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Pierre Huet – Cidre Bouché Brut

Cider Profile:

Name: Pierre Huet – Cidre Bouché Brut
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Calvados Pierre Huet
Type: Apple – French Cidre
Location of Brewing: Cambremier, France
ABV: 4.5%
Website Link: calvados-huet.com/gb
Ingredients: Apples, yeast, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: LCBO Vintages + LCBO online store
(Chalk, Slate Gravel import)

Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent, rustic orange
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet, caramelized, pulpy bittersweet apples. Cellar/musty notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite, but quickly thick. Heavy and rich bittersweet apples that are caramelized. Underlying astringency that is dull. Syrupy golden apples with some mild tart notes.
After Taste: Apple remains similar, becomes slightly more dry. Cellar/aged/musty notes come through. Long lingering elements.
On ice: Much thinner. Reduced flavour. Less sweet.

Additional Notes:  Pierre Huet’s Cidre Bouché Brut is a rustic, aged beauty that can mentally transport you to an old world cellar. Very rich, it’s got a thick mouthfeel that is syrupy and leaves a film. Heavy bittersweet apples define this with caramelized notes, amongst some mild crab apple hints. Tastes very aged, with sharp cellar notes that taste like damp wood but trust us, if you’re a fan like us, its very delicious. Dry mouthfeel that is gritty and long lingering.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 3
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Kupela -Bizia Semi-Dry
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose 2019
More Dry – Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony 
More Crisp – Heemans – New Traditions

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Clafeld – Russet Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Clafeld – Russet
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Clafeld Cider House 
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 8.5%
Website Link: waupooswinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 5g/L

Size(s) available: 500ml & 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Clafeld Retail or Waupoos Winery
Online Store

Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent light golden yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright and clean apple. Semi sweet smelling with some smokiness.  Juicy.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Bitter sharp and bright Russet apple. Clean to start but gets smokier. A lot of alcoholic and tannic peel notes. 
After Taste: Becomes less apple focused in the aftertaste.  Slightly drier. Semi-clean finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation, less apple.

Additional Notes:  Part of the single varietal series put out by Clafeld Cider House, the Russet is a bright, bitter sharp offering that has a slight smokiness to it (as is somewhat common with single varietals from the Russet).  Grippingly tannic (slightly sour with peel elements), it’s still a little smoother and easier to consume than other russet offerings we’ve enjoyed. Balanced and apple forward, though it still tastes rather alcoholic at 8.5%.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 3
Crisp – 4
Dry – 3.5
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Windswept – Crimson Crisp (2017)
More Sour – Farmgate – Wild Child
More Dry – Loch Mor – Golden Russet
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Cider

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Duntroon – Shaker Hill Blush

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Shaker Hill Blush
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Apple – Rosé
Location of Brewing: Duntroon, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: duntrooncyderhouse.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Duntroon retail and online stores
Flavour: Rosé
Colour:  Translucent orange-rust
Carbonation: Fine, streaming bubbles. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pulpy apples. Slightly sulphuric elements.  Some rose notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity and some carbonation.  Strong, puckering sour tannic apples that have dry and peel elements. Some lemon elements.
After Taste: Once carbonation reduces, becomes more gritty and drier.  Has lots of red apple peel notes. Slightly woody in the aftertaste.
On ice: Thinner, less carbonation.  

Additional Notes:  The Shaker Hill Blush by Duntroon Cyder House is a smooth but sour experience.  Dry with a lot of tannic notes, its sour, earthy and very red apple peel focused.  A lot of red apple and lemon elements make this puckering but not overwhelming.  Mild rosé notes that have a strawberry lemonade vibe.  Quite a similar sustained sour throughout the flavour journey. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 4.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 4
Fruity – 4 

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heemans – Berry Blush
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose (2019)
More Dry – Revel – Whimsy (2020)
More Crisp – East Street – Harvest Botanical 

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Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose 2019
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Type: Apple – Crabapple
Location of Brewing: Caledon, ON
ABV: 7.5%
Website Link: spirittreecider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Spirit Tree Retail and Online Stores
Flavour: Crabapple
Colour:  Transparent rust
Carbonation: Small, frequently-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Syrupy notes, with tart crab apple and lots of maple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Starts with a blend of bittersweet apple, with some acidic notes and sour elements. Thick, syrupy mouthfeel and flavour.
After Taste: Sour intensity builds and builds and becomes puckering + wincing.  Any sweetness is removed by this point. Long lingering.  The sour elements are dry and tannic. Rosé elements are more present in the finish. Gritty mouthfeel.
On ice: Waters it down.

Additional Notes:  The Spirit Tree Crabapple Rose is an intense cider.  It starts semi-sweet and builds to extremely sour, tannic and dry.  This offering has both sour and rosé elements, being very apple forward.  On-ice helps to cut some of the intensity, but still very strong.  Red peel notes are very dominant. Very puckering and sour, it builds in intensity for a long time, every sip. However, you do become accustomed to the sourness, but absolutely one of – if not the most – sour cider we’ve had.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Rosé Cider
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Heeman’s – Berry Blush

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Two Blokes – Golden Mile

Cider Profile:

Name: Two Blokes Cider – Golden Mile (Golden Russet)
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Two Blokes Cider
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Port Perry, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: twoblokes.ca
Ingredients: Cider, honey, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Two Blokes Online and Retail Shop
Flavour: Golden Russet
Colour:  Transparent, light-golden yellow.
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Pulpy, semi-acidic and tart apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Gritty, semi-sweet, pulpy apples with some bitter notes.  Very crisp with some nutty, honey and pear hints. A forward but balanced acidity.
After Taste: Becomes slightly drier as time passes with a long lingering aftertaste. More peel notes in the aftertaste. Honey additives become more obvious.
On ice: Watered down and less sweet.

Additional Notes: The Golden Mile by Two Blokes Cider Is an unfiltered single-varietal Golden Russet offering. It is dry, nutty and very crisp.  With a lot of peel notes, it’s got some pear-like elements and is long lasting.  A lot of flavour overall, though watered-down on ice.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet
More Sour – West Avenue –Spontaneity
More Dry – Windswept – Cyser
More Crisp – East Street – Landmark Dry

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Grey & Gold – Highlander

Cider Profile:

Name: Grey & Gold – Highlander
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Grey & Gold Cider Company
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: Clarksberg, ON
ABV: 6.8%
Website Link: greyandgoldcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Grey & Gold online + retail stores
Flavour: Hops
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Juicy hops with bright, heritage apples. Some funk.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity. Strong funk notes. Bright apples. Juicy citra hop notes that are lemony and sharp.
After Taste: Apple base slowly dwindles. Woody, earthy and acetic. Unique nuttiness. Ends dry with lingering wild notes.
On ice: Reduced flavours except it is slightly more hopped forward. Less sour.

Additional Notes:  The Highlander by Grey & Gold is a hopped cider but with a wild twist. Starting off with some strong funk notes, it makes way for some citra hopped notes that quickly come and dissipate. There is a bright apple base that remains the same the entire journey. Near the finish, the funkiness accelerates with woody and nutty notes appearing that linger awhile into and past the finish. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Ardiel – Big John Hopped

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West Avenue – Frequin Rouge

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Frequin Rouge
Sampled January 2021

Brand: West Avenue Cider House
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Flamborough, ON
ABV: 5.8%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: West Ave Online and retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Cloudy pumpkin orange/brown.
Carbonation: Small streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Cellar notes with earthy and metallic hints. Crab apple-like notes forward.
Initial Taste: Medium sensation from acidity. Sour crabapple notes. Strong musty, cellared notes. Apricot hints.
After Taste: Acidity dwindles. Becomes slightly smoother and slightly sweeter. Very dry finish. Gritty and heavy mouth feel. Tart rhubarb-like hints.
On ice: Ice waters down the flavour and mouth feel. Crisper and smoother.

Additional Notes:  Frequin Rouge is indeed a very old world style cider as the can promises, with strong mustiness and cellar tastes, amongst the sour apples we believe are at least partially crab apples. This cider is very dry, not only in sugar content/sweetness but in the way it leaves your mouth, feeling very thick, gritty and heavy. Kind of a Normandy cidre meets Basque sidra flavour profile wise. Has a unique rhubarb note to finish. Not terribly apple forward, more fermentation element oriented.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Duxbury – Sideroad
More Sour – Revel – Whimsy (2020)
More Dry – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose
More Crisp – Two Blokes – Lost Orchard (2019)

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No Boats on Sunday – Mixed Berry

Cider Profile:

Name: No Boats on Sunday – Mixed Berry
Sampled March 2021

Brand: No Boats on Sunday
Type:
Flavoured – Mixed berry
Location of Brewing:
Grimsby, ON
ABV:
5.0%
Website Link:
noboatscider.com
Ingredients:
Apple cider, water, sugar, malic acid, natural flavour, potassium sorbate, potassium metabisulphate, colour
Gluten Free: 
N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability:
The Wine Shop (Ontario)
Flavour:
Mixed berry
Colour:
Translucent fuchsia
Carbonation:
Small, infrequent bubbles.  Appears almost still.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fresh, crushed berries with some wine and sweet apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Light mixed berries (strawberry, raspberry, and some blueberry) with a smooth, dessert apple. Slight alcoholic taste that balances with sweet notes. Very sweet.
After Taste:  Dissipates very quick. Reduction in berry flavours and finishes with a light, sweet, juicy apple flavour that is slightly sweet with a little film in the mouth.
On ice:  Carbonation is cut. Less alcoholic taste.

Additional Notes:  The Mixed Berry by No Boats On Sunday – although not listing berries in the ingredients – is a balance between the apple and berry aspects but not balanced when it comes to the sweet factor, it’s pretty high.  Dessert apple forward, it’s sweet and clean with some red fruit flavours.  A mild alcohol taste but it’s easy to drink for the average consumer.  Sweeter than the rest of the product line with less apple flavour.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Chill Street – Berry Naughty
More Sour – Ernest – Bumbleberry Cider
More Dry – Bulwark – Blush
More Crisp – Heeman’s – Berry Blush

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Heeman’s – Berry Blush

Cider Profile:

Name: Heeman’s – Berry Blush
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Heeman’s Hard Apple Cider
Type: Flavoured – Mixed berry
Location of Brewing: Thorndale, ON
ABV: 5.0%
Website Link: heeman.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Heeman retail and online store
Flavour: Mixed Berry
Colour: Transparent vivid-red
Carbonation: Infrequent large streaming bubbles.  


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell:  Mild aroma. Juicy mixed berry with strawberry and semi-tart raspberry.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Strong, juicy strawberry and soft, smooth dessert apple – with creamy raspberry.
After Taste: Raspberry dissipates and apples slightly reduced. Strawberry becomes more predominant and lingers a long time. 
On ice: Strawberry reduced a lot for a more balanced flavour profile.  A lot weaker overall.

Additional Notes:   The Berry Blush Hard Apple Cider by Heeman’s is a light but flavourful offering. It’s strawberry forward, with lots of juicy and creamy strawberry elements.  Softer, pulpy dessert apples make a flavourful base that’s accompanied by some tart raspberries that leave it balanced and not overly sweet.  A lot of flavour that lasts a long time. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heritage Estates – Eden’s Apple Strawberry
More Sour – Spy Cider – Crimson Tide
More Dry – Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb
More Crisp – Reinhart’s – Strawberry Hibiscus

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Hoity Toity – 283 Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Hoity Toity Cellars – 283 Cider
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Hoity Toity Cellars
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Mildmay, ON
ABV: 6.0%
Website Link: www.hoitytoitycellars.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Retail store only
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Large bubbles on glass


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright crisp apples that are sweet and juicy. Hint of fermentation notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Smooth, sweet juicy apples, bright and clean.  
After Taste: Become slightly more sour/tart and less sweet, fermentation notes become present.  Finished somewhat more dry and clean. Lingers a long time.
On ice: A little thinner.

Additional Notes:  The 283 by Hoity Toity cellars is a bright, clean and juicy cider that is on the sweeter side of things.  It’s naturally sweet and crisp – with some mild sour/tart notes at the end.  A blend of dessert apples (green, red and yellow notes we could taste) with a bit of fermentation elements at the end.  It has some memories of a white wine, which Hoity Toity also produces. Lots of flavour and body in this one.  Very classic, clean traditional cider. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 3
Crisp – 4.5
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Draught Cider
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet

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Farmgate – North Road

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate – North Road
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Farmgate Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Arnprior, ON
ABV: 6.3%
Website Link: farmgatecider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Farmgate online store, local farmers markets
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Pale bright-yellow
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pulpy sweet apples. Some fermentation notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Smooth, bright apples.  Slight tanginess but light mouthfeel, with some acidity. Hints of beeswax.
After Taste: Becomes a little less clean in the aftertaste with some funky elements.  Remains dry. Slight film. 
On ice: Elements slightly reduced and thinner. 

Additional Notes:  The North Road by Farmgate Cider Co. is a bright offering with some funkiness in the aftertaste.  It’s pulpy and fresh, quite crisp and a pretty flavourful apple offering.  A smoother cider than most of the other offerings from Farmgate, but still has a common taste with its brethren. Approachable, a good introduction cider for new Farmgate drinkers.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 4
Dry – 3.5
Fruity – 3

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Batch 1904 Cider
More Sour – Steel Town Cider – Salvaje (Pet Nat)
More Dry – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)
More Crisp –

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Crimson Cider – Perfect Matcha

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson Cider – Perfect Matcha
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Crimson Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Tea
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: crimsoncidercompany.com 
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Crimson online + retail store
Flavour: Matcha green tea
Colour:  Translucent fluorescent green
Carbonation: Large semi-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Crisp, acidity, fleshy apples. Hint of earthy green tea.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick acidic and crisp apples that are semi-bright. Lime notes.
After Taste: Apples become cleaner, slightly juicier. Some natural and earthy matcha flavour notes come out to finish. Slight film.
On ice: Slightly thinner mouthfeel.

Additional Notes:  Crimson Cider’s Perfect Matcha is a light profile cider that is easy to consume. With a more mild matcha profile than anticipated, it’s not too overpowering but as a result it may not satisfy tea connoisseurs looking for more of a matcha experience. Being a mostly apple driven cider, it’s crisp, acidic and smooth with bright fleshy apple notes throughout.  The tea flavour does become a slight bit stronger near the finish due to the natural settling of the powdered tea. The green colouring is hypnotizing. Remember to gently shake before consumption.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 3.5
Crisp – 4
Dry – 3.5
Fruity –  3

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Clafeld – London Fog
More Sour – County – Elderflower Sour
More Dry – Steeltown – Daga Carmesi
More Crisp – 

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Busl – Cerasus

Cider Profile:

Name: Busl – Cerasus
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Busl Cider
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Mallorytown, ON
ABV: 4.5%
Website Link: buslcider.com
Ingredients: Cider, cherry juice, sugar cane, honey.
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Busl online + retail stores
Flavour: Cherry
Colour: Translucent ruby red
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Sweet and semi-tart cherry. Some bright apple notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Bright dessert apples emerge quickly, with some cherry notes. Semi-dry but not sweet. Semi-thick mouthfeel.
After Taste: Apple dissipates and leaves a stronger cherry element. Cherry notes become a bit medicinal in nature but smooth. Lingers a long time.
On ice: Dramatic drop in cherry flavour.

Additional Notes:  Busl Cider’s Cerasus is a cherry infused cider that is on the thicker side!   It does start out primarily apple forward as it transitions to pretty much all cherry in the end. The cherry flavours are a bit dynamic, starting off more dry and tart and becoming more candied and medicinal tasting in the finish that lingers awhile. Don’t add ice to this one, you will miss a lot of the flavour. Enhanced cherry in the 2020 version compared to previous years.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Cherry Apple
More Sour – County – Feral
More Dry – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
More Crisp – KW Craft – Wild Cherry

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Spirit Tree – 10th Anniversary Estate Reserve

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – 10th Anniversary Estate Reserve 
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Spirit Tree Estate Cider
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Caledon, On
ABV: 8%
Website Link:
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) Available:750ml (bottle)
Availability: Limited – Spirit Tree Estate retail and online 
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent, golden apple
Carbonation: Infrequent, mixed-size streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Bright apples with crab and bittersweet notes
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Bright, semi-sweet apples with some tannic elements. Slightly sour/tart but very clean. Tannins and crab apple flavours.
After Taste: Apple dissipates and is slightly sweeter, but also has some pulp elements.  Lingers a long time, with a bit of film.
On ice: Slightly more astringent. A touch less flavour.

Additional Notes:  Celebrating a decade of operations, Spirit Tree Estate Cider – 10th Anniversary Estate Reserve Cider is a bright cider with bitter sharp elements, that is slightly sweeter than we thought it would be.  Decently clean for the style, this tannic and apple forward offering has a long lingering aftertaste. Apples are very rustic, bittersweet and gripping on the palate. Some crab and bittersharp hints in there too. We applaud Spirit Tree Estate as one of the original cider makers in Ontario, and their experience really shows in this soon to be classic. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Waupoos Original Premium
More Sour – Revel – Time and Place
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Crisp Apple

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Shale Ridge – Crisp Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Crisp Apple
Sampled November 2020

Brand: Shale Ridge Estate Winery
Type: Apple
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: shaleridgewinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Via Shale Ridge retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent Yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fresh juicy, bittersharp apples
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Medium apple with some bitter-sharp notes. Crisp and slightly tangy.
After Taste: Carbonation exits rapidly. Some stone fruit elements in aftertaste.  Becomes more dry, but cleans out somewhat quickly. Some banana-ester-like notes.
On ice: Less carbonation. Little other change.

Additional Notes:  The Crisp Apple by Shale Ridge, is very crisp and pleasantly simple. Very clean, and mostly bittersharp-apple focused (not too sweet, slightly tangy) with some acidic notes, the offering is a great example of a very refreshing cider. A fizzy pour but a lighter mouthfeel overall.  

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 4.5
Dry – 3.5
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Queen Street 501
More Sour – Pommies – Farmhouse Cider
More Dry – Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp

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Rice Lake – Cranberry Dry Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Rice Lake – Cranberry Dry Cider
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Rice Lake Hard Cider
Type: Flavoured – Cranberry
Location of Brewing: Baltimore, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Fresh pressed sweet apple cider, pure cranberry juice,
natural cane sugar, malic acid, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Rice Lake Retail + Online Store
Flavour: Cranberry
Colour: Hazy rosy red
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Tart cranberry. Earthy, musty hints.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from carbonation that is slightly tingly. Infused tart, dry and natural cranberry. Fleshy and bitter-sharp apple flavours. Some musty and earthy apple elements.
After Taste: Cranberry becomes drier while apple weakens. Cranberry lingers awhile, becomes cleaner.
On ice: Reduced mouthfeel, carbonation and flavour.

Additional Notes:  Rice Lake’s Cranberry Dry cider delivers on its title, being a dry and natural cranberry experience. It tastes very infused and blended, and not like the gritty juice you drink on its own. The bitter-sharp apple base has a lot of elements, including being fleshy, musty and slightly crisp. A mild tartness but far from puckering. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 3
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 4
Fruity – 3

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Cranberry Apple
More Sour – Muskoka Lakes – Cliff Jump Cranberry
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Cranberry
More Crisp – Ernest – Rubee

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Chill St – Berry Naughty

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill St – Berry Naughty
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Chill Street Cider
Type: Flavoured – Strawberry and lime
Location of Brewing: Elmsdale, NS
ABV: 5.2%
Website Link: chillstreetcraftbeverageco.com
Ingredients: N/A 
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill St. retail and online store
Flavour: Strawberry lime
Colour: Transparent, light orange/peach
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet strawberry and candied dessert apple.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Light mouthfeel with sweet candied strawberry and supporting dessert apples.
After Taste: Apple dissipates with a slight film. Strawberry remains awhile. Some sweet lime present in the aftertaste.  Somewhat long lingering.
On ice: Reduced carbonation

Additional Notes:  The Berry Naughty by Chill Street Ciders is a light and sweet offering that is very strawberry forward with candied notes.  It’s bright, lightly carbonated and lingers a while in the mouth.  Comparable to some international brands like Rekorderlig & Kopparberg Strawberry Lime ciders.  

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4.5
Sour – 2
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 1.5
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –
More Sour – Annapolis Cider – Sour Cherry
More Dry – Bulwark – Blush
More Crisp – No Boats on Sunday – Dry Rosé

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Union Libre – Aronia

Cider Profile:

Name: Union Libre – Aronia
Sampled November 2020

Brand: Union Libre Cidre & Vin Inc
Type: Flavoured – Aronia Berries
Location of Brewing: Dunham, Quebec
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: unionlibre.com
Ingredients: Cider, aronia berries, sugar, yeast
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (bottle)
Availability: Quebec
Flavour: Aronia berries
Colour: Cloudy ruby grapefruit
Carbonation: Frequent, small streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Tart berry with pulpy, cellared apple, that is slightly acidic.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Dank and gritty berry taste, slightly acidic apple that rather muddled. Dry and earthy with some grapefruit notes.
After Taste: Becomes more earthy and dank.  Drier as time goes on, all apple elements removed.  Cleans out quickly except for the earthy notes.  
On ice: Reduces carbonation a lot, other elements pop more as a result.

Additional Notes:  The Aronia by Union Libre is a very dank and gritty flavoured offering made with the lesser known naturally tart aronia berries.  Earthy with very little apple, the aronia berries are present and unique in this unfiltered offering. Carbonation is fizzy and hides a lot of the elements, which are more present when on ice.  Very little apple in this unique offering. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coteau Rougemont – Fizz Framboise (Raspberry)
More Sour – Alma Cidre – Rosie
More Dry – 
More Crisp – McAdam – Cidre Urbain Dark Fruits

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Farmgate – Wild Child

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate – Wild Child
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Farmgate Cider
Type: Apple – Wild Ferment
Location of Brewing: Arnprior, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: farmgatecider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Farmgate Online Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent straw-yellow
Carbonation: Mixed, frequently streaming.  .



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Funky and earthy notes. Some bright apple elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Funk, farmhouse and fermentation notes mixed in amongst the bright apple base. Dessert apple notes, alongside some heritage/wild apple aspects.
After Taste: Apple cleans out pretty quick, leaving some lingering funky wild elements, including crab-apple-like notes. Some sulphuric and woody notes. 
On ice: Carbonation reduced, little difference.

Additional Notes:  The Wild Child by Farmgate Cider is a contrasting cider – a light, bright apple base with more intense funky elements.  Earthy with some wild crab apple flavours, it has some sulphuric hints and is quite heavy with fermentation notes. However, the apple base is light and more dessert focused. Raw yet still with bright apples, it still tastes a lot lighter than 7%.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Original Apple Cider
More Sour – Revel – Time and Place
More Dry – Kings Mill – Premium Dry
More Crisp – Flying Canoe – Hard Cider

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Clafeld – Fuji

Cider Profile:

Name: Clafeld – Fuji
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Clafeld Cider House
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 7.5%
Website Link:
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 5g/l

Size(s) available: 500ml + 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Clafeld retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Medium, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet juicy apple.  Clean with some traditional green-apple elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite, little carbonation.  Bright, juicy, bittersharp Fuji apple with a touch of tartness and acidity. Some tannins and both peel and flesh elements. Tangy and very natural tasting.
After Taste: Apple remains the same but slowly reduces. Becomes slightly drier and more peel-like elements become present. Decently clean. 
On ice: Less acidic and flavourful.

Additional Notes:  The Fuji by Clafeld is a single-varietal that has elements similar to the fruit, with with a touch of fermentation notes. Starts off bitter-sharp and bright, and finishes very peel-like in nature. Quite dry. Mild green apple notes. Light zippiness.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Domaine Cleroux – Nation’Spiked Sweet
More Sour – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Dry
More Crisp – Hounds of Erie – Best in Show

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Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Duntroon, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: duntrooncyderhouse.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Duntroon Retail and Online Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent, rustic yellow/orange
Carbonation: Large on glass,
small infrequently streaming bubbles 



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bittersweet apples. Hint of crab and tannic elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation, followed by strong, acidic, tannic and sour apples. Some earthy elements, pretty dry but still has a natural sweeter, slightly thicker-than-average cider base.
After Taste: Clears out quite quickly. Leaving just a dry mouth feel. Not much residual apple. 
On ice: Less apple forward, slightly less sweet.

Additional Notes:  The Bittersweet Symphony by Duntroon Cyder House is a unique, Ontario fusion take on combining elements from French and tannic, dry English cider styles. It’s got a strong acidic and tannic start, that quickly transitions to some earthy but sweet elements.  Somewhat thick, with a very short aftertaste leaving only a dry finish.  A lot going on in a short while, and defies what a typical dry cider is with the sweet elements still present.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Hounds of Erie – Best in Show
More Sour – West Ave – Spontaneity
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Hard Way – Renegade

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West Avenue – Spontaneity

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Spontaneity
Sampled February 2021

Brand: West Avenue Cider House
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Flamborough, ON
ABV: 7.8%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: West Avenue Online and Retail Store 
Flavour: Crab apple
Colour: Translucent, orange-yellow
Carbonation: Small, infrequently-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Tannic crab apple focused with some earthy notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Starts with a bright apple that quickly is overtaken by a strong sour and pungent wild tasting crab apple. Rather funky and earthy.
After Taste: Both sweet and crab apple notes dissipates, leaving more funky, earthy and almost grass-like elements. Some fermentation notes and lemon-like notes linger.
On ice: A little softer. Less forcefulness but similar flavour profile.

Additional Notes:  The Spontaneity by West Avenue Cider House has three distinct phases: 1) a quick, bright apple that is dramatically taken over by 2) a sour and tangy wild crab apple taste that is punchy and puckering (we winced). As the apple dissipates, it leaves 3) more funky and earthy fermentation elements, with hints of citrus like lemon.  A very funky sour and wild flavour. Not a beginner cider, something to progressively work towards in our opinion (worth the work though!).

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 5
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 4.5
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Two Blokes – Lost Orchard (2019)
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)

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Spirit Tree – Apple Cranberry Cider Spritzer

Cider Profile:

Name:   Spirit Tree – Apple Cranberry Cider Spritzer
Sampled February 2020

Brand: Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Type:
Apple – Light
Location of Brewing:
Caledon, ON
ABV:
2.5%
Website Link:
spirittreecider.ca
Ingredients:
Carbonated apple cider, cranberry juice, potassium sorbate
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability:
At Spirit Tree retail store
Flavour:
Apple + Cranberry
Colour:
Transparent, Rose gold
Carbonation:
Small, frequently streaming bubbles. Some foam, especially when poured.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet rosé aroma with some must. Some apple and cranberry notes.
Initial Taste: No bite but slightly tingly. Quickly sweet with some acidity. Tart but mellow cranberry flavours quickly noticeable. Sweet apple flavours quite prominent. Somewhat tangy.
After Taste: Cranberry and apple flavours continue strong. Remains sweet. Slight mustiness and earthy notes. Crisp, light finish.
On ice: Thins out drink. Makes it more watery/juice-like.

Additional Notes: Spirit Tree’s Apple Cranberry Cider Spritzer is exactly as promised. Its light in feel but not in taste. With a mostly singular flavour journey, it starts similar to how to it finishes. Very full bodied, it is slightly tart from the cranberries – with the apples adding the sweetness. A tingly, light carbonation fit well into the spritzer scheme of alcoholic drinks. At 2.5%, it is unique amongst current cider offerings in Ontario and could be a more responsible choice.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Feral Cider
More Sour – Beaver Valley – Cranberry Cider
More Dry – Rice Lake Cider – Cranberry Dry
More Crisp – Thornbury – Cranberry Apple Cider

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Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Shale Ridge Estate Winery
Type: Flavoured – Chocolate and Cherry
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: shaleridgewinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Shaler Ridge retail + online store
Flavour: Cherry + chocolate
Colour: Transparent rose gold
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Maraschino cherry. Light floral. Mild milk chocolate and sweet apple.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Bright apple base. Moves to a candied, preserved cherry flavour. Rose note.
After Taste: Becomes more cherry forward. Light and balanced chocolate notes come through.
On ice: Slightly thinner mouthfeel. Less chocolate.

Additional Notes:  Shale Ridge’s Cherry Chocolate cider is very reminiscent of a cherry-filled milk chocolate you’ll find in a mixed box of chocolates you’d give to a loved one. With a very candied maraschino cherry, its there for most of the flavour journey. The apple base is light and bright, leaning sweeter but not sugary.  A lighter chocolate note comes in near the finish and does not dominate. A light mouthfeel makes this an easy drinking experience and a bit sultry as well. Perfect for Valentines Day, as Shale Ridge intended.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Blood Orange
More Sour – Reinhart’s – Strawberry Hibiscus
More Dry – Banjo Cider – Rouge
More Crisp – Ernest – Rubee

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Steel Town – Barrique

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Barrique
Sampled November 2020

Brand:  Steel Town Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: www.steeltowncider.com
Ingredients: Pressed apples, pear juice, peach, apricot, yeast
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Steel Town online and retail store
Flavour: Peach, apricot, pear, apple
Colour: Cloudy, sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Fine, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pungent, sour and acidic with some brandy and woody elements.
Initial Taste:  Medium bite from carbonation. Pulpy, acidic apples with some sour notes.  Stone fruit pit notes. Astringency. Punchy.
After Taste: Stone fruits appear more so as the apple and acidity dies down, becomes creamy in the finish. Finishes pretty clean for a barrel aged offering. Smoother brandy notes at the end.
On ice: Slightly watered down and cleaner mouthfeel.

Additional Notes:  The Barrique by Steel Town is a Peach and Apricot flavoured barrel-aged offering with both Bourbon and Brandy.  It starts off funky and pulpy with some of the punchy astringent notes you would expect from the barreling.  Turning more fruit flavoured, it’s more sour apricot than peach but still retains a nice, semi-sour apple taste. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Peach Cider
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – Ernest – Speachless
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Peach Cider

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Chill Street – Skinny Dippin’

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill Street – Skinny Dippin’
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Chill Street Craft Beverage Co.
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Elmdale, NS
ABV: 5%
Website Link: chillstreetcraftbeverageco.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill Street retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Clear, sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright, sweet, crisp bitter sharp apples. Pear-like notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quick burst of light, bright apples. Soft, dessert apple medley.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues the same but dissipates. More peel notes come through. Mild tonic notes. Crisp, semi-clean finish.
On ice: Almost eliminates the carbonation. Reduced flavour.

Additional Notes:  Chill Street’s Skinny Dippin’ is a very light, soft, and bright apple cider. Runs more sweet but not sugary, it has wide commercial appeal. A very delicate apple medley tickles the palate from start to finish. An approachable cider, especially for new hard cider fans. Falls very well into the Nova Scotia style of ciders.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 1
Crisp – 4
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 3

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – No Boats on Sunday – Original
More Sour – Scow Craft Cider
More Dry – Bulwark – Rum
More Crisp – Chain Yard- Foundation

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Hounds of Erie – Best in Show

Cider Profile:

Name: Hounds of Erie – Best in Show
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Hounds of Erie Winery
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Clear Creek, ON
ABV: 4%
Website Link: houndsoferie.com
Ingredients: Apple, sulphites, potassium benzonate
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Hounds of Erie Online and Retail Stores
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet, pulpy bright apples. Crisp and acidity. Clean.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Semi-sweet, tangy and crisp apples appear very quickly. Bittersharp apples that pop, with some heritage-like tannins. Mild maple and woody hints. Citrus-like acidity.
After Taste: Remains very apple forward. Apple really pops. Clean finish. Honey notes.
On ice: Mild reduction in carbonation. Flavour remains the same.

Additional Notes:  Best in Show by Hounds of Erie is a very brilliant apple forward cider that really pops with flavour and clarity. Being clean, it still has some tannic depth. Tangy, crisp and ultra refreshing. Bright apples make it taste sweeter but it has no added sugar. Wide consumer appeal to this offering.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 4.5
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Puddicombe – Apple Family Tree Cider
More Sour – East Street – Landmark Dry
More Dry – West Avenue – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – 

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Cidrerie Milton – Première Station

Cider Profile:

Name: Cidrerie Milton – Première Station (Série Exploration No 1)
Sampled November 2020

Brand: Cidrerie Milton
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Sainte-Cecile-De-Milton, Quebec
ABV: 7%
Website Link: cidreriemilton.com
Ingredients: McIntosh, Golden Russet, Spartan, Empire, Honeycrisp, Courtland
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Quebec
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Cloudy, rich straw-yellow
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium, pulpy & fleshy apples. Tannic notes with some earthiness.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation and acidity. Some acetic notes mellow-out quite quickly.  A little bit of blended apple upfront.
After Taste: Finishes with melon-like notes, smoother and cleaner. Not overly long lingering. Fermentation notes dissipate.
On ice: Less carbonation, slightly reduced overall flavour.

Additional Notes:  The Première Station by Cidrerie Milton kick-off their special exploration series. In this offering, it’s a Quebec-inspired take on a traditional French cider. Cleaner than expected (especially after smelling what it could be), it’s much smoother and has less fermentation elements then you would think it would have. Not overly apple forward either, it cleans up towards the end and surprisingly has melon/floral/cirtus notes.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – McAdam – Cidre Urbain
More Sour – Fleuri – Hyslop
More Dry – Alma – Willie
More Crisp – Coteau Rougemont – Fizz Pomme

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Collective Arts – Blackberry & Peach

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Blackberry & Peach
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Collective Arts Brewing Co.
Type: Flavoured – Blackberry and Peach
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.7%
Website Link: collectiveartscider.com
Ingredients: Apples, blackberry concentrate, natural peach flavour,
natural blackberry flavour, lime oil, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Collective Arts Online and retail stores
Flavour: Blackberry & Peach
Colour: Translucent, purplish-red
Carbonation: Medium, infrequent bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet blackberries with some tart notes. Some peach pit notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite carbonation. Some tart blackberry and a hint of sweet peach and dessert apples that dissipate quickly.
After Taste: Apple removed leaving tangy blackberry with mild peach pit note. Most of the experience is in the aftertaste.  Some sticky notes in the mouth from blackberry. Mild underlying notes from lime oil.
On ice: Carbonation greatly reduced, much more juice like.

Additional Notes: The Blackberry & Peach by Collective Arts Cider is a cider without much apple elements.  Dominated by tart and then tangy blackberries, it’s supported by fresh peach elements and are noticeable especially when you think of them. Little apple, it reminds us more of a mixed cocktail, especially due to the soft carbonation.  

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 4
Crisp – 3
Dry – 3
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Blackberry Peach
More Sour – Beaver Valley – Bumbleberry
More Dry – Howell Road – Blackberry Pear
More Crisp – Hard Way – Ramboozle

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Two Blokes – Lost Orchard (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Two Blokes – Lost Orchard (2019)
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Two Blokes Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Port Perry, ON
ABV: 6.7%
Website Link: twoblokes.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Two Blokes Online Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Still



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Smooth, creamy pulpy and bright apple notes. Thick aroma. Sweet aspects.
Initial Taste: No bite. Crisp, tangy, caramelized apples that take a few moments to appear. Semi-sweet apples.
After Taste: Apples remain almost the same with some more natural and earthy tones appearing. Apple peel flavour and grit with mild vanilla/floral essences. Off-dry finish that is clean.
On ice: Mouthfeel reduced. Zip and elements weakened.

Additional Notes:  Two Blokes’ 2019 Lost Orchard still (not carbonated) cider is as straight-forward of an apple cider as you will come by. The journey is pure apple with no residual or off flavours, but rather just different apple aspects and tones. A zippy, tangy, crisp cider, it will refresh and awaken. Ice takes away a lot of the cider’s natural beauty so drink it straight. Medium dry, its sweetness is very natural and not coating. There are enough fermentation elements to know it’s not straight apple juice though. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3
Sour – 3
Crisp – 4.5
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Spirit Tree – Winter Bliss
More Sour – Hard Way – Renegade
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Cider

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Slabtown – Founder’s Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Founder’s Dry
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 6.4%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: NA 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent pale yellow
Carbonation: Large streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, clean apple. Mango hint.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick clean and pulpy, acidic apple. Slightly tangy and tannic.
After Taste: Apple continues and becomes more acidic and tart. Hints of honey and lime. Dry finish.
On ice: Less apple. Thinner body.

Additional Notes:  The Founder’s Dry by Slabtown is an acidic, clean and straightforward apple cider. Very crisp, the natural acidity from the apple grows as the drink goes on. Bitter sharp apple notes galore, being slightly pulpy tasting but very clean overall. Vague unique hints of lime and honey finish off the drink. A dry but bright apple taste from start to finish. Has that standard Slabtown apple base taste to it.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 3
Crisp – 4
Dry – 4
Fruity – 3.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Apple Cider
More Sour – Kings Mill – Premium Dry
More Dry – Banjo – Revival
More Crisp – Two Blokes – Hex Press

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Farmgate – Mulled

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate – Mulled
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Farmgate Cider Company
Type:  Apple – Mulled
Location of Brewing: Arnprior, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: farmgatecider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 1000ml (bottle)
Availability: Farmgate Online Store 
Flavour: Apple and spices
Colour: Translucent, cloudy-brown
Carbonation: Appears still



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet spices (clove, cinnamon) with pulpy apple.  Some orange zest notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite (almost still), Creamy apple sauce-like blend with clove, cardamom and other spices. Orange notes throughout. Strong, sweet cinnamon, almost baked in taste.
After Taste: Dissipates quickly and leaves the mouth with a slight film from the sediment and spices.  Finishes like apple pie filling. Lingering spices, especially clove.
On ice: Reduction of sweetness and apple. Cleaner.

Additional Notes:  This unique mulled cider by Farmgate is smooth and clean, even with the dark rich colour and particles found in the cider.  It’s light and refreshing, and it mostly cleans out quickly (except for the spices, which linger lightly in the mouth).  It is almost like an apple pie filling, especially from the mouthfeel.  Quality farm-produced product, many rustic and countryside vibes. You really get the essence of what it would be like to drink a mulled cider at a Christmas market or something festive from this. A well executed orange peel flavour makes this stand out from other mulled offerings.  Reminds you of a classic, sweet non-alcoholic apple cider. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Apple Strudel
More Sour – Two Blokes – Wassail
More Dry – Slabtown – Cider House Rules
More Crisp – 401 Cider – Apple Pie Cider

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Clafeld – London Fog

Cider Profile:

Name:  Clafeld – London Fog
Sampled February 2021 

Brand: Clafeld Fruit Winey & Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Tea Infused
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV:
5.5%
Website Link:
waupooswinery.com
Ingredients:  
Fermented apple juice, decaffeinated orange pekoe tea, bergamot, sugar, vanilla extract, sorbate, sulfites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (Can)
Availability:
Clafeld Retail Store + Waupoos Winery one store
Flavour:
Black tea and Vanilla
Colour:
Pale transparent yellow
Carbonation:
Small, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Earthy, leafy aroma from the tea. Forward vanilla. Slight mustiness and fermentation notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Hit of earthy tea leaves. Sweet, crisp with light dessert apples. Slight bitterness.
After Taste: Apple notes continue but they become smoother. Vanilla emerges with a slight hint of orange. Ends creamy and marshmallow-like, with some mild tea resin notes.
On ice: Carbonation reduced, slightly less vanilla finish. Tea flavour remains the same. Slightly harsher with the black tea.

Additional Notes: The London Fog from Clafeld is a journey cider, starting off one way and ending quite differently. It has an earthy, black tea flavour that quickly emerges right in the first second of consumption, with mild tea resin/tannin notes that stay. The real treat is the creamy, light mouth-feel vanilla ending that delights the senses. Not a lot of apple, but what is there is its light and dessert-oriented. We reviewed the 2018 version in the old 355ml can, and it was much more harsh and gritty then it is now. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Lavender Earl Grey
More Sour – Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – Ernest – Tea and Cookies
More Crisp – Stock & Row – Cold Tea

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West Avenue – Genevieve

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Genevieve
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  West Avenue Cider House
Type: Apple – Gin Botanical
Location of Brewing: Freelton, ON
ABV: 8.9%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: West Ave Online + Retail Store
Flavour: Apple, gin botanicals, lactose
Colour:  Translucent golden rod yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Gin aspects like juniper and pine. Tannic apples. Punchy.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Quick tannic heritage apples that are heavy and thick. Smooth juniper and pine. Crisp grapefruit and lemon elements.
After Taste: Apples notes diminish, while gin botanical notes linger a bit longer. Ends on some creamy lactose elements.
On ice: Less carbonation. Lessened punchiness of elements.

Additional Notes:  The Genevieve by West Ave is a special cider made with lactose and gin botanicals, so if you are sensitive to dairy/lactose, you may want to sit this one out. This is a much heavier flavour wise cider upfront, with a lot happening in the initial taste. With a shorter flavour profile, you do get a lot going on for what is there. The gin botanicals are punchy and full bodied with grapefruit, juniper and pine notes, but still smoother than many other gin barrel-aged ciders. The apple base is tannic and heritage-variety focused. The lactose is most noticeable near the end, giving you a creamy finish that satisfies. 8.9% and does not taste it. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 3.5
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Lavender Earl Grey
More Sour – Revel – Spirit of the Woods
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Ginger Cider
More Crisp – East Street – Harvest Botanical

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Rice Lake – Original Dry Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Rice Lake – Original Dry Cider
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Rice Lake Hard Cider 
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Baltimore, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: 
Ingredients: Fresh pressed sweet apple cider, natural cane
sugar, malic acid, yeast, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Rice Lake Retail + Online Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Hazy, straw yellow
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Aged apple notes with earthy elements. Blend of heritage and dessert apples. 
Initial Taste: Strong bite, sharp carbonation.  Semi-strong fleshy and musty apple (slightly sweeter than it smells). Earthy notes present with some dry peel flavour and tannins. Bitter sharp and heritage apple notes here.
After Taste: Apple remains the same and diminishes, leaving a light lingering aftertaste focused on some of the earthy, fermentation notes.
On ice: All elements and flavours are reduced by a somewhat large amount.

Additional Notes:  The Original Dry Cider by Rice Lake is a straightforward craft cider that checks a lot of boxes for various elements present. It starts with a somewhat forceful carbonation that entices for the drinking journey. With a seemingly medley of heritage and dessert apple notes, its got a decent tannin presence and some peel flavour and grit. Crisp and semi-clean finish. Satisfying craft drinking that refreshes.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Spirit Tree – Applelager Cider
More Sour – Steel Town – Session Cider
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet

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Spirit Tree – Applelager

Cider Profile:

Name:  Spirit Tree – Applelager
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Type:
Apple – Sweet
Location of Brewing:
Caledon, ON
ABV:
4%
Website Link:
spirittreecider.ca
Ingredients:
N/A
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability:
Spirit Tree retail and online stores
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Transparent, sunflower-yellow
Carbonation:
Big, infrequent bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild aroma. A sweet musty single baking apple smell.
Initial Taste: Mild bite. Quickly sweet apple with a heavier mouthfeel. Some acidity and dewy earthiness. Orange-like notes.
After Taste: Apple peel taste. Light pear and honey notes compliments the apples. Not a strong aftertaste but earthy and apple notes linger. Lager beer-like crispness and cleanness.
On ice: Cuts most of the carbonation and also some acidity. Sweetness remains.

Additional Notes: Spirit Tree offers a light and sweet but not sugary cider with their Applelager. A clean and crisp cider with some musty/earthy elements that reminds us of fresh apples but still with a little something more than a juice.  Tastes naturally sweet. Carbonation is well balanced, try it on ice to make it even more like an unfermented apple juice. Is slow fermented in their cellars, similar to lager style beers – as a result, it has a similar crispness and cleanness to it.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 1.5
Crisp – 4.5
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Somersby – Apple
More Sour – Pommies – Farmhouse Cider
More Dry – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Artisanal Original Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honey Crisp Cider

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Georgian Hills – Bartlett (2014)

Cider Profile:

Name: Georgian Hills – Frozen to the Core Bartlett (2014)
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Georgian Hills Vineyards
Type: Iced – Perry
Location of Brewing: The Blue Mountains, ON
ABV: 9.6%
Website Link: georgianhillsvineyards.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Georgian Hills Vineyards retail
and online store
Flavour: Pear
Colour:  Transparent golden orange
Carbonation: Still


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Syrupy and sweet pear.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from astringency. Thick mouthfeel with some quick, sharp alcohol notes. Bitter sweet, caramelized pear.
After Taste: Becomes more pear-like and less sweet.  Does not linger overly long. Slight syrup aftertaste. Almond and smoky notes.
On ice: Thinner, and not as bitterly sweet but similar overall.

Additional Notes:  The Georgian Hills Bartlett from 2014 is sweet and very Bartlett pear focused fortified offering. Almost juicy at times with some mild minerality hints. Caramelized notes come about amongst a thicker mouthfeel that has almond and smoky undertones to it. A mild astringency in the base but overall smooth and it has a smooth silky mouthfeel. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 3.5
Crisp – 3
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4 

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ardiel – Victoria Pear 
More Sour – Kings Mill – Ice Cider
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Dry Pear
More Crisp – Loch Mor – Pommeau

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Duntroon – Sumac

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Sumac
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Flavoured – Floral
Location of Brewing: Duntroon, ON
ABV: 5.8%
Website Link: duntrooncyder.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Duntroon retail and online store
Flavour: Sumac
Colour: Transparent rose red
Carbonation: Very infrequent, medium bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fleshy red apple with floral elements. Some lemon notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Semi-sour peppy sumac flavour that is authentic. Tannic red apple peel notes.  Once the apple is removed, it becomes more floral. Slight wood hints.
After Taste: Becomes much drier in the aftertaste with some earthy elements that blends with the floral notes. Some lemon and floral elements. Dry finish.
On ice: Watered down and smoother.

Additional Notes:  The Sumac by Duntroon Cyder House is the first cider we have come across of its kind, made with the sumac flower. Floral but woody – with some lemon elements and is somewhat close to a thick rose wine – the offering goes quickly from a burst of semi-sour apple to become very sumac & floral focused and drier. Not sweet by any means, like many other floral ciders are. Peppy, zippy, tingly mouthfeel. Bright and uplighting.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 4
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Rosé
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Cranberry
More Crisp – Reinharts – Strawberry Hibiscus

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East Street – Landmark Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: East Street – Landmark Dry
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  East Street Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Goderich, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: eaststreetcider.com
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 17g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO, East Street Retail + Online Stores
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Large, sparsely streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pulpy, smooth, crisp apples. Mild sweet notes. Bright effervescence.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Fast and strong juicy apple body. Mild vanilla and oak notes. Crisp and bright. Tingly carbonation.
After Taste: Apple becomes smoother, even more crisp. Light astringency briefly noticeable. Caramelized, slightly off-dry bright apple finish that is very clean.
On ice: Elements slightly reduced but not much change.

Additional Notes:  East Street’s flagship cider, their Landmark Dry, is an incredibly crisp and clean, straightforward apple cider. Bright and very apple forward, it is the definition of the modern North American cider style, but with some traditional inspirations. Light oak and vanilla notes add brilliant notes to the body. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 4.5
Dry – 3
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Apple Cider
More Sour – Steel Town – Session Cider
More Dry – Windswept – Lost Orchard (2017)
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honey Crisp Cider

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Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet Cider
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Shale Ridge Hard Cider (Shale Ridge Estate Winery)
Type:  Apple
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: shaleridgeestatewinery.com
Ingredients: Cider, sulphates
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Shale Ridge retail store and online
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Semi-sweet pulpy apple. Slight tannic and acidic notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Apple is juicy, with a mix of pulpy and flesh notes. Semi-sweet with some bitter sharp apple elements. Crisp. Some tannins that add mouthfeel and depth.
After Taste: Becomes slightly smoother and a little more bitter sharp focused and tangy.  Slightly more acidic. Crisp finish with a clean mouthfeel.
On ice: A little less sharp and tangy.

Additional Notes:  The Semi-Sweet by Shale Ridge could easily be called a “little bit sharp”.  It has more crisp apple and tangy elements than most semi-sweet offerings but still easy to drink and very juice-forward.  Aftertaste brings in some mild drier elements and some fermentation notes. A few tannic notes help fill out the flavour profile and increase the fruitiness. An incredibly crisp and refreshing cider.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 5
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Queen Street 501
More Sour – Duxbury – Heritage 1650
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – 

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Windswept – Lost Orchard (2017)

Cider Profile:

Name: Windswept Lost Orchard (2017 Harvest)
Sampled November 2020

Brand: Windswept Orchard Cider
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Grey County, ON
ABV: 7.4%
Website Link: windsweptcider.com
Ingredients: N/A 
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability: Windswept online and retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Hazy yellow with orange hues
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Quite musty/cellared. Some metallic notes. Mild heritage apples aroma.
Initial Taste: Semi-strong bite from carbonation. Quickly musty. Blend of creamy and acidic apples. Some funk flavour and feel.
After Taste: Acidity continues but mellows. Becomes more smooth and sweet. Tannic flavour emerges from apples. Creamy, dry, long-lingering flavour. Some carbonation in the throat that stays.
On ice: Carbonated cut dramatically. Becomes more crisp and less dry with less apple flavour.

Additional Notes: The 2017 harvest of Windswept’s Lost Orchard is a rather dry and rustic offering, featuring a blend of unknown heritage apples foraged near the Windswept farms. Being rather carbonated, it could be substituted for champagne. Has a lot of tannins; as well as a lot of haze and specks of funk/sediment from the lees. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 3
Crisp – 2
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Original Apple Cider
More Sour – Steeltown – Salvaje Pet Nat
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – County Cider – A Tortured Path

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Ernest – Bourbon Vanilla

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Bourbon Vanilla
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Ernest Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – vanilla and bourbon
Location of Brewing: Aurora, ON
ABV: 8%
Website Link: ernestcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Limited Small Batch – Ernest Online Store
Flavour: Bourbon + vanilla
Colour:  Translucent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles w/ fine particles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet pulpy apple. Woody, strong bourbon notes. Creamy vanilla.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Barrel notes are first obvious, on top of the heritage apple notes. Medium bourbon flavours. Mild astringency.
After Taste: Astringency grows, distracts away from apple base for a time. As it dissipates, vanilla really shines and lingers a bit. Dry finish, clean mouthfeel but flavours stays awhile.
On ice: Watered down, you lose considerable bite/astringency. More apple forward. Vanilla the same.

Additional Notes:  Ernest’s Bourbon Vanilla goes down easy. While 8% and the bourbon notes are forward, it is not heavy and has an easy going mouthfeel. A heritage apple base and creamy ending vanilla notes help to balance out the more astringent aspects of this. This is the epitome of small batch cider – a handwritten label, a strong flavour quality and unique experimentation at hand.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 3
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Hank’s Spiced Bourbon Cider
More Sour – West Avenue – Barrett Fuller’s Secret
More Dry – Loch Mor – Bootlegger (Whisky)
More Crisp – 401 Cider – Apple Pie Cider

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Collective Arts – Hurricane Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Hurricane Cider
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Collective Arts Brewing
Type: Flavoured – Pomegranate and passion fruit
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.7%
Website Link: collectiveartscider.com
Ingredients: Apples, passion fruit concentrate,
pomegranate flavour, yeast, lime oil.
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Collective Arts online and retail stores
Flavour: Passion fruit and pomegranate
Colour: Transparent peachy-red
Carbonation: Large, infrequent bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet passion fruit with smooth apples. Slight pomegranate tartness.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Slightly tart and gritty pomegranate and passion fruit with a semi-sweet apple base. Juicy mouthfeel with natural fruit earthiness.
After Taste: Apple dissipates, sweetness leaves and it becomes tart and almost puckering with sour elements. Ends on dank tropical notes.
On ice: Slightly reduced carbonation, little change.

Additional Notes:  The Hurricane Cider by Collective Arts is a unique offering, which focuses mostly on the adjunct passion fruit and pomegranate flavours, as opposed to apple.  It’s tart and sour but still has a semi-sweet apple base.  A lot of flavour, its rather punchy and full-bodied. Very juicy and tropical in nature. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3
Sour – 4
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 3
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Blood Orange
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – 401 Cider – Raspberry
More Crisp – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped

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Hounds of Erie – Dog House

Cider Profile:

Name: Hounds of Erie – Dog House
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Hounds of Erie Winery
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: Clear Creek, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Apples, hops, sulphites, potassium benzoate
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Hounds of Erie Retail + Online Store
Flavour: Hopped
Colour:  Transparent light golden yellow
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright apples with citra hops. Earthy hints.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quick sweet and crisp apples. Light tanginess. Citrus notes from hops including lemon and orange that are mild.
After Taste: Apples become slightly more caramelized. Vanilla hints. Ends with light lingering hop notes.
On ice: Carbonation reduced a lot. Flavours and mouthfeel also reduced. Rather watered down overall.

Additional Notes:  Hounds of Erie’s Dog House is a very soft and approachable hopped cider. With bright and sweet apples, the citrus notes from the dry hopping mingle well with the apple base, with notes of lemon and orange. No sugar added, but it is a sweeter offering, naturally so from the apples and assuming some malic acid. Very crisp and refreshing, especially for a hopped cider.  You would be forgiven to not notice the hops as they are soft.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Dry Hopped
More Dry – Duxbury – Tilted Barn Hopped Cider
More Crisp – Ardiel – Big John Hop Cider

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Two Blokes – Wassail

Cider Profile:

Name: Two Blokes – Wassail
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Two Blokes Cider
Type: Apple – Mulled
Location of Brewing: Port Perry, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Cider, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, orange peel,
star anise, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Limited – Two Blokes Online Store
Flavour: Mulled Apple
Colour:  Translucent golden yellow
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pulpy apple with strong cinnamon and other spices. Some orange essence.
Initial Taste: Little bite. Quick pulpy apple appearing shortly after. Spicy, semi-earthy cinnamon. Orange peel aspects that intrigues.
After Taste: Apple base continues the same. Cinnamon reduces in intensity but lingers a while. Other spices become more obvious, including clove and cardamom. Semi-dry finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and mouthfeel. Cinnamon is weakened.

Additional Notes:  Two Bloke’s Wassail Cider captures the fierceness of the wishes made during wassail celebrations for a good harvest and season, by being strong and bold. This is a very cinnamon driven cider, it may give you flashbacks to those Valentines’ cinnamon hearts or Fireball whisky for us. Aside from this, the pulpy apple base will satisfy most. The other spices mentioned in the ingredients are all noticeable and definitely add to the cider composure, but cinnamon is the main star. Orange peels adds an interesting element you may not grasp without knowledge of it being in there.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Spiced Apple
More Sour – Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice
More Dry – 401 Cider – Apple Pie
More Crisp – Farmgate – Mulled

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Slabtown – Cider House Rules

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Cider House Rules
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Mulled
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 5.3%
Website Link:
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown Retail Store
Flavour: Spiced
Colour:  Transparent golden apple
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Juicy, crisp apple with apple pie spices. Creamy vanilla + caramel.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Quick, medium mulled spicing, in particular cinnamon. Sweet, bright apple. Apple pie forward, especially the filing aspects.
After Taste: Apple and spicing continues. Vanilla, pastry elements come through. Lingering warming spices.
On ice: Carbonation and mouthfeel reduced. Less spices, more apple-focused.

Additional Notes:  Slabtown’s Cider House Rules is basically an apple pie in a glass. With a light mouthfeel, it allows for the spices to soothe the soul, in particular cinnamon. Creamy vanilla and crust flavours appear near the finish. Bright, caramelized, soft apples tickle the palate and act as a wonderful canvas for the spices. Try warmed for an extra special experience.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 2
Crisp – 4
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Harvest Spice
More Sour – Two Blokes – Wassail
More Dry – Heartwood – Wassail
More Crisp – Thornbury – Spiced Apple

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Bulwark – Sour Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: Bulwark – Sour Cherry
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Bulwark Ciders (Muwin Estate Wines Ltd.)
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: New Ross, Nova Scotia
ABV: 8.0%
Website Link: bulwarkcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 330ml (bottle)
Availability: Bulwark online and retail stores
Flavour: Cherry
Colour: Translucent, Vivid neon-orange
Carbonation: Mixed, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Dessert apple with sweet and semi-tart cherries
Initial Taste: Light bite. Quickly acidic apples with some semi-tart fresh but not over-ripe cherries. Slightly candied in nature. Soft mouthfeel.
After Taste: Apple and acidity dissipate with some more sourness from the cherries coming in. Semi-quick and clean finish with a bit of dryness. Some candied notes in the finish also. Buttery hints.
On ice: Carbonation dramatically reduced. Thinner and tartness reduced.

Additional Notes:  The Sour Cherry by Bulwark has the classic clean, fresh and juicy apple, lightly blended with semi-tart cherries.  It’s upbeat and bright with a bit of tart and sourness to it but not overwhelming. Finishes clean with some candied notes.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Parkside Cherry
More Sour – No Boats on Sunday – Cranberry Rosé
More Dry – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
More Crisp – Annapolis Cider Co. – Sour Cherry

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West Avenue – Barrett Fuller’s Secret

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Barrett Fuller’s Secret
Sampled January 2021

Brand: West Avenue Cider House
Type: Apple – Barrel Aged
Location of Brewing: Flamborough, ON
ABV: 9%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability: West Ave Retail Store
Flavour: Apple + bourbon
Colour: Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Infrequently streaming bubbles 



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Heavy bourbon + astringency. Almond + pastry notes. Light bright apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation with some acidity. Heavy barrel-aging elements including wood/oak, astringency and a smooth but forceful bourbon. Mild heritage apples. 
After Taste: Becomes smoother as astringency weakens. Apples peak through more so. Ends very dry, with bourbon notes lingering. Earthy and wood hints remain.
On ice: Carbonation reduced, along with flavour and forcefulness. Smoother and cleaner.

Additional Notes: West Ave’s Barrett Fuller’s Secret is a force to be reckoned with – it has smooth but full bourbon barrel-aging flavour and presence. Heavy bourbon notes right from the start give you a punch of flavour and astringency that can seriously take the edge off. With mild to medium bright heritage apples, the apples act as a canvas for the spirit aging process elements to shine.  On ice, it makes a very large difference, being much less harsh but with also less flavour and initial intention. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Hank’s Spiced Cider 
More Sour – Loch Mor – Bootlegger (Whisky)
More Dry – Hard Way – Whisky Rebellion
More Crisp – Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider

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Spirit Tree – Winter Bliss

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – Winter Bliss
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Caledon, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: spirittreecider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Spirit Tree online and retail store
Flavour: Apple, maple syrup, molasses, orange peel
Colour: Translucent, dark golden-yellow
Carbonation: Infrequently streaming small bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet and thick fortified-like apple. Some maple syrup notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Thick, syrupy, crisp apple taste that’s similar to an iced cider. Semi-sweet apple notes. Mild maple and earthy elements.
After Taste:  Cleans out somewhat quickly without much residual notes.  Some darker sugar elements, including the molasses, appear briefly. Almost a gummy aftertaste, possibly from the orange peel.
On ice: Carbonation reduced. Little other change.

Additional Notes:  The Winter Bliss by Spirit Tree is a thicker cider, elements similar to that of an iced cider without the astringency and harshness. It’s a semi-sweet apple taste that matches the dark golden colour. Quite clean (little fermentation or alcohol notes) with a little bit of a brown sugar/maple syrup/molasses finish.  Not much orange noticeable other than a possible gummied taste near the finish. A rustic cider with a farmhouse essence. Stands out, unlike any other Ontario craft cider we’ve had.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 
More Sour – Ernest – Winter’s Blush
More Dry – Heartwood – Wassail
More Crisp – 

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Fleuri – Hyslop

Cider Profile:

Name: Fleuri – Hyslop 
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Fleuri Cidres Biologiques
Type: Apple – Wild
Location of Brewing: Dunham, Québec
ABV: 6.6%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Liberty apples, honey crisp and hyslop crabapples
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Quebec bottle shops
Flavour: Dry
Colour:  Cloudy, rusty orange
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles with some trub. 



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet and bright pulpy apples. Some floral notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Smooth but pulpy and creamy apples. Some astringency and early notes. Slightly acidic. Crab apple  notes mingle among caramelized apple flavours.
After Taste: Becomes less apple forward. More earthy and acidic.  Some more tannic and dry notes in the aftertaste. Slightly chalky from the yeast/trub.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and some other elements. 

Additional Notes:  The Hyslop by Fleuri is the Québec take on a France Normandy style-cider, but with more dry and wild elements.  It’s a little more tart and a slightly thinner mouthfeel but very close to the French offering. Creamy with a lot of extra trub which gives some yeast elements to it.  Fermented with Wild Yeast. Organic. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – McAdam – Cidre Urbain
More Sour – Alma – Willie
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Lacroix – Gabélianne

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