The Cider Crate

Author: Bethany

By in Best of 0

Our Top 5 Ciders for a Festive Cinco de Mayo 2021

Mexico is a wondrous country of great beauty and great people who are kind, friendly and with a good sense of humour. Cinco de Mayo is only one of their colourful celebrations every year and any observance of it must be respectful to the culture and country.

We rounded up our top 5 ciders we feel embrace commonly used Mexican ingredients well so you can enjoy a festive – and respectful – day.

Kings Mill – Jalapeño

Jalapeño peppers are commonly used in Mexican cooking and while they do add some spice to dishes, they are still more on the tame side. Kings Mill made a cider with jalapeño’s grown in their own garden, and the cider does not skimp on natural pepper flavour. With some spice, it still isn’t too overpowering so we feel most people could tolerate this cider.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/kings-mill-jalapeno/

Buy it: https://kingsmillcider.company.site/JALAPE%C3%91O-Carbonated-355mL-Six-Pack-p300752425

Hard Way – Loco Blanco

Naturally a list about Mexico wouldn’t be complete with mention of tequila! Hard Way Cider Co has a strong focus on barrel-aged ciders and many include aging in spirit barrels. Their tequila aged offering, Loco Blanco, is bone dry and has a considerable amount of pure tequila flavour to it. Its a strong one with a bunch of astringency from the tequila but its a very strong representation of the spirit itself.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/hardway-loco-blanco-dos/

Buy it: https://www.hardwaycider.com/collections/cider-1/products/cider-loco-blanco

Steel Town – Vay Kay

Steel Town also has a tequila barrel-aged offering called Vay Kay and its a tropical Caribbean escape in a can! With a strong tequila flavour and astringency that comes through in the aftertaste, you are pleasantly greeted with forceful pineapple, mango and coconut flavours to start. These fruit notes are very juicy and reminiscent of the agua fresca drinks beloved by Mexicans. There is also some lime and sea salt in this to give it a margarita flair.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/steel-town-vay-kay/

Buy it:  https://www.steeltowncider.com/

Slabtown – Honey Habanero

Another pepper commonly used in Mexican cuisine is the habanero, and it sure does deliver a lot more punch and spice than a jalapeño! Slabtown used this pepper in their cider and added some soothing honey to balance the elements out. Its a bit spicy but its more about the pepper flavour here. A fun treat that is very smooth and refreshing overall!

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/slabtown-honey-habanero/

Buy it: https://www.slabtowncider.com/store

Brickworks – Lime Margarita

Of course, many associate Cinco de Mayo and Mexico with the classic margarita and Brickworks has attempted to recreate the experience here with their Lime Margarita cider that can be found within their 2021 Summer Mixpack at the LCBO. This is a very crisp cider with a decent amount of tartness from the limes coming through. You also get a bit of cooling mint and of course the anticipated salt comes through in the finish and lingers a bit. It’s a light interpretation of the cocktail but overall very refreshing for a sunny day.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/brickworks-lime-margarita/

Buy it: https://www.lcbo.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/lcbo/brickworks-ciderhouse-mix-pack%09-19980#.YI23DGZKjAM

By in Best of 0

Spring 2021 LCBO Cider Releases to Look For

Spring always promises many new cider releases at the LCBO. Here are some of the most promising releases heading to shelves across Ontario soon (but you can buy most of these already from thier respective online + retail stores)

If there are two trends we see, peach and rosé ciders will once again rule the summer!

Ernest – Rosé Light Cider Spritzer

Via Ernestcider.com: We refer to this new cider as our ‘guiltless pleasure’. Our NEW Rosé Light Cider Spritzer is handcrafted with our dry cider, a splash of local cranberry and cherry juice, sparkling water and a kiss of Niagara Cab Franc Rosé wine with no added sugar or honey. This cider is perfect for anyone watching their sugar intake. We consider this a ‘bone dry’ cider as it has less than 5 g of sugar per litre (naturally derived from pure cranberry and tart cherry fruit juices). With only 4% alcohol per can, Ernest Rosé Light Cider Spritzer is sessionable, easy-drinking and very refreshing!

Buy it now: https://www.ernestcider.com/

Stock & Row – Slow & Low Dry Cider

Via stockandrow.com: Our flagship dry cider, made from 100% Ontario apples is crisp, fresh and sessionable! With only 5g of sugar per can, it’s as clean as they come. Orchard fruit and mineral flavours combine with brisk acidity for a purely refreshing every day drink.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/stock-row-slow-low/

Buy it now: https://stockandrow.com/

Seagrams – White Peach Cider

Via waterloobrewing.com: All-natural and 100% gluten-free, this lip-smacking cider tastes of sweet fuzzy peach, with a crisp, dry finish. May inspire visions of strolling through an orchard or lazing on a porch knowing you’re right where you’re supposed to be.

Buy it now: https://waterloobrewing.com/collections/all

No Boats on Sunday – Peach

via The Wine Shop: This juicy Peach flavoured cider is made with carefully selected apples sourced from southern Ontario Orchards. The refreshing mouthfeel has plenty of peach and sweet apple flavours. Enjoy Chilled.

Buy it now: https://www.thewineshops.com/

KW Craft – Wild Cherry Cider

Via kwcraftcider.com: Our bold WILD CHERRY is made with premium fruit sourced from the renowned Niagara region of Ontario.  It pours a beautiful amber colour with a fresh fruity taste and crisp cherry finish.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/kw-craft-wild-cherry/

Buy it now: https://kwcraftcider.com/

Collective Arts – Cranberry Blood Orange Cider

Via collectiveartsontario.com: The combination of tart and sweet combine beautifully in our new limited release cider. The nose is of fragrant candied blood orange with a slight apple twist. Tart cranberries shine on the palette, making the cider dry and refreshing.

Buy it now: https://collectiveartsontario.com/

Lost Craft – Dry Rosé Cider

Via lostcraft.ca: Our English inspired Apple Cider is made in small batches entirely from apples grown in Ontario . Our cider is tart with a subtle sweetness than blends for a refreshing honey crisp apple like finish. Our Apple Cider pairs well with creamy pastas, mild curries, and roasted meats.

Buy it now: https://lostcraft.ca/collections/beer-cider

Liberty Village – Peach

Via Liberty Village PR: Liberty Village Cider is excited to announce their brand new flavour, Peach! The extra dry taste you love, now with a punch of Peach. Liberty Village Ciders have no sugar and are also crisp, refreshing, and local. Could you ask for more?! The Liberty Village Peach Cider is coming to the LCBO in May.

Duntroon Cider House – Empire Extra Dry Cyder

via duntrooncyderhouse.com: Empire is an all-natural extra dry cyder that is completely dry, light, clean and pleasantly refreshing. The cyder is polish filtered giving you light straw colour and light appley notes with a fine pétillante carbonation and smooth satisfying dry finish. The cyder is produced from our Empire heritage apples and aged for over 6 months to produce a balanced acidity for enjoyable freshness. This cyder is amazingly refreshing and clean and made for sharing and connecting you and yours with the natural beauty of our environment, earth, mind and body. 5.5% abv. 0 grams sugar, 1 gram carbs and 186 calories per 473ml can

Buy it now: duntrooncyderhouse.com

By in Best of 0

The Cider Crate Top 5 New Ciders We Tried Winter 2021

We are starting a new thing here at The Cider Crate – we try dozens of new ciders every month, but want to start sharing our top 5 every season/3 months going forward. There are so many great ciders and cideries in Ontario and beyond so this is our way to given special recognition to those that really stood out to us.

  1. Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate
  2. Duntroon – Sumac 
  3. Slabtown – Cider House Rules
  4. Heeman’s – Berry Blush
  5. West Avenue – Spontaneity

Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate

Right in time for Valentines Day, Shale Ridge released a beautiful Cherry Chocolate Cider that is sure to make you feel very romantic! Chocolate may sound like a weird idea in cider, but trust us, it works well! It reminded us of the cherry-filled milk chocolates you get in mixed boxes of chocolates at holidays, with the cherry being very jammy and candied – with the creamy chocolate coming through at the finish.

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/shale-ridge-cherry-chocolate/

Buy it: Currently sold out

Duntroon – Sumac

Sumac is a flower that is well used in cooking – in particular in Middle Eastern Dishes – but hasn’t been used too much in cider thus far. In fact, this is the first cider we’ve had with sumac added. Being a very dry cider, it actually has a lot of lemony notes within from the sumac, as well of course being floral. Very zippy and peppy, its an intriguing shock to the senses and a strong deviation from ciders we’ve had before. A very unique and well executed cider.

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/duntroon-sumac/

Buy it: https://my-site-102138-100343.square.site/

Slabtown – Cider House Rules

Winter may be a challenging time of year for most, but one thing that helps us get through is a good mulled cider to warm the palate and the soul. Slabtown has created a magnificent spiced cider that is creamy and yet still with a satisfying mulled punch to it. To sum up this cider, is basically an apple pie in a glass as there are bright vanilla and crust notes we could detect in this. Very cinnamon forward and just a pure delight.

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/slabtown-cider-house-rules/ 

Buy it: Currently sold out

Heemans – Berry Blush

Continuing with our theme of pastries in a glass, the Berry Blush by Heeman’s gives us some serious strawberry shortcake vibes with enough tartness from the raspberries to give it a bit of an edge. It’s very smooth and sweet, but not sugary at all. Very refreshing, bright and uplifting – perfect for Spring!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/heeman-berryblush/

Buy it: https://store.heeman.ca/product/hard-cider-berry-blush/

West Avenue – Spontaneity

Made with crab-apples, West Avenue pulls out all of the punches for this bold and strong cider. Very sour, it doesn’t hold back – being gritty, tannic and very dry. Funky, pungent, and cellared tasting – just what fans of Spanish Sidras and heritage styles want to hear!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/west-avenue-spontaneity/

Buy it: https://www.westavenue.ca/store#!/Spontaneity-7-8-355ml/p/242621109/category=0

By in Best of, Comparisons, News 0

Top Dry Hopped Cider Picks for a Hoppy Easter 2021

While hops are mainly associated with beer, dry-hopped ciders are increasingly growing in popularity. When infused into cider, they typically add fruity-like notes, such as lemon, citrus, lychee and more – but can also be bitter, floral and more. Dry hopping works well for both sweet and dry ciders, and everything in between.

As Easter is right around the corner, and the Easter Bunny may be hopping into your backyard with goodies, its a great time to hop to a hopped cider for a refreshing experience!

The Cider Crate’s Top Hopped Ciders:

Duxbury – Tilted Barn

Duxbury Cider always delivers a refreshing cider experience, and their dry-hopped cider Titled Barn is no different. Made with locally grown hops, this cider runs on the dry side and is rustic, tannic and gripping for the senses. The hops are a bit gritty and bitter, but overall this cider is very smooth and easy to drink. Our strongest recommendation for a beer fan interested in trying a hopped cider.

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/duxbury-tilted-barn/

Buy it: https://www.theduxburyciderco.ca/product-page/tilted-barn-dry-hopped-cider

Peele Island – Hopping Apple Cider

Pelee Island Winery’s focus is first and foremost wine of course, but they make a very stellar cider as part of their regular lineup! The Hopping Apple is a sweeter offering, that is effervescent and bright. With a lot of unique notes presumably from the hops including bubble gum and lychee, it stands out in the field of hopped cider offerings in Ontario. Light and breezy, this has a wide appeal, especially to those who may not like hops as it doesn’t really taste like its hopped at all, but more so tropical and fun!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/pelee-island-hopping-apple/

Buy it:  https://www.peleeisland.com/product/hopping-apple-sparkling/

Loch Mór – Hopped

Loch Mór is known for making very traditionally-based, earth-oriented ciders, and this hopped offering does deviate a bit from their other offerings – coming across as more modern influenced – but it still has familiar elements, like a tannic heritage apple base. We found this Hopped Cider to be more on the floral side of things, with a hint of citrus notes. Very crisp, it has a lighter mouthfeel, meaning its easy to knock a few of these back!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/loch-mor-hopped/

Buy it: https://www.lochmorcider.com/product-page/hopped-500ml

Kings Mill – Hopped (Still)

Want something a bit stronger? Kings Mill has a 9% still offering that can make holiday gatherings with families a bit easier if needed! With floral notes, its a very apple forward offering that allows you to get a full flavoured experience without having the carbonation to distract (but you can also get a carbonated version of this!). Very smooth, we see this being paired well with food so consider it for your Easter Ham or Turkey!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/kings-mill-hopped-still/

Buy it: https://kingsmillcider.company.site/HOPPED-Still-750mL-p190125486

 

Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped

Who said that dry-hopped ciders couldn’t be flavoured with other fun stuff as well? Considering certain types of hops give off fruit notes, it pairs very well with added fruit juices. Coffin Ridge created a wonderful cider here, bursting with tropical fruit flavours, including orange, pineapple, mango and more. This cider does contain a decent amount of hops, so it is more bitter than the standard offerings, but it balances so well with the sweetness of the fruits inside. A full flavoured, fresh fruit-punch experience, it will make you think of the sunny Spring days ahead!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/coffin-ridge-tropical-hopped/

Buy it: https://www.coffinridge.ca/collections/cider/products/tropical-hopped

By in News 0

Ways to Help Cideries during the COVID-19 Crisis

Obviously these are uneasy times with the COVID-19 pandemic that will see every person and industry affected in varying ways, and our thoughts are with everyone during these challenging and unpredictable times.

One of the main economic victims so far has been and will continue to be small businesses – many of which include your favourite small craft cideries – through the loss of sales, canceling various planned events, amongst other factors.

While not everyone may be able to support these cideries at this time because of economy worry and strain, we wanted to provide a list of ways you can help support your cidery during these weeks and months to ensure their continued longevity if you are able:

  1. Don’t visit them if you are sick! As they are local hubs, they can see many people during a day, so they could be a source of spread.
  2. If you plan to visit in person, call/check online to see if your cidery is even open. Many are not open for the season yet and some have restricted hours in response for social distancing
  3. Order online if they have a virtual store. Check out our cidery services listing at cidersofontario.com to see who will ship directly to you!
  4. Don’t expect free samples at this time if you do visit. Many cideries and businesses have temporarily suspended sampling programs to avoid cross-contamination
  5. Wash/sterilize your hands before you make a purchase from them at their retail store or farmers market – and if you just go to a local bar for a pint.
  6. Some cideries offer growler pours of their product from their retail store. As the use of reusable containers/bags are being suspended at many businesses at this time, don’t bring in your own growler. Rent a new container for the time being if they are still offering these services.
  7. If applicable, buy gift cards! You may not want product now, but maybe after the dust settles for this pandemic, you can use the cards while the business gets the money now.
  8. Promote your favourite ciders on social media! Keep the chatter going about these brands and provide reviews.
  9. Don’t hoard! It may be tempting to buy cases of products from retail and grocery stores and the LCBO but you aren’t the only cider fan and maybe we all need a cold cider to get through these long, challenging days at home!
  10. If you’re stuck inside, it might be a good time to review your cider collections. Consider drinking canned ciders that may have a ‘best drank by’ date coming up soon (or even if they are past, still totally safe to drink!) and maybe if you’re like us, drink some vintages that are a few years old (we have too many years-old ice ciders ourselves!)
  11. Email/comment to your favourite cideries how much you appreciate their product! Cidermakers and their staff are not immune to the emotional strain of these uneasy times, so your comments could make their day
  12. Plan a trip to visit many of these cideries when the crisis has settled regardless. And plan your trip using cidersofontario.com!

Always follow the latest advice from local, provincial and national health care agencies, and visit Canada.ca/coronavirus for the latest news.

Stay safe fellow cider lovers! We want to continue our discussions and love of cider for many years to come with you all!

 

BONUS: See some of the ciders that offer shipping!

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.