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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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Beaver Valley – Cranberry

Cider Profile:

Name: Beaver Valley – Cranberry
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Beaver Valley Winery Ltd.
Type: Flavoured – Cranberry
Location of Brewing: Kimberley, ON
ABV: 7.5%
Website Link: bvcider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Beaver Valley retail store (+ special online order)
Flavour: Cranberry
Colour:  Rose gold with peach hues
Carbonation: Large streaming bubbles. Foam when poured. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Tart, natural cranberry. Mild green apple notes.
Initial Taste: Strong bite from carbonation and acidity. Quickly tart and acidic. Strong dry cranberry flavour. Sour green apple-like notes.
After Taste: Cranberry remains the same, becomes drier. Gritty dry finish. Lingering tartness.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Reduced flavour. Sourness/tartness very reduced.

Additional Notes:  Beaver Valley’s Cranberry is a very authentic and natural cranberry-forward flavour. Very dry and tart from start to finish, it’s almost puckering, so add some ice if it is too intense for you. Apple notes are minimal but they come across green and sour. Rudimentary tasting, can picture the fermentation process being traditional and straightforward drinking this. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Cranberry Apple
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Great Cider – Cranberry

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Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice
Sampled November 2020

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Shale Ridge Retail + Online Store
Flavour: Mulled Cranberry
Colour:  Transparent ruby red with a sheen
Carbonation: Large streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet cranberry forward. Warming baking spices.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Quick cranberry flavour that is very forward. Sweet, with a mild tartness. Sweet and juicy apple base. Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove notes.
After Taste: Cranberry remains the same and lingers. Becomes smoother. Ends on warming spices that stay awhile. Vanilla hints.
On ice: Slightly less acidic. Flavour remains the same.

Additional Notes:  The Cranberry Spice by Shale Ridge is a delightful and very festive fall/winter inspired cider that will satisfy both cranberry and mulled cider fans. The cranberry is dominant throughout, being sweet and only mildly tart. Warming spices are very uplifting with cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove notes in particular teasing the senses. A very smooth drinking experience with a balanced acidity that adds depth. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 4
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pommies – Cranberry
More Sour – Great Cider – Cranberry Cider
More Dry – Heartwood – Wassail
More Crisp – Thornbury – Spiced Apple

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KW Cider – Canadian Shield Berries Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: KW Cider – Canadian Shield Berries Rosé
Sampled October 2020

Brand: KW Cider Company 
Type: Flavoured – Mixed Berry
Location of Brewing: Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
ABV: 6.3%
Website Link: kwcider.com
Ingredients: Ontario apples, strawberries, blueberries,
raspberries, cranberries, blackcurrant, champagne yeast, cane sugar

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: KW Winter Mixpack (2020 LCBO) + KW Cider Online Store
Flavour: Mixed Berries
Colour: Rose Gold
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Mixed berries and dessert apples. Stronger on ice.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Balanced mixed berries and dessert apples with a bit of sourness and bitter sharp apple notes. Crisp and clean. Mild wine-like astringency.
After Taste: Becomes more berry-focused as apple dissipates, in particular blackberry and raspberry notes.  Finishes semi-juicy with little alcoholic elements.
On ice: Less carbonation and less overall berry flavour and intensity.

Additional Notes:  The KW Cider Canadian Shield Berry Rosé is a light, sparkling, wine-like cider that is rather crisp and clean. With a mix of multiple types of berries found across Canada, it has some natural sweetness from the fruits. Balanced apples and berries make it light and gives it a rose gold colour. Drinks very much like a rosé wine but is very clean and light bodied.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Rosé Cider
More Sour – Beaver Valley – Bumbleberry Cider
More Dry – Clafeld – Rose Hip Cider
More Crisp – Stock & Row – Cold Tea

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Clafeld – Cranberry Apple

Cider Profile:

Name:   Clafeld – Cranberry Apple
Sampled April 2020

Brand: Clafeld Fruit Winey & Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Cranberry
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
waupooswinery.com/cider-house
Ingredients:  
Fermented apple juice, fermented cranberry juice, sugar, sorbate, sulfites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 355mL (Can)
Availability:
Clafeld Retail Store + Online
Flavour:
Cranberry
Colour:
Pale, translucent peach
Carbonation:
Medium and Large infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium, tart cranberry. Some musty notes and a crisp apple secondary aroma.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Semi-strong crisp apple that is rather dry to taste.
After Taste: Becomes more cranberry focused as the tartness takes over – also somewhat dry on the palate. Some apple notes at the end. Some film to finish
On ice: Carbonation slightly reduced, flavours a little cleaner with less bubbles.

Additional Notes: The Cranberry by Clafeld is unique, as it starts out apple and quickly becomes cranberry (tart and dry) focused.  Not very sweet, it has a true, fresh cranberry flavour and characteristics. Less intense than a lot of other cranberries ciders, it’s more wine-like than traditional cider that is infused with the fruit.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Rubee
More Sour – Muskoka – Cliff Jump Cranberry
More Dry – Great Cider – Cranberry
More Crisp – Thornbury – Cranberry Apple

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Ernest – Bumbleberry

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Bumbleberry
Sampled May 2020

Brand: Ernest Cider Co.
Type:
Flavoured – mixed berries
Location of Brewing:
Newmarket, ON
ABV:
6%
Website Link:
ernestcider.com
Ingredients:
Apples, organic cane sugar, blackberry juice, cranberry juice, raspberry juice, blueberry juice, strawberry juice, purple carrot juice (for colour) natural flavours, potassium sorbate, malic acid, Sulphites.
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 25 g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (Can)
Availability: 
LCBO and Ernest Online Store
Flavour:
Mixed berries
Colour:
Dark Ruby-Red
Carbonation:
Small, frequently streaming bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma of sweet, dark fruit/berry blend. Cordial-like notes.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from acidity and carbonation.  Starts off very slowly and light, building from a slightly sweet apple base to become more berry focused, especially blackberries and strawberries.
After Taste: Mixed berries become very prevalent, bursting with flavour, dominating the palate. Becomes thicker and sweeter as time grows.  Leaves a thick mouthfeel. Lingers awhile, ends on sweet dark fruit notes.
On ice: Carbonation is cut and it’s slightly thinner.

Additional Notes: A different type of cider, The Bumbleberry by Ernest is a blend of Blackberry, Cranberry, Raspberry, Blueberry and Strawberry. It starts light but it gets incredibly full-bodied and thick. More juice-like than apple cider in our opinions, the berries taste unfiltered and undiluted. Sweet and coating in the mouth, its not very sessionable – probably one at a time for dessert is ideal.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heritage Estate – Eden’s Apple Strawberry
More Sour – Muskoka Lakes – Cliff Jump Cranberry
More Dry – Heartwood – Currant Affair
More Crisp – Pommies – Red Sangria

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Muskoka – Cliff Jump Cranberry

Cider Profile:

Name:   Muskoka Lakes – Cliff Jump Cranberry
Sampled February 2020

Brand: Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery
Type:
Flavoured – Cranberry
Location of Brewing: Bala, ON
ABV:
5.6%
Website Link:
muskokalakescider.ca
Ingredients:
Cider, cranberry juice
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 53g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (can)
Availability:
LCBO and Muskoka Lakes Retail Store
Flavour:
Cranberry
Colour:
Ruby red
Carbonation:
Small, very frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Very musty and earthy. Medium tart cranberry.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick acidity and sourness from cranberries.
After Taste: Cranberry flavour continues strongly but apples make a minor appearance. Ends on a slightly sweeter but mainly tart cranberry juice flavour. Leaves a residue in the mouth.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Slightly diminished acidity, tartness and flavour.

Additional Notes: Muskoka Lake’s Cliff Jump Cranberry is indeed a very strong cranberry influenced cider – dominating from start to finish – with a minor apple taste appearance near the end. Very tart, sour and acidic, this would only be recommended for true cranberry juice fans. With an earthiness to it, it is a very natural fruit flavour. Drink on ice for a much smoother experience. This is an offering right from the heart of cranberry country in Ontario so you may get transported to the serene Muskokas in thought while you drink this.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Cranberry Apple 
More Sour – 401 Cider – Cranberry Cosmo
More Dry – Heartwood Cidery – Currant Affair
More Crisp – Pommies – Cranberry

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Burst Cider – Atoca

Cider Profile:

Name:  Burst Cider – Atoca
Sampled July 2019

Brand: Burst Cider Co.
Type:
Flavoured – Cranberry
Location of Brewing: Embrun, ON
ABV:
6.0%
Website Link:
burstciders.ca
Ingredients:  
N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500mL (bottles)
Availability:
At Ottawa area bars + Étienne Brûlé Brewery
Flavour:
Cranberry
Colour:
Hazy pink + red
Carbonation:
Fine streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, tangy apples + tart cranberry.  Mild astringency and acidity.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity and mild carbonation. Quickly tart and sweet. Strong candied cranberry flavour. Notes of tangy apple base.
After Taste: Cranberry continues, slowly dissipating. Becomes more dry. Tart, dry cranberry finish.
On ice: Carbonation drastically cut. Less tangy and less tart. Slightly more smooth.

Additional Notes: Burst’s first release, Atoca, translates to ‘cranberry’ from French, and that is exactly what you get in this cider. Rather tart, it starts off more sweet  and candied tasting, and becomes drier as the cider progresses on. With a tangy apple base, the flavour does ‘burst’ on the palate with so many defining elements. Cranberry really does drive the cider from start to finish, so you need to like the fruit to appreciate this cider. Dry, not sugary, it could appeal to a sour cocktail drinker.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Rubee
More Sour – West Ave – Cherriosity
More Dry – Great Cider – Cranberry
More Crisp – Pommies – Cranberry

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Great Cider – Cranberry

Cider Profile:

Name:  Great Cider – Cranberry Cider
First sampled May 2018
Last updated: October 2020

Brand: The Great Canadian Cider Company
Type:
Flavoured – Cranberry
Location of Brewing:
Collingwood, ON
ABV:
6.3%
Website Link:
greatcider.ca
Ingredients:
Organic cider, organic cranberry
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 25g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (cans)
Availability: 
LCBO
Flavour:
Cranberry
Colour:
Salmon pink with some rusty hues
Carbonation: 
Medium streaming bubbles

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Clean, slightly sweet cranberry aroma with mild sweet apples notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation but very smooth from the start.  Light, tart cranberry flavour – amongst a medley of fresh, fleshy apple flavours. Sour green apple notes. Some earthy hints.
After Taste: Apple flavours continue and linger awhile. Cranberry becomes stronger, building in intensity for a bit. Somewhat tangy, semi-dry finish. Tonic like notes.
On ice: Ice cuts the carbonation and makes the taste and mouth feel thinner.

Additional Notes: Great Cider’s Cranberry Cider starts with apples being the more so first detectable flavours; and cranberry being more in the backend of the cider drinking experience. There is a nice medley of apple varieties noticeable – with the sweet, fleshy, tangy and sour notes nicely matched and balanced amongst each other. The cranberry flavour is tart and mildly sweet but not overpowering on the palate. Not a juicy cranberry base, tasting more so infused into the cider.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Cranberry Apple Cider
More Sour – County Cider Co – Feral Cider
More Dry – 401 Cider – Cranberry Apple
More Crisp – Pommies Cranberry Cider

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