West Ave Cider – The Catalyst [Bar Hop King Street]
Bar Review: West Ave Cider – The Catalyst @ Bar Hop King Street, Toronto, ON
Sampled: July 2016
You will never go hungry or thirsty when you visit the King Street West strip in Toronto. With many great restaurants, pubs and bars, the selections are unique, rare and amazing. One such institution that prides itself on offering hard to find beverages and modern cuisine is Bar Hop – a bar so popular they had to build a second location [Bar Hop BrewCo] a few blocks away on Peter Street. While we haven’t ventured to the second location yet, we do know that the Bar Hop on King Street is an intimate venue with very friendly service. A frequent cidery that is featured on their rotating tap menu is West Ave Cider – a brewery located in the Hamilton area that strives to blend new and old world flavours together.
We were fortunate enough to try one of West Ave’s most recent releases here, The Catalyst. This 6.3% cider is a farmhouse barrel-fermented cider, brewed with dry-hops and strawberries. The cider is a peachy pink/orange colour with minimal carbonation and a slight foam on the top. It is very fruity smelling, with a very sweet sugared-strawberry smell.
The initial taste is your standard West Ave. flavour characteristics – musty with apple flavours and a somewhat dry bite. It is a bit flat and watery, with the initial flavour not lasting long. It is in the aftertaste however, where the magic of this unique cider really happens. The Catalyst becomes incredibly sweet, with the strawberry flavours developing strong; as well as notes of peach and pear. With vanilla undertones, it reminds us of eating a fluffy strawberry shortcake in the summer. The aftertaste is not incredibly long lasting but it is quite refreshing and delicious for what there is. The cider is relatively dry the entire consumption experience, but does linger in the mouth either. It’s extremely easy to drink and would be a great first experience for a new cider drinker….or a very unique taste for the seasoned veteran.
West Ave is one of the pinnacle cideries in Ontario at the moment – with a range of traditional brews to new flavour innovations like this. We have been blessed to try a wide-selection of their products so far and look forward to seeing what they come up with next.