The Cider Crate

News

By in Other Apple Drinks 0

Nickel Brook – Green Apple Beer

Apple Drink Profile:

Name:  Nickel Brook – Green Apple Beer
Sampled October 2017

Brand: Nickel Brook Brewery
Type:
Apple Beer
Location of Brewing: Toronto, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: nickelbrook.com
Ingredients: Spring Water, Malted Barley, Apple Juice, Liquid Sugar, Hops, Lemon Juice, Yeast, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid
Gluten Free: No
Sugar Content: Unknown

Size(s) available: 473ml Can
Availability:
LCBO
Flavour:
Beer
Colour:
Mostly clear, sunflower yellow
Carbonation:
Small  but frequently streaming bubbles, foam on top

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:
Smell:
Very strong sour apple smell, pungent on the nose, almost like sniffing a carbonated soda.
Initial Taste: Mild bite, smooth creamy single apple taste with hints of yeast.
After Taste: Yeast flavour overtakes the apple, to become more like a light lager beer then a cider that has beer taste to it.  Extra smooth finish with a semi-sweet long-lingering aftertaste
On ice: Not done on ice.

Additional Notes: The Nickel Brook Green Apple offers a nice, light creamy tasting beer that has hints of a sweet fleshy apple taste but not overly sugary.  Think a wheat beer mixed with a cider, that is extra smooth.

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

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 Breweries 0

Cidery Tour: Apple Falls Cider, Carring Place, ON (September 2017)

On our way home from the Toronto Cider Festival in 2017, we got a chance to visit the newly launched Apple Falls Cider Comapny. Checkout the audio, subscribe to the podcast and see the pictures!  Learn more about the family run farm and cider company via their website.

Please enjoy our first podcast, which you can subscribe to here:

subscribe_itunes-300x102

Have a listen below

Download episode | Play in new window |

 

By in Breweries 0

Cidery Tour: 401 Cider Company, Colborne, ON (August 2017)

On our way to the Toronto Cider Festival in 2017, we got a chance to stop off and visit the 401 Cider Company. Checkout the audio, subscribe to the podcast and see the pictures!  Learn more about 401 via their website.

Please enjoy our first podcast, which you can subscribe to here:

subscribe_itunes-300x102

Have a listen below

Download episode | Play in new window |

 

By in News 0

City Cider Festival 2017 Event Preview

If you’re looking for a little Sunday cider adventure, City Cider – presented by Not Far From The Tree – is hosted at the Spadina Museum on Sunday Sept 17th for its seventh year.  It offers a very backyard, family friendly opportunity to sample a few ciders and keep the kids active as well.

PARTICIPATING ONTARIO CIDERIES AND BREWERS
Brickworks Ciderhouse
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Ernest Cider Co.
Thornbury
Duxbury Cider Co.
Collective Arts
Ironwood


Black Oak
Burdock Brewery
Alchemy Pickle Company

Activities:

Fun for kids includes children’s songs, potato sack races, face painting, orchard tours, arborist experience for kids, observational bee colony, a traditional printing press and art-making. There will also be lots of music and a community market.

Food:

There will be lots of food on-site as well, featuring:

  • Momofuku Daisho
  • The Drake Commissary
  • The Birchwood Kitchen
  • NFFT BBQ and Apple Fritters
  • Local Food Trucks!
    *Food & drink tickets will be available for purchase on event day.

You can also tour the grounds, Spadina Museum Historic House & Gardens – that wheelchair accessible and there is an elevator that accesses all levels of the museum.

Other Ways to Participate

Want to volunteer at the event? Register here: https://notfarfromthetree.org/volunteer-registration/ 

Want to be apart of the Cider Squad and make cider at the event? Click here: https://notfarfromthetree.org/2016/06/22/join-the-cider-squad/

Learn much more on the Not Far From The Tree website

Online advanced tickets are $10 and it includes a souvenir mason jar glass! Buy them here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/city-cider-2017-tickets-36409004312. Tickets at the door are $15 and children under 12 are free.

More photos are here from last year.

By in Uncategorized 0

Surviving the TO Cider Festival

You’ve almost made it cider fans, the big day is very soon, this Saturday, August 26th! Whether it’s your first time to the festival or you’ve been in years past, we have compiled a list of handy tips for you to survive the day and enjoy it to its maximum.

 

Stuff to Bring with you:

  • Cash for extra sample tokens, and other purchases.

  • An empty water bottle so you drink water throughout the day! Sparkling and flat water will be available at the festival courtesy of Water Tap

  • A cell phone charger and battery pack.

  • A jacket or sweater as the event is by the lake and it could be breezy.

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses or a hat as its expected to be a bright sunny day

 

At the Festival

Do

  • Drink responsibly. Know your limits.

  • Ask the cideries about their products. The more you know, the more you can enjoy the wonderful drinks.

  • Do arrive early into the session maximize your time at the festival.

  • Give feedback on your samples – directly to the cideries or on Twitter. They depend on feedback to know which way to go with future products.

  • Take tons of photos (and post them online, tagging @tociderfest if you like).

  • SMILE lots! Your smiling face will not only increase your enjoyment, it will enhance other guests’ experiences.

  • Visit the County Cider and Lonetree Cider booths for chances to win getaway trips across Canada.

  • Do vote for your favourite ciders with your cell phone for the People’s Choice Awards.

  • Visit the cider vendors and stamp at least 16 ciders in your Cider Passport for a chance to win a cider experience at The Cider House
  • Come find us and say hi!

 

Don’t

  • Stick only to ciders you’ve already tried. This is a prime opportunity to try new ciders that you haven’t before. Break free from your comfort zone!

  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. There will be many wonderful food vendors there to satisfy your food cravings (and help the next day).

  • Don’t drink and drive. Call a taxi, request an uber or take the TTC.

  • Don’t try all 70+ ciders that will be available… thats too much.

 

Further Cider Experiences

If you want to continue your cider drinking experiences post-festival, we suggest you do so at one of these better beverage bars that regularly features premium Ontario Craft Cider

  • Cider House

  • Her Fathers Cider Bar

  • WVRST

  • Tequila Bookworm

  • Bierra Volo

  • The Only Cafe

By in Other Apple Drinks 0

Calvados Boulard Pays d’auge

Apple Beverage Profile:

Name:  Calvados Boulard Pays d’auge
Sampled August 2017

Brand: Calvados Boulard
Type:
Calvados – apple brandy
Location of Brewing: Normandy, France
ABV: 40%
Website Link: calvados-boulard.com
Ingredients: up to 120 varieties of apples
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability:
All year – LCBO
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Rustic copper
Carbonation:
None

 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma, apple with oak. Spicy notes.
Initial Taste: Strong bite. Very strong alcohol presence that builds in intensity. Spiciness that takes over the pallet.
After Taste: Very astringent. Mature apple flavour comes through. Oak and vanilla notes. Lingers a long time.
On ice: Cuts some flavour and a significant amount of astringency. Does not linger as long.

Additional Notes: Calvados Boulard is a bold apple brandy that will wake you up! With a strong flavour and alcohol presence that builds in intensity for a long time after sipping, it is a very full-bodied spirit. Calvados stays in the mouth and the throat for a long period. It is thick and has a nice mature apple finish. The spiciness and the astringency of the spirit may burn your mouth.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 2
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 Event Reviews 0

Event Review: County Cider Brewmasters Dinner at Craft Ottawa

About every month, Craft Ottawa hosts a special ‘Brewmasters dinner’ to celebrate pairing courses of food with excellent drinks – all from a select brewery or theme. For the first time, Craft Ottawa hosted a cider Brewmasters Dinner featuring the ever-wonderful County Cider Company on May 30th 2017. May is Celiac Awareness month, so Craft Ottawa decided to host a completely gluten-free Brewmasters Dinner for those who may normally be left out from the festivities. With cider being naturally gluten-free, it was an obvious choice to feature a dinner using cider for the first time.

Upon arrival to the dinner, was a very generous welcome drink of County Premium Apple Cider. Unsure if the remaining 4 ciders would be this large (yes, they were), everyone was getting primed for the evening with the dry, tart apple cider being handed out. With the dinner being hosted on the upper-level of the restaurant, it featured long, communal tables, so you could sit and meet with fellow cider fans in the process. With a strong mix of people attending – with many of them being young professionals – it was an energetic and friendly group of people from the start (even before being pumped with generous glasses of cider).

Before getting into the first course, Robin – County Cider employee extraordinaire and representative for the company for the evening – spoke about the origins of the County Cider Company; as well as the first two ciders being served. Focusing on the rich history and practices of the company, Robin touched on the tree planting done at the farm, the amount of cider produced every year; as well as the techniques that make County’s cider “more complex than some competitors”.

After Robin’s initial speech, out came the peach cider – all in its golden, bubbly glory. Made all natural with Niagara peaches, it has a clean and sweet finish. But before the first course came out, the head chef for Craft Ottawa wanted to say a few words about the dish and courses in general. The night was about ‘celebrating food people with Celiac can’t normally enjoy”; as well as to celebrate cider. It was admitted that the first dish to be paired with the peach cider was more in favour of celebrating the drink but when thinking of what to pair with it, “prosciutto came to mind”.

The first course that was perfectly paired with the peach cider was the ‘marinated burrata” – a  soft cheese, mixed with local prosciutto, roasted peaches, balsamic and a beet drizzle and bitter herbs. The meal and cider paired together, offered a lot of unique contrasts that really complimented each other: the sweetness of the peach cider and roasted peaches was matched well with the saltiness of the prosciutto; the softness of the burrata cheese was well equipped to handle the impact of the crunchiness from the roasted peaches and the meat; and the tartness and the tannin’s of the cider mellowed the bitterness from the herbs. Overall, this pairing was brilliant and the contrasting flavours really did form a superb marriage of tastes in the dish.

Before the second course began, out came the third cider of the evening – the County Pear Cider – with short speeches from Robin and the chef again. Robin went first, describing the properties of the pear cider, stating it was “apple-based with fruit concentrates” and that it is “not as sweet as other perries on the market”. After Robin finished, the chef wet our appetite with a description of the upcoming dish. The second course he designed had both ‘celebrating the cider and the gluten-free aspects of the dish in mind”. With pears being a central part of the dish to be paired with the pear cider, the chef acknowledged between these two courses, “peaches on peaches, pears on pears, hat on a hat” but it all helps to create the vivid flavours in the pairings.

The second course involved a gluten-free tart with pears and onions as the filing; with a side salad that featured Roquefort blue cheese and pickled onions. With a gritty pie crust (that was sometimes hard to pick up with a fork) the filing was a very strong caramelized onion taste; with pear being the secondary flavour. These strong flavours went up well against the strong flavours from the blue cheese and the pickled onions – that probably should have been followed with a breathe mint. While the previous dish had contrasting flavours that were at odds with one another, this pear-focused dish had strong flavours that blended more naturally together. With the onions being so dominate, the perry and the pears in the tart, acted to lower their acidity. The cheese was perfect and it almost melted in the mouth when enjoyed directly with the pear cider.

At this point, I was starting to feel the three very large ciders and two courses… we could have stopped there and I would have been very happy, but we were barely only half way through! The breaks between the courses were important and helped to appreciate pondering all the flavours that just happened. I could tell from looking around the room and speaking with a few others, that they were really starting to feel the generous ciders by this point as well, but nobody wanted to stop the journey we were on.

The fourth cider of the evening was ‘A Tortured Path’, and with it came a very important speech from Robin. This past January, County Cider tragically lost its creator and visionary, Grant Howes. Robin went on to describe that after a trip to Somerset, UK, Grant fell in love with their premiere style of cider, and wanted to create a version of his own back in Canada. Thus, A Tortured Path was born, and it had been, “Grant’s baby ever since”. A Tortured Path is an old-world cider, that has a dark golden hue and is quite dry from the tannin’s in the apples. Knowing the special value this cider had to Grant and the County Cider Company as a whole, it made it that much more meaningful for the third course.

The third course for the evening was a wonderfully presented Nashville fried chicken and cornbread waffles – with the 2 pieces of chicken coming in a tiny, silver bucket. Unfortunately for myself, I do not enjoy spicy food so I wish there had been an option without the sauce, but the strong presence of tannin’s in the cider did neutralized my pallet slightly. I would even say that the spicy notes helped to amplify the tannin’s in a way that isn’t as prominent than without the primer. The hot sauce did have an enjoyable smokey flavour however, and the chicken was very juicy. The cornbread waffles were the real star though, being incredibly light, crispy and sticky from the syrup it was glazed in. Despite my discomfort from the spiciness of the chicken I had to eat quickly to get past the heat, the whole dish was comforting and invited a more casual feel to the evening, from the prior, fancier courses.

Approaching the end of the evening, we were presented with our final cider, the County Blood Orange. Before dessert was served, Robin and the chef stood to speak one final time each. Robin admitted she could tell ‘that everyone is really enjoying the cider by that point’ and that the blood orange cider is a dessert cider –  a ‘hit or miss’ to some people. Only available at the County retail store – like the A Tortured Path – I could tell it was a real treat for some who may have never had access to it before. This cider is a vibrant orange-red hue that is sweet, candied and progressive in nature in the mouth.

Our final course was a dessert designed to be both deliberately complimentary and contrasting – a burnt orange crème brule that featured a crispy caramel salt on top. This dessert starts off immediately salty but then comes to be a creamy orange ‘creamsicle’ on the pallet. When enjoyed with the cider, the dryness of the drink really brought out the salty flavours of the dessert – including the advertised caramel notes. The brule was both crispy and soft, making it a perfect finish the courses. The blood orange cider was both tangy and sweet, and that left a long lingering taste in the mouth – which stayed well past the tables being cleared.

By the end of this dinner, everyone was rightfully tipsy and deservedly so; and everyone seemed to be friends and very social by this point. Overall, this was a fantastically put together dinner by the folks at Craft Ottawa and County Cider. The meals and the cider pairings were obviously very mindfully crafted to offer a variety of goals and objectives; with value at heart in terms of generous food and drink portions. One of the most thoughtful and appreciated aspects to the night was the commentary between every meal and cider from both the head chef and Robin. Having that knowledge shared really added depth and appreciation for the plates and ciders at hand.

Speaking with others, they enjoyed the night as much as I did – as well as being surprised at how generous every cider portion was. I know from experience and others, it is hard to get people in Ottawa excited about cider when it is a decidedly craft beer town. But events like this really do help to raise the profile of the drink in the city, and I hope to see more not only here, but around the province.

Thanks for the lovely evening, Craft and County – your professionalism, expertise and welcoming spirits will be a night to remember for a long time.

~Bethany for The Cider Crate

 

By in Other Apple Drinks 0

Jack Daniel’s – Jack Apple

Apple Drink Profile:

Name:  Jack Daniel’s – Jack Apple
Sampled April 2017

Brand:  Jack Daniels
Type:
Cider and Spirit Mix
Location of Brewing:
Lynchberg, Tennessee
ABV:
4%
Website Link:  
countrycocktails.com
Ingredients:
Carbonated Water, Glucos-Fructos, Tennessee Whisky, Natural Spirit, Malic Acid, Natural Flavour, Sodium Citrate, Caramel Colour, Potasium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate
Sugar Content: med/high

Size(s) available:  473ml Can
Availability:
LCBO
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Amber/Yellow
Carbonation:
Lots of medium-small bubbles

 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Super sweet, strong smell of fresh apples and honey
Initial Taste:  Light apple cider flavour with hints of honey, slight carbonation with a minimal bite
After Taste: Apple flavour dissipates and a strong taste of sweet Jack Daniel’s Whisky remains for an extended period in the mouth. JD is sweeter than normal.
On ice: Some of the sweetness is cut down, with less Jack Daniel’s aftertaste

Additional Notes:   Think commercially sweet cider (I.e. Somersby), with a sugary inital taste, followed by a long lingering flavour of Jack Daniels Whiskey, if it were in a cocktail mix.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 5
Sour – 1.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 1.5
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 Other Apple Drinks 0

Bud Light – Apple

Apple Drink Profile:

Name:  Bud Light – Apple
Sampled April 2017

Brand:  Bud Light
Type:
Apple Light Beer
Location of Brewing:
London, Ontario
ABV:
4%
Website Link:  
budlight.ca/en/apple
Ingredients:
Light beer, Water, Glucos-Fructose, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, natural Apple flavours
Gluten Free:
No
Sugar Content: Low/Zero

Size(s) available:  473ml Can
Availability:
Beer Store, Various grocery stores
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Gold yellow
Carbonation:
Medium that goes flat quickly.  Lots of head

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:
Smell:
Extra sweet apple juice with a hint of beer.
Initial Taste:  Light bite with strong fizzy carbonation with notes of light beer.  Smells sweeter and with more apple taste then it actually haspe
After Taste: Beer flavour returns to an apple juice flavour with a long-lasting taste in the mouth that is a little filmy.
On ice: Smoother, more of a beer taste on ice.  A touch sweeter due to lack of carbonation.

Additional Notes:  As an alternative to a cider, this could be a pretty easy gateway from beer.  Cider drinkers may find it a nice change of pace. obvious beer base, it does not have an overly heavy malty or hoppy taste.  It does contain a light apple taste that has very little depth or character.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3
Sour – 1.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 2
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

Bud Light Lime – Apple-ahhh-rita

Cider Profile:

Name:  Bud Lime – Apple-ahhh-rita
Sampled April 2017

Brand: Bud Light Lime (Anheuser-Busch)
Type:
Apple Strong Beer
Location of Brewing:
USA
ABV:
6.0%
Website Link:
Ingredients:
Beer, Apple Margarita Flavour (Water, Glucose-Fructose, Natural and artificial Flavours, Malic Acid, Sodium Citrate). Caramel Colour.
Gluten Free:
No
Sugar Content: 6g/100mlSize(s) available: 236ml Can
Availability:
Beer Store
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Rust
Carbonation:
Big bubbles, medium carbonation.
 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:
Smell:
Strong, extra sweet fleshy apple like a red delicious.
Initial Taste: Medium bite, semi-thick texture, strong apple taste
After Taste: Long lasting sweet apple finish, almost like you ate the peel of an apple.
On ice: Less sweet, less flavour but with more carbonation.

Additional Notes:  As with most of the Bud Lime series of strong beers, this is a sweet alternative to a beer.  It tastes more like a cider then a beer, but has an obvious beer base.  Extra sweet, fans of a traditional cider would find this extra sugary and very commercial. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 1.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 1.5
Fruity – 3.5

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

Crazy Beard – Wild Apple Ale

Apple Drink Profile:

Name:  Crazy Beard – Wild Apple Ale
Sampled April 2017

Brand:  Iconic Brewing Co
Type:
Apple Ale
Location of Brewing:
Oakville, ON
ABV:
5.2%
Website Link:
iconicbrewing.co
Ingredients:
sugar, barley malt, apple juice, natural and artificial flavours, malic acid, citric acid, neutral spirit caramel colour, and carbonated water
Gluten Free: N
o
Sugar Content: Medium

Size(s) available: 473ml Can
Availability:
LCBO
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Orange/Golden
Carbonation: 
Small but long lasting carbonation bubbles that tingle. 

 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong extra sweet apple pulp/flesh smell
Initial Taste:  Light bite, smooth sweet apple.
After Taste: after initial taste, quick burst of smooth.  Long lasting and fimly taste.
On ice: Carbination and taste cut dramatically.

Additional Notes:  With a hint of an ale taste, this long lasting beverage offers a different option.  A bit thicker then a typical cider, it could replace a commercially produced one, even though it has a beer base.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 1.5
Crisp – 3
Dry –1.5
Fruity – 3.5

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

MadJack – Apple Lager

Apple Product Profile:

Name:  MadJack – Apple Lager
Sampled April 2017

Brand:  MadJack
Type:  
Apple Lager
Location of Brewing:
Montreal, PQ
ABV:
5%
Website Link:
madjack.ca
Ingredients:
malt liquor, carbonated water, glucos-fructose, malic acid, natural flavour, barley
Gluten Free:
unknown
Sugar Content: medium-highSize(s) available: 473ml
Availability:
Grocery stores in Ontario, Beer Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  
Amber yellow
Carbonation:
minimal foam, big bubbles that look like soda pop size. More on ice.
 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Thick, medium to strong smell of beer with a secondary smell of creamy apple pulp.
Initial Taste: Medium bite, apple taste (Very little lager/beer taste)
After Taste: Taste finishes with an apple tingle, somewhat syrupy.
On ice:  Less carbonation, smoother drink.

Additional Notes:  What smells like a beer tastes much more like a cider.  Mad Jack apple lager could easily be mistaken for a cider, which is probably the case.  With little taste of hops, is surprises you with its mild, smooth taste.

Comparison to Hard Core Apple version:  Hard core is sweeter with a bit more kick in the carbonation.   Original has a bit more of a malty taste.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 1.5
Crisp – 2.5
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 Other Apple Drinks 0

MadJack – Hard Core Apple Lager

Apple Drink Profile:

Name:  MadJack – Hard Core Apple Lager
Sampled April 2017

Brand:  MadJack
Type:  
Apple Lager
Location of Brewing:
Montreal, PQ
ABV:
7%
Website Link:
madjack.ca
Ingredients:
malt liquor, carbonated water, glucos-fructose, malic acid, natural flavour, barley
Gluten Free:
unknown
Sugar Content: medium-highSize(s) available: 473ml
Availability:
Grocery Stores in Ontario, Beer Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  
Amber yellow
Carbonation:
Small sized streaming. Medium-large bubbles that look like soda pop size on ice.
 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Thick, medium to strong smell syrupy smell of apple pulp. Hints of Lager
Initial Taste: mild bite, apple taste (Very little lager/beer taste)
After Taste: Taste finishes with an apple tingle, somewhat syrupy. Not a long lingering aftertaste
On ice:  Less carbonation bubbles, but more carbonation to drink.  A touch tartar then not on ice.

Additional Notes:  We could call MadJack – Hard Core apple Lager 2.0 of their original version.  More kick (in the form of 7 vs 5% ABV) however, not much difference other than a little more tang and carbonation when on ice (which is different than traditional).

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 2
Crisp – 3
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 Other Apple Drinks 0

Norfolk County – Baked Apple Mead

Apple Drink Profile:

Name:  Norfolk County – Baked Apple Mead
Sampled April 2017

Brand: Trafalger Ales & Meads
Type:
Mead
Location of Brewing:  
Oakville, ON
ABV:
8.5%
Website Link:
trafalgarclub.com
Ingredients:
water, honey, barley, hops, yeast, apples, cinnamon, raisins
Gluten Free:
No
Sugar Content: Size(s) available: 375ml bottle,
Availability:
LCBO
Flavour:  Apple
Colour:  
Bright Orange, close to a ripe peach
Carbonation:
Medium head, light carbonation
 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Sweet smell of thick apples with hints of beer
Initial Taste:
Med-Mild bite, smooth thick and creamy beerish taste.
After Taste: Sweet apples come through after the inital taste and stay on the pallet.  Filmy aftertaste that stays in the back of the mouth with hints of raisins and cinnamon.
On ice: carbonation is more prevalent, sweetness is cut.

Additional Notes:  For those who have not tried a mead before, this is a great opportunity for something that is sweeter and not as thick as a straight mead, but still remains easily drinkable.  Light and refreshing, the apple adds a smoothness that matches the honey base.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4.5
Sour – 2
Crisp – 3
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4

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

Shock Top – Honeycrisp Apple Wheat

Apple Drink Profile:

Name:  Shock Top – Honeycrisp Apple Wheat
Sampled April 2017

Brand: Shock Top (Labatts)
Type:
Wheat Beer
Location of Brewing:  
London, ON
ABV:
5.2%
Website Link:
shocktopbeer.com (USA)
Ingredients:
Beer, Sugar, Malic Acid, Natural Apple Flavours. Wheat, Barley
Gluten Free:
No
Sugar Content: low/noneSize(s) available: 355ml bottle, 473ml can
Availability:
12 pack of Shock Top Sampler package
Flavour:  
Apple
Colour:  
Cloudy yellow/orange
Carbonation:
Strong head, Medium-small bubbles that are clumped together
 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium to strong smell of beer and sweet fleshy apples.
Initial Taste: Light to medium bite, light apple taste
After Taste: Slightly tart, with earthy tones and a bit of filmy finish.  Ends with a strong wheat beer aftertaste and little to apple flavour.
On ice: A little smoother. carbonation reduced.

Additional Notes:  A wheat beer that holds a hint of apple.  Much more on the beer side then other beers which could come off as a cider.  Sweet and refreshing.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3
Sour – 2
Crisp – 3
Dry –2
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 Event Reviews, News 0

Ottawa Winter BrewFest 2017 Review

We stopped in opening night to Ottawa Winter BrewFest to see what was going on at Lansdowne, as we heard there were some ciders being featured.  Below (and updated on our podcast) is an interview with Mike, the event coordinator where he talked about the festival, the ciders at the festival and whats coming up in 2017.

Download episode | Play in new window | File size: 9.2MB

 

By in Breweries 0

Cidery Tour: Revel Cider Dec 2016 Tour

We were lucky enough to catch-up with Revel Cider Owner and Founder Tariq Ahmed, just a day or two after he moved into his new Guelph warehouse location.  We will come back when its setup but here are some of the photos, however I am sure it looks a little different today.

By in Breweries 0

Cidery Tour: County Cider, Waupoos, ON (June 2016)

We were lucky enough to visit County Cider in Waupoos on our way to the 2016 Toronto Cider Awards.  Grant took us into the fields to try some different apples and learn more about there production, and then we were Joined by Jen and had a cider on their public patio before the band played.

Please enjoy our first podcast, which you can subscribe to here:

subscribe_itunes-300x102

We wish Jen and County Cider all the best moving forward and were very saddened to hear the pass of Grant in January of 2017.

Have a listen below

Download episode | Play in new window | File size: 50.3MB

 

By in News 0

Ontario Cider Awards – 2016 Preview

Now in its second year, the Ontario Cider Awards are coming soon to the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair, on Thursday, November 10th 2016. If you were lucky like us to have attended in its inaugural year, you know this a stellar event hosted by the friendly folks at Drink Inc. Ontario Cider is an ever-increasingly popular and diverse category of drinks, and this event celebrates the delicious beauty of cider by allowing the fans themselves to decide people choice winners.

ctp_tspu8aeonqzctquupjwoaicknjctqolqguaaaf9fh

Like last year, there are two main categories to vote on: traditional ciders and fruit ciders. With many Ontario cideries competing in one or both categories, the hardest task will only be picking a few favourites. The event is ‘pay-as you-drink’, with 5 tickets included in your admission price – with additional samples costing only 1 dollar for 4 oz (with some cider samples potentially costing more based on ingredients).

ctqyotduwaesnx0ctpwsg5w4aifjqp

Last year’s awards had a variety of Ontario cideries competing for the top prizes, with us only guessing how many more entries – both ciders and cideries – there will be this year. Watch this space as we will be positing all ciders that will be available for sampling and voting as soon as they are available!

A recap of last year’s People’s Choice winners:

ctp4m6dwsaanq8xctp9jlwvaaabbre

Apple

Gold: Revel – Spirit of the Woods
Silver: Brickworks – 501 Queen
Bronze: KW Craft – Dry Cider

cttdzu_vaaajx6n

Fruit

Gold: West Ave Cider – Cherrosity
Silver: Shiny – Pinot Noir
Bronze: Double Trouble – Grow a Pear

Best in Show

West Ave Cider – Cherrosity

ctqvgkgxiaajj-8

Tickets are on sale now for $35 dollars each and they include 5 4oz samples and general admission ALL DAY to the Royal Winter Fair. Get them while you can as they won’t last long! You can feel extra special about your ticket purchase knowing that a portion of each ticket will go to Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund, that provides a variety of musical therapies to people with conditions like Alzheimer’s and autism.

For more information, check out the Drink Inc Website

*Oh, and did we mention we will be covering the event?  Come find us and say hi or follow along on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Toronto Cider Festival 2016 – Podcast Series, Gallery and More

It took a lot of work and a lot of editing, but we are finally ready to present our extended recap coverage of the 2016 Toronto Cider Festival – including our Podcast Series of informative interviews about cider.

Check out the Podcast Series featuring 18 cideries who were at the festival.  You can also access it on iTunes.

Check through the gallery of all the photo’s we took throughout the day.

and if you missed it, our review is located here.

 

By in Event Reviews, News 2

Toronto Cider Festival 2016 Recap

The 2nd annual Toronto Cider Festival happened on August 27th, 2016, and if you weren’t there, you unfortunately missed out on an amazing day. The weather was sunny, warm and beautiful throughout the day, and the fans came out by the thousands to indulge in 40+ ciders from 19 cideries. Broken up into two sessions – with a VIP one-hour session – the all-day event was a massive success and we were there for the full 11+ hours to cover all of the action and speak to the cider makers and fans alike.
thumb_P1090034_1024thumb_P1090042_1024thumb_P1090038_1024

Within moments of the doors opening at 11:30am, Yonge and Dundas square started to fill with hundreds of fans eager to start sampling cider. We made our way to interview about half the cideries prior to the doors opening – with us getting to interview the other half of the cideries between the two sessions. With the sun shining down, cider fans spent hours going to each cider booth, and getting their passports stamped and munching on the delightful cuisine offering by the food vendors mixed in around the drinks. With a delightful ‘Cottage in the City’ theme, the event successfully transported us into the wilderness amongst all of the city lights, to a calm oasis of wonderful cider sipping.

thumb_P1090176_1024

With 19 cideries it was certainly difficult to know where to even start – luckily, there was no wrong choice. Among the included booths were: 14 Ontario cideries, 1 from British Columbia, 3 international companies and 1 French apple brandy company.With most cideries bringing their flagship ciders, many also brought special flavoured varieties; as well as limited kegs and upcoming releases.

While all the ciders offered to sample were amazingly delicious, there were some true standout ciders that were unique in their own right. KW Craft Cider was sampling one of their newest creations, the Snakebite Cider, which was a perfectly blended mixture of cider and beer, in collaboration with Elora Brewing Company. Spirit Tree Cider brought their recently released Pear Lavender cider (See our review here), which is a unique take on their original pear cider; as well as their Dry Hopped blend which tickles the pallet with flavour. The oldest cidery in Ontario, County Cider Company, brought four varieties to sample, which included their hit Blood Orange cider and their recently released cider, Rootbeer.

thumb_P1090050_1024thumb_P1090150_1024thumb_P1090059_1024

One of the special ‘event’ ciders was Coffin Ridge’s Strawberry Mint Cider, where only 1 keg per session was tapped – at 2pm and 8pm – and only available for a short period, as the lineups to sample started early (and lasted about 30 before it was all gone).  Another special cider only offered in a limited quantity was Thornbury’s Spiced Apple – a smoothly blended cider that will be available at the LCBO this fall for a limited time. As well, Ironwood brought their hilariously named ‘Cowabunga’ Cider made with tart cranberries, that we actually had the pleasure of sampling the evening before at Her Fathers Cider Bar.

Other special cider offerings included Brickworks Field Trip Cherry (See our review here) (Poor Brickworks brought there re-constructed 1940’s tap truck which broke down less then 500m away from the event on the side of the road and missed the entire first session), Double Trouble’s ‘Grow a Pear’ cider (recently launched at the LCBO), Duxbury’s hopped Tilted Barn, amongst many, many others (there are just too many to list!).

One cidery that really stood out to us was Heritage Estates – a new cidery located in Barrie that only launched in July – that already had two canned thumb_P1090064_1024offerings available: Dragon’s Gold and Eden’s Apple. Let us tell you that these were two highly unique ciders that didn’t taste like anything else you would have had that day. We were also impressed with Lone Tree Cider – a cidery that came all the way from British Columbia and is hoping to break into the Ontario market soon – with 4 delicious ciders for our sampling pleasure.

Fans could text their favourite ciders to a special contest number throughout the day, and the same three cideries were selected as the fan favourites in both sessions but in different orders. The winners from the first session were 3) Heritage Estates 2) Ernest Cider and 1) Savanna. The evening session winners were 3) Savanna 2) Heritage Estates and 1) Ernest Cider. We were thrilled that two up-and-coming Ontario Craft Cideries were selected, as we see big things ahead for them all!

Mixed in throughout the evening, were two special schedulings – the food and cider pairing session at 5pm for VIP ticket holders and the flair bartthumb_P1090137_1024ending competition that started shortly before 7pm. The VIP session food pairing was done by the industry expert, Doris Miculan Bradley and it included a mouth-watering pulled pork sandwich, topped with creamy coleslaw and an olive – paired with County Cider Apple, and followed with County’s bright red cranberry and raspberry Feral Cider.

Shortly after, was the flair bartending competition, where a few seasoned professionals had 5 minutes to flip and toss bottles around, all while making a delicious cocktail featuring Angry Orchard Cider. While there were a few bottles broken, it was a true spectacle to watch with tons of crazy tricks and flips.

The festival offered so much more than just cider samples, pairings and cocktails though; with delicious food vendors, life-size games (including Jenga and Connect 4), DJs, live music, tons of incredible giveaways and more, it was a truly complete and grand experience for the senses. With the festival all tucked underneath the glowing signs and lights of Yonge and Dundas square, it only made the day more brilliant and grandeur.

thumb_P1090221_1024thumb_P1090179_1024thumb_P1090229_1024

We think the 2016 edition of the Toronto Cider Festival was an incredible success and we thank not only the wonderful job done by the organizers and cideries for putting this day together; we thank the thousands of fans that came together to connect over a shared love of a delicious drink. Events like this are important for the cider community, as it show cider’s growing popularity and influence in Ontario. This helps grow the industry, grow allotted shelf space at the LCBO and grocery stores, and gain access to more markets and more equitable selling laws.

Thanks again to everyone involved with the Toronto Cider Festival. We cannot wait until next year.

*watch for our interviews with the cider makers coming soon!

thumb_P1090106_1024thumb_P1090173_1024 thumb_P1090139_1024

By in News 0

What to Expect at the Toronto Cider Festival

Toronto Cider Festival

So by now we hope you have gotten your tickets for the 2nd annual Toronto Cider Festival that’s happening at Yonge and Dundas Square on Saturday, August 27th 2016. But if not, no worries, there are still some left!  This years theme is “Cottage in the City” so expect Muskoka chairs, canoes, wooden logs, wooden barrels and more right in the heart of Toronto.

This years event has three sessions, and is expected to bring over 3,000 attendees 19 year of age and over

Session 1 : 11:30PM-4:00PM
Session 2: 6:00PM-10:30PM
VIP Session: 5:00PM-10:30PM (Limited tickets)

*** UPDATE: AS OF WEDNESDAY AUGUST 24TH ONLY 150 TICKETS REMAIN! ***

Get your tickets while you still can: https://torontociderfestival.eventgrid.com

Tickets available

You may have gone to the first Toronto Cider Festival in 2015, but what can you expect for 2016? Well for starters, everything is bigger and better and there are more cideries for you to try – expect 40+ different ciders for your tasting pleasure!

Session 1 and Session 2 tickets are priced at $30
Tickets Includes 4 Sample Tokens and Commemorative Sampling Cup.

Ticket gives attendees access to 20 to top craft ciders with more than 40 taps, a handful of food trucks, and various forms of entertainment, including live entertainers, music, giveaways and contests.

VIP Tickets are priced at $60
Tickets Includes 10 Sample Tokens and Commemorative Sampling Cup.
VIPs get in at 5:00PM for early entry to the festival.


Participating Cideries (19 in total)

  • Pommies Cider Co.
  • The County Cider Company
  • Thornbury, Shiny Apple
  • Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
  • Brickworks Ciderhouse
  • Ironwood Cider
  • Forbidden Dry Cider
  • Duxbury Cider Co.
  • Revel Cider Co.
  • Grow A Pear
  • Magners Irish Cider [Ireland]
  • Angry Orchard Hard Cider [USA]
  • Magnotta Brewing Co.
  • Shiny Apple Cider
  • Ernest Cider
  • Lonetree Authentic Dry Cider [BC #1Cider]
  • KW Cider
  • Calvados Boulard
  • Savanna Cider [South Africa]

Some of the unique and interesting cider flavours that will be on tap:

  • Cherry
  • Blackberry Peach
  • Cranberry
  • Ginger
  • Strawberry Mint

…And many more to be announced and discovered!

What to look for:

The event itself has a lot of things to get involved in – not just only sampling new and classic ciders. (Note that 4oz sample tickets are 5 for $10 or 10 for $20).

Food Pairing w/ County Cider
Hosted by special guest Doris Miculan Bradley (industry professional who teaches at George Brown College and is the Canadian Brand Ambassador for The Wines of Vinho Verde), this session is special for those with VIP access, giving you  a demonstration on how to pair delicious foods with the right cider blend.  This session is expected to have 2-3 different cider tastings accompanied with various cuisine.

Bartending Competition
Attendees of the late session, 6-10:30pm will be treated to a flair bartending competition, sponsored by Angry Orchard. Expect flying spirit bottles, unique cider cocktails and maybe a splash zone if you’re in the front row (kidding, hopefully).

Entertainment
The festival will also feature special entertainment by ONQ, including live music by bands like Stereo Flavour and Sevens, one of Toronto’s best DJs – DJ D-Smooth

Food vendors

  • Pili Pili
  • Wood Oven Pizza by Aristocaters
  • The Mustache Burger
  • SnakAtak

Contests

The Magners Ireland Adventure Giveaway contest: Complete a ballot after purchasing a Magners Cider sample at the Toronto Cider Festival and submit the completed ballot to the Magners Cider Booth for a chance to win a 4-night stay with round-trip flights for 2 to Dublin, Ireland.

The Prince Edward County contest presented by the County Cider Company: complete a ballot after purchasing a County Cider sample from at the Toronto Cider Festival and submit the completed ballot to The County Cider Company Booth for a chance to win a 2-night getaway for 2 in Prince Edward County at Jackson Falls Country Inn with complimentary tastings at the County Cider Company and other select wineries

The Passport Contest: Visit each cider vendor at the Toronto Cider Festival and try their cider to get your passport stamped. Collect all 19 stamps and bring your completed passport to any Toronto Cider Festival token booth for a chance to win an international cider experience with food pairings for 2 at Her Father’s Cider Bar + Kitchen

People’s Choice Awards presented by The County Cider Company: Visit the 19 cider booths and pick the one you love most. Then text a designated number (647 360 2929) with the booth number that had your favourite cider for a chance to win an awesome prize pack from The County Cider Company

Angry Orchard Instagram Photo Booth Contest: Take a picture in front of the Photo Booth at Toronto Cider Festival and upload it on Instagram with hashtag #AngryOrchard and #TOciderfest. The most creative and hilarious picture will be selected to win a special prize pack by Angry Orchard


Official Sponsors

  • The County Cider Company – Proud Sponsor of the Prince Edward County Contest Giveaway, the VIP Food and Cider Pairing Session, People’s Choice Awards Giveaway and the Notable Toronto Cider Festival Pre-Event Launch Party
  • Angry Orchard Hard Cider – Proud Sponsor of the Flair Cider Cocktail Competition and Instagram Photo Booth Contest
  • Magners Irish Cider – Proud Sponsor of the Ireland Giveaway Contest
  • Indie 88 – Officia Radio Sponsor

The fun doesn’t stop here, as there will be an Instagram photo booth; along with live entertainers, musicians, contests and Giveaways all day long at your cottage in the city. Arrive early each session, and plan accordingly to get home safe!

Schedule

Schedule

Keep up to-date with the Festival social media pages or visit there website for tickets
Website: http://www.torontociderfestival.com/
Social Media : https://www.facebook.com/torontociderfestival
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/952817434739622/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tociderfest
Instagram: https://instagram.com/tociderfest

Baked Caramel Apple Pie

Baked Caramel Apple Pie

Apple PieIngredients
4 parts apple cider (Recommended: Thornbury Cider)
1 shot Galliano vanilla liqueur
1 shot butterscotch liqueur
1/2 shot cinnamon whiskey
Ice
Optional: a cinnamon stick or a dash of cinnamon powder

Substitutions
More dry cider: Pommies Dry Cider
More crisp cider: Angry Orchard Hard Cider
More sweet cider: Brickworks Queen Street 501
Swap Galliano for Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka

Description
If you are looking for a dessert in a glass, this is a stellar cocktail. A cider reminiscent of the pie your grandma makes for special occasions, it is a warming, very sweet concoction that has all the flavours you’d find in an apple pie – including the vanilla ice cream scoop on the side!

The Cherry Berry Orchard

cherryberrycocktail2

The Cherry Berry Orchard

Ingredients
2 or 3 parts Cider (Recommended: A dry cider)
1 part Shock Top Raspberry Wheat Beer
1 shot cherry brandy (recommended: McGuinness Brand)
Ice

Substitutions
More crisp cider: Brickworks Batch 1904
More sweet cider: Magnotta Small Batch Cider
Any raspberry wheat beer

 

Description
This beer-cider cocktail is perfect for a warm, sunny day. It is fizzy, foamy and very refreshing. Bursting with many different fruit flavours, its sweet, sour and fully delicious.

By in Event Reviews 0

LCBO Cider Fair, March 2016

Event Review: LCBO Cider Fair, March 2016

348sThe Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) decided to put a focus on cider with the launch of their ‘In Cider’ guide for March 2016. Accompanying the guide, was a weekend of ‘Cider Fairs’ in-store across the province, that offered select samples of ciders, cider cocktails and food pairings – recipes that can be found in the In Cider guide. For both days, March 11th and 12th, we visited the LCBO located on Rideau Street in Ottawa, near Byward Market. With a massive store location, and an onsite kitchen, it made for a perfect venue for the tasting fair.

The Friday, March 11th, event had a selection of four ciders for sampling, as well as two food creations to nibble on. The ciders featured were: Alexander Keith’s Cider, Brickworks Cider Batch 1904, Magners UK Pear Cider, and Growers Honey Crisp Apple. After the small samples, I tried the two delicious food pairings, the Indian Spice Pork and the Lemon Pastry with toasted marshmallows.

image2 (4)image2 (3)image1 (5)image1 (4)image3image2 (2)

The Saturday sampling featured three different ciders, as well as the Growers Honey Crisp Apple that was featured the day before. These other ciders featured were: Molson Canadian Cider, Thornbury Cider and Strongbow Gold. The food samplings were the same, but this time they also featured a Strawberry Mojito cocktail made with crushed up strawberries, mint, simple syrup, mixed with the Molson Canadian cider.

Overall, we had mixed feelings about this event. We really do appreciate the LCBO finally giving cider a strong focus and publicity, as it has not much featured it before to our knowledge. We also like the fact that these events can be a gateway for people new to cider, to either taste it for the first time or try new flavours they haven’t before. We also like that there were food pairings and cocktails made with cider, as there are so many possibilities with cider, beyond just drinking it from a can.

However, we were quite disappointed with the selection of ciders being sampled. The majority of them were more commercial and sugary, in trying to appeal to the mass crowds. Each sampling only had one Ontario Craft Cider featured, and with so much selection available and the fact that the LCBO is Ontario owned, we had hoped for a more diverse and local selection. By serving both Alexander Keiths and Molson Canadian ciders, we think they were trying to piggy-back off the success of those beers; as well as by sampling Strongbow, one of the world’s most distributed and recognizable ciders.image1 (6)

We do hope that the LCBO continues to give more features to cider – including in-between potential future cider fairs – and diversify its selection available in stores; especially with the booming Ontario Craft Cider industry selections.

An online copy of the ‘In Cider’ guide, complete with the recipes and ciders mentioned here and more: LCBO Website

-Cider Bethany

By in News 0

We are getting there … launching soon

You may have seen that the shell of the site is here, but no content.  We will be looking to start really filling it out, it just takes time to make sure we are doing the reviews correctly (need to test the testing method, make sure everything looks good etc), so we hope to have an official announcement soon.

P1080260

By in News 0

So it begins

With the website starting to take shape, it is time to start filling in the content.  Here is a quick photo of some of the ciders located here in the Ottawa, ON, Canada region we are going to start to review and post.

FirstReviews

 

If you are interested in providing feedback to the project, please do not hesitate to contact us.