The Cider Crate


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
Apple Wine
Location of Brewing:
Bownmanville, ON
Website Link:
Gluten Free:
Sugar Content: Unknown

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

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
Location of Brewing:
Grand Pre, Nova Scotia
Website Link:
Cream, sugar, alcohol, Pomme D’Or, water, milk protein, natural flavour, colour, sodium citrate, sodium hydroxide.
Gluten Free:
Sugar Content: Unknown

Size(s) available: 500ml bottle
Nova Scotia
Cream Apple

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

Crown Royal Salted Caramel 1.5 oz
Pommies Cider 250ml

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 –

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
Website Link:
Carbonated Pear Juice, malic acid, ascorbic acid, potassium sorbate.
Gluten Free:
Sugar Content: UnknownSize(s) available: 750ml, 355ml Glass Bottle
Spirit Tree Estate, various country stores
light-translucent yellow
Lots of big bubbles on the side of the glass.

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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 0

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


By in News, Toronto Cider Fest 0

5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts for the Toronto Cider Festival – 2018

With the festival just a few hours away, here is our top 5 remember to do, and top 5 please do not do this list for the 2018 festival.


  1. Put on sunscreen, lots of it! But also prepare for rain, looks like it could be poor on Saturday (Rain jacket is better then an umbrella)
  2. Take transit, parking is a pain
  3. Charge your phone in advance, you might want to take pictures and share on social media!
  4. Dress up, there are prizes on Friday Night for Country Night
  5. Bring your ID! You need it at the door to get in (and your ticket too)


  1. Spend all your time on your phone
  2. Try to drink all the ciders – we did this last year it was a very bad Sunday  (and Monday and Tuesday). Try the ones you have not had before, or cant get locally
  3. Wear fancy shoes, it might get muddy.
  4. Bring your dog (or cat, rabbit, under-aged niece etc).  We left Sterling with a friend!
  5. Get there too late, some of the best ciders do go early.

You can find out more from our official preview! 

Tickets are available here 

Oh, and don’t forget Thursday is our special pre-event at Cider House. Come talk with Duxbury and meet us for a guided flight and food pairing!

By in News, Toronto Cider Fest 1

Official Toronto Cider Festival Preview – 2018


Already Year 4 of the Toronto Cider Fest and once again they raising the stakes and upping the game – going even bigger and better than last year, expanding to 3 sessions over 2 days.  We are thrilled to be heading down to cover all three sessions and and see the second night on a Friday! This year you are asked to strap on your boots and throw on your cowboy hat, as its all gone country – with a western/country theme and musical lineup, especially on the inaugural Friday Night session! We can’t even begin to describe how much fun we had the last two years here, and we cannot wait for the festival to happen again!

The Lineup:

This year we see 31 (3 more than in 2017!) cideries participating – with a handful of past favourites and many new ones joining in, from across the province and country. There will be many first time cideries attending – including many we haven’t even tried yet – such as East Street Cider and Overlander! Here is the list that will yield over 100 ciders to try (but please don’t take on that challenge!)

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 last year 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 Brickworks Cider 

Saturday – Night Party
Live Music, DJ’s (REALLY GOOD DJS BTW) and a Flair Bartending contest

Life size games, photo booth, passport challenge, contests, shopping, People’s Choice Awards, FUN, CIDER GALORE!


Plus thousands of fellow cider fans who will all become your best friends after a few 🙂



  • Session 1 Country Night (Friday, August 24th 6PM – 11PM)
  • Session 1 VIP Ticket (VIP experience also includes 10 tokens, commemorative mug + 2018 Toronto Key to the City)
  • 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 – $35/ $49 / $70 plus the price of drink tokens. Travel packages also available.

Available from Eventbrite

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 to get excited! See you all there!

Looking for more? Check out our pre-event on the 23rd!



By in Tours 0

Prince Edward County – 2018 (2 Day Tour)

We had a great time traveling through Prince Edward County over a 2 day weekend in May of 2018.  We were lucky enough to stop off at 11 locations that make cider, and we know there are more coming on-line in the next year or two.  here is our route (Coming in from Ottawa),  We made Hardway, Bergeron, Clafeld and Country Cider on the first day before settling in and the bugs came out.  Day two saw Fieldbird, Hinterland, The Old Third, Apple Falls, Empire and Kings Mill before we headed back to Ottawa.

We also took Sterling along for the ride!

Map of our travels:

Podcasts recorded:



Each individual page on our tours section:


Cidery Tour: Hard Way Cider, Bath, ON (May 2018) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Bergeron (Cole Point) Winery, Adolphustown, ON (May 2018) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Country Cider Co, Waupoos, ON (May 2018) -Pictures

Cidery Tour: Clafeld Cider, Waupoos, ON (May 2018) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Fieldbird Cider, Wellington, ON (May 2018) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Hinterland Winery, Prince Edward Country, ON (May 2018) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: The Old Third, Prince Edward County, ON (May 2018) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Apple Falls Cider Co. Prince Edward Country, ON (May 2018) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Empire Cider, Codrington, ON (May 2018) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Kings Mill Cider,  Stirling, ON (May 2018) -Pictures and Podcast

By in Tours 0

Cider Tour: Chain Yard Urban Cidery [Halifax, Nova Scotia]

While in Halifax for a work conference in April, Bethany of the Cider Crate decided to visit Chain Yard – an urban cidery located a few minutes from the downtown core of Halifax. Having tried one of Chain Yard’s ciders last June thanks to a visiting friend from the Maritimes, we were already familiar with the type of cider they made but wanted to learn more about the cidery and their other products.

Susan – manager of Marketing – gave Bethany a wonderful tour of their facilities. Explaining that they only opened May of 2017, they were relatively new and only one of two cideries with hospitality features – as most other cideries in Nova Scotia are producers only. Having one of the most experienced cider makers in the province helping to create their drinks, they have been able to make 3 core canned ciders; as well as a variety of limited run unique ciders available through draught only.  At the time of visiting, they had a special cider feature called Ginxberry – a cider made with 3 types of apples, wildly fermented cranberry juice and Barreling Tides Gin.

Susan explained that ‘Nova Scotians have a sweeter palate and they gravitate towards smoother, less hoppy beers and ciders’ so they have ciders that appeal to that general taste. However, they also aim to expand people’s horizons and push them towards new tasting experiences, so they blend traditional beloved flavours and new experimental ones in hopes to gain and keep fans interested.

Currently using 100% Nova Scotian apples, they have 3 farm sources from the famous Annapolis Valley where they are abundant.

They also feature the ‘Unchained Kitchen’, which operates independently within the cidery but features foods that pair well with cider; and many are even made using the cider and apples.

You can buy their ciders on site and from their bar, at the Nova Scotian Liquor Store and other licensed stores – including the in Halifax Airport arriving or deporting! As well as on draught at many locations across the city and province and Maritimes.

If you are a Nova Scotia native or are just visiting Halifax like us, Chain Yard Urban Cidery is not to be missed by any cider fan!