Side-By-Side Tasting: Hills Cider Hop Edition 2016 and 2017

Side-By-Side Tasting: Hills Cider Hop Edition 2016 and 2017

When my good friend Sam, Queensland rep for Hills Cider, asked me if I wanted a couple bottles of their Hop Edition to try and possibly write an article about them, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I’m already a big fan of the cidery, and have a very special place in my heart for their Apple & Ginger and Apple & Pomegranate offerings, so a chance to have a vertical tasting of the 2016 Hop Edition and the 2017 mid-year release was met with an affirmative.

I will admit, I did have a few reservations. I’m a beer guy, after all, and my knowledge on cider is pretty limited. I had the preconceived notion that both ciders were going to taste the same to my inexperienced palate. Fortunately, the hopping on these two limited edition ciders was more than sufficient to create a discernible difference.

Here’s the lowdown on how the two stack up as well as my thoughts.


Hills Cider 2016 Hop Edition

Hills Cider 2017 Mid-Year Hop Edition


8.0% ABV

8.0% ABV


Summer, Cascade, Citra, Galaxy, Centennial

Idaho 7, El Dorado, Riwaka


2016 is quite citrusy on the nose. A lot of lemon and grapefruit character coming through, with a very faint apple sweetness hiding amongst it.

There are a lot more apple aromas in this one. They seem to take more of a center stage. I detect the slightest bit of pineapple, and a smell akin to black tea.

First Sip

Holy Dinah, where is all this rock melon flavour coming from!? There’s melons; melons everywhere! I’m also getting a nice lychee sweetness that is tasting wonderful.

There’s a whole ton of ripe pineapple flavour coming through on the 2017 version. Pink grapefruit is another flavour that’s very prominent. The whole thing starts ‘juicy’ but ends with a very dry and tannic finish.

Who’s this for?

I feel this will appeal to the ‘sweet cider’ drinkers. With a much more mellow and subdued style of sweetness, 2016 is a bit more of an approachable version. The melon and lychee flavours that these hops give off make for an easy-going drink.

This cider will hold some allure to the more discerning drinker. The sharp citrusy flavours along with a sudden dry ending will challenge the palates of cider and beer drinkers alike. It’s a grown-ups cider.

My Pick


Both ciders presented beautifully, but I must tip my hat to the latest iteration for its complexity. Don’t take my word for it, though. Both ciders are pouring at Tippler’s Tap down in Southbank or you can pick them up from your closest good beer or cider bottle shop!

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