Like grapes, apples do not just make for a healthy snack-a delicious beverage also stems from these multicolored hanging fruits. For some, hard cider was once as good as gold. Back when our country was first being established, barrels of the precious liquid were often used as a form of payment for colonists, and cider was also considered safer to drink than the often-suspect colonial drinking water, the cause of repeated Cholera epidemics. It was so popular that by the turn of the 18th century, New England was producing more than 300,000 gallons of cider a year, and small cider orchards could be found on the grounds of most homesteads. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for cider, however. After its colonial heyday, cider took a dive in popularity in the 1840s and ’50s when German and Eastern European immigrants brought along their affinity for beer with their large, sophisticated breweries, and during Prohibition when many orchards were reduced to piles of ash. Thankfully, Prohibition has long been revoked, and America’s love affair with the tasty beverage has been rekindled. This is in part thanks to the many microbreweries that have sprouted up across the country under the guidance of artisan cider makers. And because it is concocted from a fruit, ciders are naturally free of gluten-a delightful and equal alternative to brew for people with sensitive diets.