The Cider Crate

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The Cider Crate Top 5 New Ciders We Tried Spring 2021

We try a lot of ciders here at The Cider Crate – so we want to give seasonal recognition to the top 5 we have every 3 months. In no particular order, here they are!

 

  1. Kings Mill – Russet Heritage
  2. FieldBird – Black Barred Charmat Perry
  3. Steel Town – Planet of the Pies
  4. Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry Cyder
  5. Loch Mór – Savvy Pomme

Kings Mill – Russet Heritage

If you want a down-to-earth, traditional apple cider that packs a lot of punch, the Russet Heritage by Kings Mill is for you. We think this would appeal from the new to the very experienced cider drinker as its approachable and clean but with a good depth and tannin level to satisfy. Smooth, juicy and crisp, its hard to believe only one variety of apple went into making this!

Tasting notes: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/kings-mill-russet-heritage/

Buy it: Kings Mill Website

FieldBird – Black Barred Charmat Perry (2019)

FieldBird is quickly showing us they are the royalty of perry making here in Ontario and the Black Barred made with a variety of pears continues with this reign of excellency. Being very funky and sour, it is a bit more dank to start with the pears becoming more juicy and clean into the finish. The strong carbonation makes it more elevated too and seems to really help the pear flavours pop. One of the juiciest, most natural pear-forward offerings we’ve had.

Tasting notes: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/fieldbird-black-barred-2019/

Buy it: FieldBird Website

Steel Town – Planet of the Pies

Steel Town is a favourite of ours because they constantly deliver on well crafted, sour and funky cider experiences – something that hasn’t been done too much yet here in Ontario. Their Planet of the Pies is actually one of their most smooth and mellow offerings on this front, but is is still jammed pack with fruity flavour. It’s basically a strawberry milkshake in a bottle, having juicy, muddled strawberries, with a strong creamy vanilla finish. So dreamy and perfect for summer.

Tasting notes: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/steel-town-planet-of-the-pies/

Buy it: Steel Town Website 

Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry Cyder

In a world of commercial cider offerings sometimes exceeding 75g/l of sugar added, Duntroon has stepped up with a 0g/l offering that doesn’t skimp on the flavour or intrigue. Bursting with crisp empire apples, this bright yet dry offering has a long lingering flavour profile and it deeply refreshes. Very clean, its nothing but the apple flavour in this one!

Tasting notes: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/duntroon-empire-extra-dry/

Buy it: LCBO & Duntroon Website

Loch Mór – Savvy Pomme

Our third single varietal cider to make the list, the Savvy Pomme by Loch Mór Cider is a delightful artisan cider that may surprise you with the taste! While made with a variety of pomme gris apples, it actually comes across as having a dry pineapple flavour! This cider is smooth and mostly dry, tannic but not gritty and sparkling but not too carbonated. Very balanced and elevated if you ask us.

Tasting notes: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/loch-mor-savvy-pomme/

Buy it: Loch Mór Website

 

See our 2021 Winter Picks: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/the-cider-crate-top-5-new-ciders-we-tried-winter-2021/

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Our Top 5 Strawberry-Forward Ciders for Spring 2021

Strawberry season is a mood of its own, but always too short of a season overall. With June promising juicy berries, we thought to shine some light on our favourite strawberry-forward ciders!

Heritage Estate – Eden’s Apple Strawberry

We aren’t sure how Heritage Estate got a strawberry shortcake in a can, but this cider is a creamy and dreamy treat! With sweet strawberries and delightful creamy vanilla notes, its incredibly smooth and goes down a bit too quick. The apple notes are slightly crisp, but the strawberry is the true star here.

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/heritage-estate-edens-apple-strawberry/

Buy it: LCBO & Heritage Estates Retail

Heeman’s – Berry Blush Cider

One sip of this and it will transport you to spring, no matter the season you are in! With a hint of tart raspberry, the Berry Blush is mostly a strawberry focused experience to us, with the fruit being very balanced and prominent throughout the flavour journey.

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/heeman-berryblush/

Buy it: Heeman’s Retail Store

Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb

Kings Mill loves to use ingredients grown in their garden so the produce is always fresh and responsibly grown. This is again true with their Strawberry Rhubarb cider that is labeled as a ‘live’ cider so keep it cold to maintain it at its best before consuming. A very fun cider, its balanced, light and with creamy strawberries and a hint of tartness from the rhubarb. Summer in a glass? Yes, please!

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/kings-mill-strawberry-rhubarb/

Buy it: Kings Mill Retail Store

Reinhart’s – Strawberry Hibiscus

A ingredient that screams spring to us is hibiscus. The hibiscus is nicely paired with the strawberry here, with the sweet and the tangy elements being rather complimentary to one another. As well, the strawberries taste a bit muddled and thick, making this stand out from other offerings. Overall, Reinhart’s made a very approachable cider perfect for carefree sunny sipping.

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/reinharts-strawberry-hibiscus/

Buy it: LCBO

Archibalds – Strawberry Lime

Archibald’s is bringing the strawberry juiciness with this dessert-focused cider! Great on its own or after a meal as a sweet treat, it delivers on the promised strawberry and lime titular flavours. The strawberries taste incredibly fresh like they were just picked and pressed today! The lime adds a nice tang at the finish to help define and add layers to the cider. A true treat for those with sweet teeth!

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/archibalds-strawberry-lime/

Buy it: Archibald’s Retail Store 

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Our Top 5 Floral Infused Ciders for Spring 2021

Ah Spring… warming weather, cute animals and of course, the flowers are blooming all around! One of the more unique type of ingredients we’ve seen being added to ciders – especially lately – are flowers! We picked our top 5 floral infused ciders to celebrate the rebirth that Spring can bring.

Duntoon Cyder House – Sumac

Sumac is a very common flavouring ingredient in Middle Eastern food but it hasn’t really made it much to North America in food or cider yet. With Duntroon’s Sumac, you are introduced to this flavour and flowering plant in a thoughtful and brilliant manner. Very dry, it has a unique lemony forwardness to it, with touches of tannins and floral notes that intrigue and satisfy. Bonus points for the sumac originating on the Duntroon Estate as well.

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/duntroon-sumac/

Buy it: https://my-site-102138-100343.square.site/product/sumac/207?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false

Grey & Gold – Wildflower

Made with organic chamomile, wild chamomile and other wildflowers foraged at the Grey & Gold estate, this is a very mellow and chilled cider – maybe one to drink right before bed to get the calming effects of chamomile! It’s a very smooth cider overall and the softest cider we’ve had from Grey & Gold so far. A great and unique offering!

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/grey-gold-wildflower/

Buy it: https://greyandgoldcider.com/products/

Clafeld – Rose Hip

One of the more original floral offerings here in Ontario, Clafeld’s Rose Hip has been a staple offering of theirs for a few years now. With a bouquet of rose and rose hips flavours, its a rather dry offering, as it is also has some wine infused into it as well. Its a sort of romantic cider if you ask us!

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/clafeld-rose-hip/

Buy it: https://www.waupooswinery.com/product/rose-hip/

Crimson – Lavender Buds

There is just something about lavender that can put you in a good mood. This is exactly what its like to drink the Lavender Buds by Crimson Cider. Made with locally sourced lavender, the Crimson team did not skimp out on this ingredient when they made this cider. Bold and unapologetic, you definitely have to be a lavender fan to enjoy this, but if you are, its going to become a mild obsession.

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/crimson-cider-lavender-buds/

Buy it: https://www.crimsoncidercompany.com/shop-1

Thornbury – Blueberry Elderflower

This one has developed a bit of a cult following and we see why! A creamy blend of blueberries with a soft but natural elderflower taste make for easy springtime consumption. It recently made its return back to the LCBO after a bit of a hiatus so grab it quick if you see it!

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/thornbury-blueberry-elderflower-apple-cider/

Buy it: https://thornburycraft.com/shop-cider/

 

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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://staging2.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://staging2.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://staging2.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://staging2.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://staging2.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

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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 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/

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/ernest-rose-cider-spritzer/

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://staging2.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/

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/no-boats-on-sunday-peach/

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://staging2.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/

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/collective-arts-blood-orange-cranberry/

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

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/lost-craft-dry-rose/

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

Our review: https://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/duntroon-empire-extra-dry/

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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://staging2.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://staging2.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://staging2.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://staging2.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://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/west-avenue-spontaneity/

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

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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://staging2.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://staging2.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://staging2.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://staging2.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://staging2.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/coffin-ridge-tropical-hopped/

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

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The Cider Crate – Best of 2020

Fortunately there were still some bests’ in 2020!  Here are our favs.

~Bethany and Barry

Top 5 Overall

  1. Cold Creek – Cuvée Madeline
  2. FieldBird – 2018 Perry Sur Lie
  3. Banjo – Rouge
  4. East Street – Harvest Botanical
  5. Farmgate – Mulled

Top 5 – Apple

  1. Cold Creek – Cuvée Madeline
  2. Banjo – Dueling Banjos
  3. Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider
  4. Front Road – Lakeside Cider
  5. Steel Town – Salvaje

Top 5 – Fruit Flavoured / Perry

  1. FieldBird – 2018 Perry Sur Lie
  2. Banjo – Rouge
  3. Revel – Pom Lam (Perry)
  4. Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb
  5. Hard Way – Catawampus

Top 5 – Herbed/Spiced/Hopped

  1. East Street – Harvest Botanical
  2. Farmgate – Mulled
  3. Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice Cider
  4. Slabtown – Watermelon Thyme
  5. Loch Mór  – Hopped

Top Fortified Ciders

  1. Loch Mór – Pommeau
  2. West Avenue – North by West Ice Cider
  3. Georgian Hills – Frozen to the Core Bartlett (2014)
  4. County Cider – Prince Edward County Ice Cider

Top Wines

  1. Hinterland – Ancestral 
  2. Pelee Island – Mousseux de Pomme
  3. Garland Sugar Shack – Maple Wine

Top 5 – Beers (Bethany)

  1. Bellwoods – Battenberg Cake Stout
  2. Short Finger – Fargo
  3. Fair Weather – Fonso
  4. Blood Brothers – Razzle Dazzle
  5. Dominion City – Small Imperial Stout w/ Pistachios

Top 5 – Beers (Barry – No order)

  • Bellwoods – Battenberg Cake Stout
  • Blood Brothers vs. Collective Arts – Feed Your Gods
  • Fairweather – Beki
  • Blood Brothers – Angelo Della Morte
  • Farmery – Pink Lemonade

Cidery of the Year

  • Banjo Cider

Runners Up 

  • Bulwark Cider
  • East Street Cider Co.
  • Slabtown Cider 

Top Ciders Outside of Ontario

  1. Bulwark (NS) – Winter
  2. Fleuri Cidres Biologiques (QC) – Hyslop 
  3. Cidrerie Milton (QC) – Première Station No. 1

Top LCBO Releases

  1. KW Craft Mixpack 
  2. Pommies – Mimosa
  3. Brickworks – The Purple Road
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The Cider Crate – Best of 2019

As we come to the end of the decade (and half of it, us doing cider stuff), we have a chance to share some of our favourite moments of the past 365 days!

~Bethany and Barry

Cider Crate Combined: Top 5 Bottles/Cans

  1. Cider 101 – Dr Peppercorn With Cherry
  2. Niagara Cider Company – No. 1 Dry Apple Cider
  3. County Cider – Blackberry Peach
  4. Burst Cider – Atoca (Cranberry)
  5. Archibald’s – Hard Ginger

 

Bethany’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped
  2. Farmgate – Founders Reserve
  3. Duntroon – Raindance
  4. Niagara Cider – Dry No. 1

Barry’s personal preferences (In no order)

  1. Revel – Coral
  2. Thornbury – Blueberry Elder flower
  3. East Street – Harvest Botanical
  4. Sulkers – Equinox

Cidery of the Year-

Niagara Cider Company
Runner Up –
Hardway Cider Co.

 

Favourite Non-Ontario

Rootstock Cider Co – Belgian (Rochester, NY)

Beers!

Bethany (In no order)

  1. Fairweather – Drift
  2. Bench – Henry On Cherries
  3. Blood Brothers – Presto Change-O

Favourite Brewery – Fairweather

Barry (In no order)

  1. Bellwood – Jellyking Blackbery Raspberry
  2. Whitewater – Pineapple Pomegranate
  3. Whitewater – Dawn Partrole
  4. Founders – Green Zibra

Favourite Brewery – Whitewater / Les Brasseurs du Temps (Tie)

Favourite Bar

Elgin Beer Project
Runner Up: Her Fathers Cider Bar

 

So that was 2019.  We also have our Map of Ontario!  Check it out and where/how you can sample our favourites!

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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

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The Cider Crate – Best of 2018

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

~Bethany and Barry

Cider Crate Combined: Top 5 Bottles/Cans

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

Bethany’s personal preferences (In order)

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

Barry’s personal preferences (In order)

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

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

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

Bethany’s personal preferences (In order)

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

Barry’s personal preferences (In order)

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

Cidery of the Year-

Fieldbird Cider 
Runner Up –
 Revel

Break-out Cidery of the Year

Kings Mill Cider Company
Runner Up – Heartwood Farm and Cidery

Bethany PreferenceEast Street Cider Co
Barry Preference Kings Mill Cider Company

Favourite Non-Ontario

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

Favourite Cider Event

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

 

Favourite Bar

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

 

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

By in Best of, News 0

The Cider Crate – Best of 2017

So as we come to the end of 2017, 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!

~Bethany and Barry

Cider Crate Combined: Top 5 Bottles/Cans

401 Cider Company – The Gatsby
Brickworks – Mint and Basil
Heritage Estates – Dragon’s Gold
Hinterland Cider – Sparkling Cherry
Sea Cider Farm and Cidery – Birds and The Bees

Bethany’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. 401 Cider Company – The Gatsby
  2. Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Hopped Dry Cider
  3. Creekside Estate Winery – Rood Apples

Barry’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. Sea Cider – Birds and The Bees
  2. 401 Cider Company – The Gatsby
  3. Fraser Valley – Elderflower

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

California Cider Company – Ace Pineapple [Her Fathers]
County Cider Co. – Blackberry Sage [Elgin Beer Project]
Revel – Tepeche [Union 613, Brother Beer Bistro]
Steel Town Cider Co. – Guav as Fuck [Toronto Cider Festival]
Sulkers Cider – Kombucha [Craft Coyote]

Bethany’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. Revel – Emergent Property [Union 613]
  2. Revel – Forks Not Spoons [Brothers Beer Bistro]
  3. Spirit Tree – Hopped [Toronto Cider Festival]

Barry’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. Garage D’or – Hailstorm [The Wolly]
  2. Revel – Tepeche [Union 613, Brother Beer Bistro]
  3. BX Press Cardamom BlackCurrant [Devil’s Elbow Ale and Smokehouse]

Cidery of the Year-

Revel Cider Co.
Runner Up401 Cider Company

Break-out Cidery of the Year

Sulkers Cider
Runner Up – Steel Town Cider Co.

Bethany Preference26 Acre Craft Cider Company
Barry Preference Garage D’or

Favourite Non-Ontario

Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse (Victoria BC)
101 Cider House (California, USA)

Favourite Cider Event

Toronto Cider Festival
Runner Up – County Brewmaster in Ottawa

Favourite Apple Drink

Nickel Brook – Green Apple Beer

Favourite Bar

Brother Beer Bistro (Ottawa)
Runner Up – The Cider House (Toronto)