YYSuds: National on 17th set to slake the thirst of the city’s cider lovers

Spring has sprung — and with sunnier skies and warmer weather on the way, what’s in my glass tends to get lighter as my sleeves get shorter. I’m an inveterate beer drinker, but I occasionally opt for ginger beer and cider when temperatures climb and I’m looking for straight-up refreshment.

I’m not alone, and the folks at National on 17th, knowledgeable purveyors of beverages that they are, also know this to be true — which is why, starting this Sunday, the beer-centric bar will be highlighting crisp and refreshing ciders with a weekly Cider Sessions promotion. Every Sunday, a featured craft cider brand will be on special for $6.50 a pint, starting with Calgary’s own Uncommon Cider this weekend. Lonetree ciders from the Okanagan will be in the spotlight next, followed by Dukes (made by Kelowna’s Tree Brewing) and Rock Creek ciders made by Big Rock.

Cider’s popularity is increasing, and in nearby B.C., the Okanagan is home to an increasing number of cideries. None of that detracts from craft beer’s continuing ascendency both here in Alberta and in the province next door (or across Canada and the U.S., for that matter), but Chris Joyce, GM at National on 17th says people are increasingly looking to cider — particularly dry ciders — as an alternative.

“Craft cider is one of the biggest growing markets right now. For the most part it is a gluten free option. It’s also no longer the sugary option of 15 years ago. So both beer drinkers and people that can’t drink beer can enjoy,” Joyce says.

Although it’s highlighting cider, the National hasn’t forsaken its beer-soaked roots: Sunday Cider Sessions will feature ticket giveaways for the Calgary International Beerfest and the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival.

Jason van Rassel has been writing about craft beer since 2006, when he started a beer blog at the Calgary Herald, where he covered crime and justice for 15 years. Jason left newspapers in 2016, but he continues to chronicle Alberta’s craft beer scene as a contributor to theYYScene, The Daily Beer and Drink With Me. He is a member of the North American Guild of Beer Writers. You can find Jason on Twitter and Untappd.