The Cider Crate

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By in Other Apple Drinks 0

Dixon’s – Vodka Fusion (Apple Cranberry)       

Apple Drink Profile:

Name: Dixon’s – Vodka Fusion (Apple Cranberry)
Sampled November 2019

Brand: Dixon’s Distilled Spirits
Type:
Mixed Drink
Location of Brewing:
Guelph, ON
ABV:
5%
Website Link:
dixonsdistilledspirits.com
Ingredients:
Apple Juice Concentrate, water, cranberry juice from concentrate, vodka, sodium benzoate
Gluten Free
: N/A
Sugar Content: 76g/lSize(s) available: 473ml can
Availability:
LCBO (2019)
Flavour:
Apple Cranberry
Colour:  
Dark Apricot
Carbonation:
appears still, similar to standard mixed drinks


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: similar to a standard vodka, little other elements.
Initial Taste: little bite from carbonation, some sweet cranberry. Slightly dank.
After Taste: Apple present in aftertaste, some cranberry notes.  Filmy finish, lingers a while.
On ice: reduced carbonation.

Additional Notes:  Overall, a very watery focused vodka drink with some elements of apples in the aftertaste. The Dixon’s Vodka Fusion (Apple Cranberry edition) is a very basic and lackluster offering with some elements of apple juice in the aftertaste.  Think apple juice with a splash of cranberry and a shot or two of vodka. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 1.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 2

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –TBA
More Sour – TBA
More Dry – TBA
More Crisp – TBA

Links to Other Stories
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

 

By in Other Apple Drinks 0

Les Vergers Villeneuve – Apple Wine

Apple-Drink Profile:

Name: Les Vergers Villeneuve – Apple Wine
Sampled November 2019

Brand:  Les Vergers Villeneuve & Blueberry Farm
Type:
Apple Wine
Location of Brewing:
St.-Pascal Baylon, ON
ABV:
11.2%
Website Link:
vergersvilleneuve.com
Ingredients:
N/A
Gluten Free:
N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml glass bottle
Availability
: Via winery & at Ottawa Lansdown Market (2019)
Flavour:
Apple
Colour
:  Light, translucent yellow
Carbonation:
Appears still, some bubbles after pouring.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: strong, white-wine like with a hint of earthy apple
Initial Taste:  minimal bite, starts off very wine-like with some apple notes. Some astringency
After Taste: lasts a long time, becomes even more wine like with some earthy apples flavours.
On ice: N/A

Additional Notes:  The apple wine by Les Vergers Villeneuve & Blueberry Farm is very much a mid-ground semi-dry white wine, with very little apples.  With a lot of body, it has hints of apple that give it a slightly different taste then other white wines. Easily appeals to most white-wine drinkers.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 2
Crisp – 3
Dry – 3.5
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –TBA
More Sour – TBA
More Dry – TBA
More Crisp – TBA

Links to Other Stories
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

By in Knowledge 0

Get to Know the Ontario Cider Industry

Like a growing number of Ontarians, you may regularly enjoy a crisp craft cider from a local producer. But what you may not realize is you’re drinking a product that represents a notable slice of the provincial economy and, increasingly, a valuable export outside of Canada.

Craft cider in Ontario

The economic contribution of cider in Ontario is nothing to sneeze at: craft cider alone generated $73.5 in economic activity in 2017 and contributed $12.7 million to the province’s GDP.

As of now, there are 99 producers in the province. Much of this economic contribution comes from the approximately 60 Ontario cidermakers active in 2017, three-quarters of whom call rural Southern Ontario home. In 2017, these producers turned 23 million pounds of Ontario apples into cider. 

In 2017-2018, sales of Ontario craft cider at the LCBO grew by 42 percent over the previous year, topping out at over $11.5 million in sales. Incredibly, Ontario craft cider represents only 11.5 percent of total cider sales at the LCBO, which is indicative both of cider’s overall popularity and the incredible potential for growth craft cider has in this province. Looking at Canada as a whole, Ontario is a top province for both the production and sale of cider.

What makes a cider “craft”? 
It must be produced in Ontario, using exclusively locally-grown apples or pears. However, there is also some debate as to the size of the organization producing the product, and if the product is the primary offering of the company, or something branded to fill that organizations portfolio] 

 

Growth in popularity

Why has the cider sector taken off? There are many reasons for its incredible growth, including its status as a gluten-free alternative to beer and consumers’ increasing desire for unique products and flavours. Craft cider in particular is seen as a premium product; one that piques the interest of drinkers who are looking for local production and authentic experiences.

But many people still don’t know exactly what cider is, or have impressions of the product that may no longer be accurate (e.g. that it is very sweet, high in sugar, or is a seasonal product – of which all of these can be true but are typically not). With greater consumer education and increased marketing, there is likely more room for converting the cider-curious into the cider-serious.

Exporting cider

As of 2017, almost all – 98.8 percent! – of Canadian cider exports went to the United States. That corresponds to sales of approximately $61 million. In comparison, we exported less than $40,000 CAD to the United Kingdom, another major cider market. 

First in flight and first in cider 
As of 2017, North Carolina was the most valuable destination for Canadian cider exports – worth over $13 million or 22.6 percent of the total value of cider exports to the United States.

Cider has seen tremendous growth over the past five years, but sales in the US have decreased for the past two. Fortunately for Ontario craft cider, that decline has been driven by national brands. According to the United States Association of Cider Makers, local and regional ciders continue to see double-digit growth, presenting a continued opportunity for our craft brands.

 

Canadians appear to be the most enthusiastic cider consumers compared to our closest neighbours. By 2022, we are expected to drink more than 92 million litres of cider, an increase of approximately 10 percent over 2018. As a result, sales are forecast to grow 13.6 percent between 2018 and 2022, far faster than in the US or the UK. While there is strong potential for exports, the greatest opportunity for Ontario craft cider appears to be right here at home.

 

Author: Ashley Challinor

When Ashley isn’t drinking her way through Ontario’s cideries, she works in public policy.

By in BookReview 0

[Book Review] Uncultivated: Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living

Uncultivated: Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living
by Andy Brennan
Chelsea Green Publishing, June 2019
9781603588447

275pp
Main Subjects: Personal Memoir – American Agriculture – Wild Orchards & Cider Making
Audience: Mainly US-based; Potential Cidermakers; Potential small farm owners; those interested in pre-Modern farming and food connections.

Read and reviewed by Tan Light, August 2019
Andy Brennan is the Cidermaker and owner of Aaron Burr Cidery and the author of Uncultivated: Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living. Both charming and informative, Uncultivated follows Andy’s journey into wild cider making in New York State. The book is divided into 3 sections: the first takes a look at Andy’s love affair with wild apple trees and buying land; the second, how he developed his cider and craft; and, the third is about the cider business itself. You’ll learn more about his personal production philosophy, his triumphs and failures in trying to establish traditional orchards and a “forchard” (a forest orchard), and his deliberate choice to remain a micro business – The Aaron Burr Cider only produces about 2000 gallons each season. (A “small” operation will make close to 10x that!)
The Aaron Burr Cidery primarily produces what they call Locational Ciders, ciders made from wild apples grown in one of the 7 distinct geological bands of the local valley. Unlike a varietal cider, which focuses on using only one apple type, like Golden Russet, locational ciders focus on the distinct terroirs of his valley, so that “the drinker can then taste the ciders … and experience the trees’ acclimation (or struggle) in each location” (p212). The ciders are crafted in small batches using traditional cidermaking techniques – those that require the least intervention from the cider maker – so that the apples and terroir-related flavours are able to shine through. The cider is bottle conditioned for a slight, natural carbonation.
Andy is very connected to his land and the local trees, and believes that we should all reinvest in our own connections as well, by learning more about the foods native to our areas, natural cultivation techniques that pre-date Morden Agriculture, and the small, local businesses that can decentralize our food supply, allowing for better biodiversity. Uncultivated is full of calls to consumers and producers alike to consider what they want as the future of food and drink in North America and to spend and consume in a way that aligns with our intentions. In other words, he challenges us to put our money where our mouth is, quite literally.
As a Cider enthusiast who dreams of someday producing a little of my own, this book was as interesting and informative as it was motivating and eye-opening. There are many challenges that face craft cider makers today, and many of the cultural issues Andy describes in New York State are also faced by craft producers here, just North of the border: a similar history with prohibition disrupting the cider culture of yester-years; big beer makers jumping on, and perhaps commandeering, the cider bandwagon in the past 5 years, using economies of scale to price out the craft-maker; and, government licencing & “support” that doesn’t fully understand how Cider is different than either wine or beer making. In my opinion, any current or potential cidermaker who is looking to create a more natural cider program and/or is concerned with our Modern Agriculture practices should pick up a copy.
Or, read an excerpt on the publisher’s website.
And hey! If you are wondering what a wild apple cider program looks like in Ontario, why not check out Windswept Cider’s Lost Orchard Project
By in Event Reviews, News, Toronto Cider Fest 0

Toronto Cider Festival 2019 Recap

The 5th edition of the Toronto Cider Festival brought with it a few lovely days to sample over 30 cideries from across Ontario, Canada and France!  We were lucky enough to start the weekend off early at Her Fathers Cider Bar, joined by Niagara, Duntroon and returning, Duxbury Cider for a meet the maker and sample night.  

Barry’s Review:

Friday, a busy day personally so we were unable to make the event.  However, Saturday, here is our reviews.

In comparison to previous years, the venue filled up and a was pretty cider-drinker focused during the day-drinking session.  A lot of people were interested in chatting with the makers and learning more about their craft. We were able to chat with a few new participants and hope to have the interviews on our website shortly.  We also were lucky enough to spend time chatting with a most of the Ontario based cidery staff to see how the event was going and what is new. I’m excited that the optimism of the sector is upbeat, though still very tough to make a living at.

Barry’s Selections (In no order)

Duntroon – Black Cherry
East Street – Nature Study
Calvados – 5year Special
County – Root Beer
Ironwood – Strawberry Ciderita

Tan’s Review:

This was my second year attending the Toronto Cider Festival. The Day Drinking session of Day 2 was warm and sunny, perfect weather for cider tasting.

Tan’s Selections

If you are going to day drink, why not dive right into the barrel? I started the day at Hard Way Cider Co, with the just-launched Catawampus. Aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, with a hint of black cherry juice, at 9%abv., followed by the slightly more agreeable Ramboozle, a blend of 5 different local apples, 100% Ontario raspberries and amazing tasting notes from Caribbean Rum barrels. We circled back later in the day to discover Loco Blanco, aged in tequila barrels, was available, which was also quite nice. 

Next I took in 2 of the offerings from Ironwood: Prince Zero, a super dry cider which was nice and light in the middle of my flavour parade; and the Strawberry Ciderita, which was exactly opposite. If you’ve ever tried a can of Tempt’s No 9 cider, it’s along the same vein, though a smidge drier.

On to East Street, who really brought their flavour game. I’ve had the Watermelon Mint a few times, so I opted for the new-to-me Nature Study and Harvest Botanical. I love how East Street layers in several flavour adjuncts to give you a complex but well-balanced cider. 

Having missed the Meet the Maker event Thursday prior, I had to stop by Duxbury’s tent to try the Scumpy from their Back 50 Acres project. It’s a nice example of the style and I look forward to what comes up next.

On to Thornbury to try the Let’s Get Tropical. What a delight – juicy without being over-sweet. I really wish I’d gotten my hands on some sooner because this is a Summer cider if there ever was one, and would be killer in a sangria. 

Brickworks had a lot on offer at the festival with the new cocktail bar, but I chose just the Sour-brate.  With a base of fresh-pressed ontario apples with local blackberries, peaches and a touch of earl grey, it was a nicely balanced, medium sour cider. Hoping to find it at their Ciderhouse soon.

Finally, after picking up a sample of the rather enjoyable Berry Mint on an earlier pass, I ended the day at Forbbiden Cider, lovingly exchanging my last token for their Hopped Cider. Sour and Tart (just like me) and oh so good, it was the perfect way to end the day.

Event wise, the community based painting was really neat and homage to the Toronto Raptors.  The Flairtending, as always was spot on as was the music all weekend.  

Interviews:

Calvados Boulard

The only non Cider pouring at the Toronto Cider Fest  2019, Calvados Boulard Rep Stan Zelek chats with us about the unique apple product offered to the attendees.

Download episode Play in new window | File size: 19.8MB

Malus Cider

Malus cider, one of the new cideries on the block, sat down with Barry at the Toronto Cider Fest, 2019 to chat about how they came to be and what challenges they have faced,so far.

Download episode Play in new window | File size: 14.5MB

Hard Way Cider

Chatting with Hard Way Cider, at their first Toronto Cider Festival.  Defiantly one of cideries of the weekend at the 2019 edition.

Download episode Play in new window | File size: 11.6MB

Magnotta Cider

We talked with Magnotta briefly as the Saturday opened up at the 2019 edition of the Toronto Cider Festival.

Download episode Play in new window | File size: 4.8MB

Next years tickets are already available, happening August 28th and 29th, 2020.

By in News, Toronto Cider Fest 0

5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts for the Toronto Cider Festival – 2019

With the festival less than a week away, here is our top 5 remember to dos, and top 5 please do not do’s this list for the 2019 festival.

Do:

  1. Charge your phone in advance, and track us down when your there.
  2. Put on sunscreen, lots of it!
  3. Bring your ID! You need it at the door to get in (and your ticket too)
  4. Try to ask one of the cider makers a unique question about their product
  5. Look out for these, which we really have liked in 2019 and/or were last years big ciders:
    1. Thornbury Blueberry Elderflower
    2. Rood Apples from Creekside
    3. Anything from Shiny Cider
    4. Niagara Cider Company (New in town and WOW)
    5. County Cider Co flavoured ciders

Don’t:

  1. DRINK AND DRIVE!
  2. Try to drink all the ciders…
  3. Wear fancy shoes, it might get messy/muddy.
  4. Forget a raincoat or umbrella, it might rain
  5. Bring a pet, its not a good space for them (And well, you can’t)

You can find out more from our official preview!

Tickets are available here

Oh, and don’t forget Thursday is our special ‘Meet the cider makers’ second-annual event.  Location TBA, Watch our social media for the info on Tuesday!

By in Tours 0

Niagara – 2019 (2 Day Tour)

For our second extended tour, we are taking on the Niagara Region.  Fortune led us to the area for a wedding, so its possible to do the whole tour in a single day, however, it would be unwise to try to push it.  Enjoy our trip along the photos and interviews, as available.

 

Map of our travels:

Podcasts recorded:

Each individual page on our tours section:

 

Cidery Tour: Ironwood Cider, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Shiny Cider, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Niagara Cider Company, Niagara, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Niagara Teaching College, Niagara ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Rood Apples, Jordan Station, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Tall Post, Hamilton, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Photos:

By in Food Pairing from Friends 0

Ricotta and Zucchini Crostini with Not Too Sweet Organic Cider

Makes 15

1 tbsp olive oil + extra to garnish
12 baguette slices (each ¼ inch thick)

½ cup extra-smooth ricotta
2 tbsp milk

1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
Salt and pepper

2 small zucchinis
2 tbsp liquid honey
¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Drizzle olive oil over bread. Arrange, in single layer, on rimmed baking sheet. Bake in 425°F oven until light golden and crisp, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, in bowl, combine ricotta, milk, garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Using peeler, peel long strands of zucchini to form ribbons. Divide ricotta mixture over crostini. Top with zucchini ribbons. Drizzle with honey and top with pine nuts. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper; and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Orchard Sangria

Ah, summer! The time of the year to go sit outside and enjoy a nice pleasant cold drink, with plenty of subtle flavours. Now, usually, I prefer sipping either sangria or a good semi-dry cider in my garden, so I figured, why not combine them both? With the nice tartness of the cider and the rich flavour of a good peach schnapps, with fresh stone fruit, this makes a perfect summer treat

Ingredients
1 473ml can of a semi-dry cider (cold)
1 oz of peach schnapps
1/2 peach or nectarine sliced, and pit removed.

Substitutions
You can sub peach brandy or liqueur if you are unable to get some

First put the fruit in the bottom of a collins or pint glass, and pour the peach schnapps over it. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then top with the cider. Stir and enjoy

Credit to James C for the cocktail design!

By in News, Toronto Cider Fest 1

Official Toronto Cider Festival Preview – 2019

The numbers!

5 Years  —  35 Cideries — 100+ Ciders — 3 Sessions 

We are excited to come back to the Sherbourn Commons for the 5th anniversary of the largest cider festival in Canada, the legendary Toronto Cider Festival.  We will be doing photos, reviews, podcasts and social media updates all weekend long (We already gave out free passes but you can get $5 off by using the code CIDERCRATE at checkout for general admission tickets).  So feel free to track us down and say Hi!

The Lineup:

Its getting even bigger this year, with 35 confirmed cideries, and a few new ones attending for the first time!  They are bringing over 100 ciders to try (Not all in one day…..)

The Venue:

Year 1 and 2 of the festival was located downtown at Yonge/Dundas – which provided a nice bustling, metropolitan backdrop; however, the space was just too small for new and exciting expansions to be made. The move to the Sherbourne Commons two years ago was brilliant, and it offers a nice view of the Waterfront, with a lot more space for cideries and attendees alike. 

The Other Stuff

Along with a whole ton of cider, there are many other activities to keep you busy during your session:

Friday – Country Night
Live Dancing and Music, Mechanical Bull and Line Dancing

Saturday – Afternoon Party
Waterfront Day Drinking, Outfit and Live Art Showdowns, and Cover Band

Saturday – VIP Session
Intimate experience with dedicated fans and cideries, food pairing session with Lonetree Cider and El Bosco Catering delivering delicious Latin eats! 

Saturday – Night Party
Live Music, DJ’s (REALLY GOOD DJS BTW) and a Flair Bartending contest (this alone is worth going to the Sat night!)

ALL SESSIONS
Life size games, photo exhibit, passport challenge, contests, shopping, People’s Choice Awards, FUN, CIDER GALORE and THE CIDER CRATE!

Toronto Cider Festival is founded on principles of community support; promoting local farmers, local artists, and small businesses, all while remaining true to its values of sustainability and social responsibility. While growing as a business, the organization has equally grown as a contributor to the community, founding the Toronto Cider Festival Event Management Scholarship Foundation at George Brown College, developing a Student Internship program, and is an official member of the Ontario Craft Cider Association. The organization also works with companies like the TenFed Project; providing meals to hungry children around the world and encourages responsible drinking and festival attendance

Last year over 4300 people attended.

 

Tickets

  • Session 1 Country Night (Friday, August 24th 6PM – 11PM)
  • Session 1 VIP Ticket (VIP experience 5:30PM+ Friday Night Country Party 6-11PM)
  • Session 2 Waterfront Day Drinking (Saturday, August 25th 11AM – 4PM)
  • Session 3 VIP Experience (Saturday, August 25th 5-6PM + Saturday Night Party 6-11PM)
  • Session 3 Saturday Night Party (Saturday, August 25th 6PM – 11PM)

Ticket Prices – $40/ $75 (VIP) +HST & the price of drink tokens. Travel packages also available both via www.torontociderfestival.com

It great to be one of their supporting partners for this event and we hope you can find us there. You can also read our event reviews from 2016 and 2017 and 2018 to get excited! See you all there!

We are thrilled to announce we will be working with Her Fathers Cider Bar for a meet the makers event. Details to come shortly!  Happening Thursday, August 22nd in the evening. 

 

 

 

Rood Mojito Drinker

The perfect Summer Cider cocktail that will refresh you to the core: The Rood Mojito Drinker

Ingredients
1 oz of Kettle One Botanical Cucumber Mint Vodka
1/2 can of Rood Apples (adjust to your preference)
Juice of a quarter of a lime
Muddled mint.

Substitutions
Ice (if you like it, in your cider)
Change the cider, change the taste

By in Other Apple Drinks 0

Archibald’s – Spiced Winter Apple Wine

Cider Profile:

Name:   Archibald’s – Spiced Winter Apple Wine
Sampled February 2019

Brand:  Archibald’s Estate Winery
Type:
Apple Wine
Location of Brewing:
Bownmanville, ON
ABV:
11.6%
Website Link:
archibaldswinery.com
Ingredients:
NA
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: Unknown

Size(s) available: 375ml glass bottle
Availability:
Archibald’s Estate Winery On-Site Shop
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  
Rusty brown-ale colour
Carbonation:
Still



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium-strong sour and astringent apples, syrupy and sweet with some spices.
Initial Taste: Smooth with no bite, a slight acidic apple followed quickly by baking spices.
After Taste: Becomes sweeter and more pie like.  Lingers a long time as if you just had a baked caramel apple pie.
On ice: N/A

Additional Notes:  Archibald’s – Spiced Winter Apple Wine is like an extra smooth ice cider, along with a blended apple pie.  It’s sweet but not too sugary, thick and has some spices that linger a long time.  A very unique take on an alcoholic apple product, worth a trip to pick one up.  An easy replacement for desert.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4.5
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –TBA
More Sour – TBA
More Dry – TBA
More Crisp – TBA

Links to Other Stories
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

 

By in Other Apple Drinks 0

Pomme D’Or 

Other Apple Drink:

Name: Pomme D’Or
Sampled March 2019

Brand:  Grand Pre Wines
Type:
Liquor
Location of Brewing:
Grand Pre, Nova Scotia
ABV:
17%
Website Link:
grandprewines.com
Ingredients:
Cream, sugar, alcohol, Pomme D’Or, water, milk protein, natural flavour, colour, sodium citrate, sodium hydroxide.
Gluten Free:
Unknown
Sugar Content: Unknown

Size(s) available: 500ml bottle
Availability:
Nova Scotia
Flavour:
Cream Apple
Colour:
Creamy-Gray
Carbonation:
None



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong cream with hints of alcoholic apple.
Initial Taste: Hit of astringency, followed quickly by a creamy desert apple.
After Taste: becomes more cream liquor like in the finish, finished with a slight tart green apple. Long lingering.
On ice: Upfront hit of astringency removed, becomes extra smooth and creamy. More apple forward.

Additional Notes:  Noticeably green apple, the Pomme D’or Apple Cream Liquor is very unique offering.  It truly is an apple meets cream, though a little lighter (less dense) than other cream liquors.  It’s both pushing the boundaries on apple and cream liquors, and it works. Its more spirt-based then cream when comparing it to a baileys or tequila rose.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 1
Dry – 2
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –TBA
More Sour – TBA
More Dry – TBA
More Crisp – TBA

Links to Other Stories
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

 

By in Knowledge, News 0

The Best Ciders to Keep You Warm this Winter [2019]

Now that Christmas and the holidays are over, the allure of winter can dwindle. It becomes less of the magical winter wonderland with lights and powdery snow it was in November and December, and more of a grey, slush-fest of snow squalls and un-sholved sidewalks until hopefully only March (sometimes April though!).

We at The Cider Crate want to help keep you warm and cozy. Here are our recommendations for the best ciders you can get to drink for those frosty months you may not want to leave the house at all.

 

1) Heartwood Wassail [Erin, Ontario]

This is a beauty of a mulled cider that features a wide-selection of warming spices and even a bit of pepper. You can buy it at their woodsy retail store or at the Guelph Farmers Market. It is recommended you try it heated, cooked with a cinnamon stick and maple syrup (two things they even sell with the cider sometimes).

Heartwood – Wassail

 

2) 401 Cider Co – Apple Pie Cider [Colbourne, Ontario)

Want dessert in a glass? This cider does not disappoint with creamy dessert apples, a delicate vanilla and just enough cinnamon to remind you of the pie your grandma always makes.

401 Cider Company – Apple Pie Cider

3) Thornbury Spiced Cider [Thornbury, Ontario]

Enjoyable both cold and warm, this cider is well-balanced with cinnamon, cloves and more – amongst a medley of apple flavours. A very approachable cider for most cider fans.

Thornbury – Spiced Apple

 

 

4) Ernest Winter’s Blush Cider [Newmarket, Ontario]

Looking for an offering that is spiced but also has some warming fruits? Winter’s Blush is calling your name with a nice combination of cranberry and orange – with a perfect mix of mulled spiced mixed in there too. You may get flashbacks to that Holiday Party punch you may have had too many cups of though.

Ernest – Winter’s Blush

 

5) Bootleg Whisky Barrel Aged Cider [Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario]

If sweet treats warm you up, then look for this sweeter offering that features vanilla, light spices and a smooth whisky and apple base. If you like the taste of whiskies and smooth bourbons but don’t like the astringency of the straight spirits, this could tickle your fancy.

Bootleg Whisky Barrel Aged Cider

 

6) Kings Mill – Ice Cider

You can’t discuss winter drinking without some of the finest creations made during these cold months – Ice Ciders. Made similarly to ice wine, where the apples are picked after it is below zero, these tend to be slow sippers – with Kings Mill’s offering being no different. This version may be less thick and less astringent than other versions on the market, but is still has the depth of others; while also in our opinion, being more apple-forward in taste than most. Enjoy before or after a meal, or on its own. Great both on and off ice.

Kings Mill – Ice Cider

By in Cider Crate Original Cocktails 0

Spiked Candy-Apple Cocktail

With a new offering from Crown Royal, we figured it might be good to pair it with a cider, and we were right!  Simple but tasty

Ingredients
Crown Royal Salted Caramel 1.5 oz
Pommies Cider 250ml

Substitutions
Salt (Add a bit more umpf to it)
Ice (if you like it, in your cider)
Change the cider, change the taste

Description:  A spiked spiced cider with some caramel to keep you warm in the winter, a licking your lips.  We call it a Spiked Candy-Apple cider cocktail.

By in News 0

The Cider Crate – Best of 2018

So as we come to the end of 2018 and are third full year in operation, we are happy to look back on some of the best ciders we had the past year and our favourite locales to enjoy them!  Have a look and we hope you tried a few yourself!  We sampled over 200 ciders all year, posting reviews of close to 70 of them which resulted in over 59,000 hits on the website!

~Bethany and Barry

Cider Crate Combined: Top 5 Bottles/Cans

  1. 401 Cider – Apple Pie
  2. Hard Way Cider Co – Rogue Apples
  3. Great Cider – Ice Cider
  4. Collective Arts – Honey and Lavender
  5. Bonnieheath Estate – Folkin’ Hard Cherry Bomb

Bethany’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. 401 Cider – Apple Pie
  2. Hard Way Cider Co – Rogue Apples
  3. Duxbury Heritage – 1650

Barry’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. 401 Cider – Apple Pie
  2. Shiny Cider – Bootleg
  3. Hard Way Cider Co – Rogue Apples

Cider Crate Combined: Top 5 Ciders Enjoyed at Bars/Events

  1. Revel – Mithras [@ Tooth and Nail Brewing, Ottawa, ON]
  2. County Cider – Lychee Pear [@ Elgin Beer Project, Ottawa, ON & Toronto Cider Festival 2018]
  3. Heritage Estate – Heirloom Cider [@ Toronto Cider Festival 2018]
  4. Sulkers Cider – Rose-hip Hibiscus [@ Arabella Park, Kitchener, ON]
  5. Duxbury – Barrel-aged Haskap [@ Ciderhouse for the Duxbury & Cider Crate Event, Toronto, ON]

Bethany’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. Revel – It’s Character Forming [@ Union 613, Ottawa, ON]
  2. East Street Cider – Watermelon Mint [@ Toronto Cider Festival 2018]
  3. Revel – Mithras [@ Tooth and Nail Brewing, Ottawa, ON]

Barry’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. Revel – Soif [@ C’est What, Toronto, ON]
  2. Revel – Mithras [@ Tooth and Nail Brewing, Ottawa, ON]
  3. Thornbury Cider – Blood Orange [@ Toronto Cider Festival 2018 & Growler Pour from Lansdowne LCBO, Ottawa, ON]

Cidery of the Year-

Fieldbird Cider 
Runner Up –
 Revel

Break-out Cidery of the Year

Kings Mill Cider Company
Runner Up – Heartwood Farm and Cidery

Bethany PreferenceEast Street Cider Co
Barry Preference Kings Mill Cider Company

Favourite Non-Ontario

Reverend Nat’s Cider (Portland, OR)
Annapolis Cider (Nova Scotia)

Favourite Cider Event

Ottawa’s Craft Cider Celebration
Runner Up – Cider 101 with Duxbury at Cider House on Roncesvalles

 

Favourite Bar

Bar Lupulus (Ottawa)
Runner Up – Union 613 (Ottawa)

 

Thats all for 2018.  We also released our Map of Ontario!  Check it out and where/how you can sample our favourites!

By in Non-Alcoholic 0

Spirit Tree – Sparkling Pear Cider

Non-Alcoholic Cider Profile:

Name:  Spirit Tree – Sparkling Pear Cider
Sampled November 2018

Brand:  Spirit Tree
Type: Pear
Location of Brewing:
Caledon, ON
ABV:
0%
Website Link:
spirittreecider.com
Ingredients:
Carbonated Pear Juice, malic acid, ascorbic acid, potassium sorbate.
Gluten Free:
yes
Sugar Content: UnknownSize(s) available: 750ml, 355ml Glass Bottle
Availability:
Spirit Tree Estate, various country stores
Flavour:
Pear
Colour:  
light-translucent yellow
Carbonation:
Lots of big bubbles on the side of the glass.
 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:



Smell:
Medium, extra sweet ripe Bartlett pear, some elements of spices
Initial Taste:  light bite from carbonation, followed by sweet juicy Bartlett pear. Clear and crisp with a bit of tanginess.
After Taste: becomes almost sweeter in the aftertaste with a light film of pear. Quite long-lingering, with some smokey elements.
On ice: Carbonation is cut, little less sweet pear.

Additional Notes:  A very pear forward sweet offering, the non-alcoholic version from Spirit Tree is crisp and clean with a bit of smokiness.  Easy to drink but a bit sugary with some tanginess.  Stays with you for quite a while.  Sweeter then their alcoholic Perry.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 1.5
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –TBA
More Sour – TBA
More Dry – TBA
More Crisp – TBA

Links to Other Stories
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

By in Event Reviews, Tours 0

RECAP: Simcoe U of Guelph Apple and Cider Research (Aug 26 2018)

Being a part of the OCCA, we were lucky enough to learn about the research that the University of Guelph is doing to more efficiently grow and harvest apples for cider production.   So after a weekend of cider (Our event with Duxbury at Cider House in Toronto and the Toronto Cider Festival) we took the trip to Simcoe – along with about 75 others – to learn what research was going on in the area.

The Basics:

There are a handful of researchers working on various parts of the cider process.  Simcoe is one of 4 designated areas in Ontario which have special apple growing trees, planted a few years ago, finally starting to bare fruit the last 2 years.

The day started with talks on scientific research regarding apple growing, apple varieties and more. It progressed to talks from Gregory Peck from Cornell University about cider growing and the US cider industry; as well as a talk from Richard Liu – president of the OCCA – on the state of craft cider in Ontario. We even got an introduction on the work being done on yeasts and fermenting processes from the Escarpment Labs in Guelph.

Many cideries, apple growers, agricultural consultants and more were in attendance this day. Its wonderful to see people from all aspects of the cider community come together to learn and chat about how to make cider a better beverage for you to consume.

We ended the session at Bonnieheath Estates down the road from the research station, for some sampling of their 2 flagship, year-round ciders, and to learn about their unique history as a farm.

 

We are happy to speak directly if anyone has questions about it.

By in Event Reviews, News, Toronto Cider Fest 1

Toronto Cider Festival 2018 Recap

We had an amazing time over two days at this year’s Toronto Cider Festival.  You can catch the photos and the Podcast here.  Below are a few highlights as we head off to Spain and Portugal for a bit of cider out that way.  Thanks once again to Shalini, Chris, The Event Professor, and all the people (including cideries who always make us feel at home talking and sampling) who were involved with this years festival.  It’s such a positive community

~Barry and Bethany

The Cider Crate Top 10 Ciders of TO Cider Festival 2018

In no particular order….

  • Sulkers Cider – Sangria
  • Ernest Cider – Pamplemousse
  • East Street Cider – Watermelon Mint
  • Duntroon Cyder – Raindance Rhubarb Infused Cider
  • Shiny Cider – Bootleg Whisky Cider
  • County Cider – Lychee Pear
  • Thornbury – Wild Blueberry Elderflower Cider
  • Heritage Estates – Heirloom
  • Great Cider – Iced Cider
  • Duxbury – Barrel-Aged Haskap Cider

The Cider Crate Top Festival Choices

Breakout CideryEast Street Cider Co

Best Returning CideryCounty Cider Co.

Cidery to Watch for Next YearDuntroon Cyder

Best MomentThe Incredible Flair Bartending

Most kick-ass Moment – People dancing in the torrential rain during the Saturday Day Session

Worst Moment – The hangovers The Cider Crate had on Day 2

Best Entertainment – DJ D-Smooth

Special Cider Fan Shout-Out – Meeting the awesome Toronto Cider Girls