It's method actually resembles the process of making wine, since it's produced by fermenting apple juice, instead of malted barley. The main ingredient is also what makes it gluten free. For types, cider comes in a variety of flavors but is classified as either dry or in a range of sweetness.

Because of this process, cider can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It's appearance depends on the filter process and the color can range from light yellow to orange to brown. Due to the fermentation process, cider is not sugar free.


Though both drinks have their differences, beer and cider also have some characteristics in common. For one, they typically have similar calorie counts and alcoholic content levels. Believe it or not, both cider and beer also have notable health benefits. Due to fruit being the primary ingredient in cider, it's bursting with antioxidants. Though they may be small, beer can also have some health benefits. If drank in moderation, alcohol is said to help to increase good cholesterol.

Cider vs Beer: Quick Table




Primary Ingredient


Malted barley


Hard cider and non-alcoholic cider, dry and semi sweet

Ales, lagers, stouts, porters, malts, etc.

Sugar content


Small to balance out sourness

Health benefits


Protein, OK in moderation

Alcohol content

Typically ranges from 1.2% by 8.5% alcohol by volume

Typically ranges from 4%-6% alcohol by volume