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Kings Mill – Arrested Development (Carbonated)

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Arrested Development (carbonated)
Sampled June 2021

Brand:  King’s Mill Cider
Type: Apple – Off-dry
Location of Brewing: Stirling, ON
ABV: 10%
Website Link: kingsmillcider.ca
Ingredients: Ontario heritage apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Kings Mill retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent semi-bright yellow
Carbonation:  Small, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Mostly dry apples with hints of floral and must.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quickly followed by a semi-sweet apple base that is slightly tangy and acidic. Mild honey and floral hints. Effervescent. 
After Taste:  Acidity and tanginess grow, lingers a long time.  Very clean finish, sweeter as time goes on but no grittiness.
On ice: Smoother on ice, less tangy, less crisp and thinner. 

Additional Notes:  Arrested Development by Kings Mill Cider is a  clean, crisp and slightly acidic cider.  Made with heritage apples, its mostly dry with a hint of sweetness, making it an off-dry selection.  A traditional, easy to drink cider, you would almost think it’s a “light cider offering, but it’s 10% and it will sneak up on you. It gets tangier as the bottle warms with a long lasting aftertaste. A very good traditional cider that refreshes.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Apple Cider
More Sour – Stock & Row – Slow & Low
More Dry – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)
More Crisp – 

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Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry Cyder
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Duntroon, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: duntrooncyderhouse.com
Ingredients: Apples
Gluten Free: yes
Sugar Content: 0g/L 

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO and Duntroon Cyder House
retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet and pulpy apple with slight acidity
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Punchy bright apples that are semi-sweet (naturally so) and very crisp. Extra clean. Honey essences.
After Taste: Apple dissipates becoming drier but leaving most of the other elements the same.  Somewhat long lingering.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and some sharp elements.

Additional Notes: The Empire by Duntroon Cyder House is a strong example of an extra clean and crisp single varietal.  Very apple focused, it has a strong flavour and body from start to finish. Empire flavour is naturally semi-sweet and very bright but its a dry cider – with no added sugar. Not as sweet and juicy as it smells, but very crisp and refreshing with a bit of a kick from the apples. Lots of flavour and character for having just 1 type of apple and only apples as an ingredient. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Original Apple Cider
More Sour – Duxbury – Heritage 1650
More Dry – Liberty Village – Extra Dry Cider
More Crisp – 

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Busl – Aurum

Cider Profile:

Name: Busl – Aurum
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Busl Cider
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Mallorytown, ON
ABV: 6.0%
Website Link: buslcider.com
Ingredients: Apple cider
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Busl online + retail stores
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent, light yellow
Carbonation: Mixed, semi-frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Smooth, sweet, pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Light carbonation. Smooth and semi-creamy, slightly sweet apple that is light. Soft apple that dances with the carbonation for a bit.
After Taste: Sweet apple reduces and becomes slightly earthy and a touch musty. Long lingering aftertaste that is slightly thick.
On ice: Less bright apples and carbonation.

Additional Notes:  Busl Cider’s straight apple offering the Aurum, is an apple-forward, simple and sweeter apple cider that is bright and pulpy in nature. Aftertaste is pretty minimal, but slightly earthy/natural and musty with some elements that are somewhat herby and tonic-like.  A lot of classic apple juice elements in this soft but refreshing offering. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Honeycrisp
More Sour – Duxbury – Five Metre Scrum
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Spy Ciderhouse – Golden Eye

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Shale Ridge – Pear Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Pear Apple
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Shale Ridge Hard Cider
Type: Flavoured – Pear
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: shaleridgeestatewinery.com
Ingredients: Cider, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Shale Ridge retail + online stores
Flavour: Pear
Colour:  Transparent soft golden yellow
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sugared, candied pear. Pulpy and fleshy apple notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Smooth, juicy and creamy candied pear flavour – Bartlett-like pear. Sweet dessert apples. Effervescent.
After Taste: Pear becomes slightly more dry but remains juicy. Honey hints. Clean finish that is long lingering. Some film.
On ice: Slightly less sweet.

Additional Notes:  Shale Ridge’s Pear Apple is a sweet and uplifting cider experience. Memories of Japanese pear-flavoured candies come about drinking this. Very candied and juicy, the pear is forward and undeniable, reminding us the most of a Bartlett/Asian pear blend. Apple notes are pulpy and fleshy. A long lingering cider that is clean and crisp. Very refreshing overall. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Pear Flavoured Cider
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – Duntroon – Two Parish Perry
More Crisp – Ardiel – Victoria Pear

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Chill Street – Afternoon Delight

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill Street – Afternoon Delight
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Chill Street Craft Beverage Co.
Type: Apple – Wine-Infused
Location of Brewing: Elmdale, NS
ABV: 7.2%
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: Peach
Colour: Transparent yellow
Carbonation: Mixed size bubbles, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium bright aroma. A candied peach with some astringent notes. White grape and slight sweet dessert apple.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Smooth, juicy and sweet peach, some light white grape notes and a touch of dessert apples.
After Taste: Apple dissipates, leaving a bright, white grape/peach fruit wine element (minimal traditional riesling notes, even though it is a blend of that).  Non-apple elements linger. Slightly astringent but mild compared to a typical riesling aftertaste. 
On ice: Very little, if any change.

Additional Notes:  Chill Street’s Afternoon Delight is a blended cider/wine drink.  Smooth and more fruit-like than a typical riesling, its got some white grape notes, smooth and juicy peach along with a touch of sweet, dessert apples.   Blended so it remains soft and does not pick up any strong distinct notes from the wine or cider.  Easily could be confused for a Peach fruit wine. Light and easy to drink.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Peach
More Sour – Brickworks – Stadium Island Peach
More Dry – Ernest – Impeachmint
More Crisp – 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider
Sampled December 2020

Brand:  Twin Pines Orchards and Ciderhouse
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 6.8%
Website Link: twinpinesorchards.com
Ingredients: Organic apples
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Twin Pines Ciderhouse
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Medium infrequently streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Bright bittersharp apples that are very forward. Fresh, juicy, pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Strong juicy heritage apple. Bright and clean. Rustic notes.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues but becomes very tannic. A lot of apple peel notes. Dry finish.
On ice: Slightly reduced flavour and mouthfeel but minimal difference.

Additional Notes:  Twin Pines’ Hammer Bent Organic Cider is a very apple forward experience that is incredibly crisp and clean. With bright bittersharp and heritage apples, it starts very crisp, tangy and juicy, becoming rather tannic  and peel flavour oriented into the aftertaste. Tingly carbonation that uplifts the natural apple flavours. Straightforward and bold apple cider taste with no off or residual notes. Sophisticated but yet approachable to cider fans – well crafted. Made with entirely Ontario organic apples and certified organic by pro-cert. An old world, rustic offering.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Cold Creek – Cuvee Madeline (2019)
More Sour – Revel – Time and Place
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet Apple

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Cold Creek – Cuvée Madeline (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Cold Creek – Cuvée Madeline (2019)
Sampled August 2020

Brand: Cold Creek Cider
Type: Apple – Sparkling
Location of Brewing: Hillier, ON
ABV: 4.5%
Website Link: coldcreekvineyards.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Limited – Sold Out for 2020
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Rustic Translucent-Yellow
Carbonation: Medium, very frequently streaming bubbles, reduced on ice



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet and creamy tannic apple that is bright.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Strong creamy and caramelized apples that are extra smooth. On the sweeter side but not sugary.
After Taste: Becomes slightly more tannic and remains very apple forward. Remains on the palate for a long time with little reduction in taste. Mild wood and cellar notes.
On ice: Slightly reduced taste.

Additional Notes:  The Cuvée Madeline (2019) is a very apple forward cider that is full bodied and really pops in terms of flavour and mouthfeel.  The barrel-aging really helps to make the apple stand out but does not significantly alter the taste of the cider. Soft and easily consumable, it was described to us a Brittany (French) style cider crossed with an Irish-inspired cider.  Substitute for champagne, especially for fancy occasions. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –
More Sour – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Dry – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)
More Crisp – 

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Hoity Toity – 4 on the Floor

Cider Profile:

Name: Hoity Toity – 4 on the Floor
Sampled December 2020

Brand:  Hoity Toity Cellars
Type: Mixed Fruit
Location of Brewing: Mildmay, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: hoitytoitycellars.ca
Ingredients: Apples, white grapes, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Hoity Toity Retail Store
Flavour: Apple and grape
Colour:  Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Small streaming and lingering bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Juicy white grape. Pulpy apple. Hint of astringency.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity and carbonation. Juicy white grape juice. Mild earthy tones. Pulpy, crisp apple juice. Very clean, some light sugars.
After Taste: Grape becomes slightly more prominent near finish. Tangy and crisp, some tannins. Off-dry finish.
On ice: Flavour and carbonation somewhat reduced. Less grapes, apple flavours the same.

Additional Notes:  4 on the Floor from Hoity Toity is a very juice-focused, mixed-fruit cider that is clean and not very alcoholic tasting. White grapes are slightly more dominant than apples but overall, they are close in balance. Bittersharp apples and tangy fresh grapes. Off-dry but not sugary. Refreshingly unique blend that highlights the white grape juice and not a white wine element. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Honeycrisp
More Sour – Duxbury – Sideroad
More Dry – Front Road – The Spy
More Crisp – Clafeld – Smashed Apple

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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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Banjo – Revival

Cider Profile:

Name: Banjo – Revival
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Banjo Handcrafted Cider
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: banjocider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Banjo retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent golden
Carbonation: Large and small streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Semi-sweet pulpy apples. Caramelized apple notes. Mild astringency and funk.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quick acidity from apples. Very apple forward, very clean. Caramelized notes.
After Taste: Apple becomes even cleaner. Vanilla and creamy aspects. Tangy, mildly off-dry, bright apple finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Less acidity.

Additional Notes:  Banjo’s Revival is a very apple forward and extra clean cider that satisfies the desire for a cider with depth and a significant apple presence. With a considerable apple acidity and crispness, it refreshes, and is tangy for the palate. Creamy, pulpy apple notes add a unique layer of flavours. A mild astringency reminds you its 6.5%. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Flying Canoe – Hard Cider
More Sour – Pommies – Farmhouse Cider
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet Apple Cider

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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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Kupela – Bizia Semi-Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: Kupela – Bizia Semi-Dry
Sampled October 2020

Brand: Kupela Sagardoa – Cidre basque
Type: Apple – Sidra
Location of Brewing: Anglet, France
ABV: 4%
Website Link: kupela.fr
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 45 g/L

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: LCBO (Ontario – 2020)
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent, golden-yellow
Carbonation: Medium and large, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Sweet dessert apples w/ some pulpy elements. Very effervescent.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Sweet caramelized dessert apples. Some tannic and bitter sharp apple notes.
After Taste: Becomes drier, and sweetness reduces.  More bittersharp apples and some vanilla/caramel notes present.  Exits the mouth somewhat fast.
On ice: Less apple flavour, somewhat reduced.

Additional Notes:  The Kupela is a fresh apple-tasting cider collaboration from the Basque region of Spain and a company from France.  Unlike many other Basque ciders, it’s very apple forward, quite clean (filtered) and light.  Sweet but not quite sugary, light in AVB at 4%. This would be an easy transition from a commercial cider to something a bit more traditional. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – 

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Hoity Toity –  3 in the Tree

Cider Profile:

Name: Hoity Toity –  3 in the Tree
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Hoity Toity Cellars
Type: Fruit – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Mildmay, ON
ABV: 4.6%
Website Link: hoitytoitycellars.ca
Ingredients: Pears, apples, grapes, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Hoity Toity Retail Store
Flavour: Fruit
Colour:  Transparent, rusty orange
Carbonation: Medium, infrequent bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Some red grapes, crisp, clean apple and a hint of pear.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from mild carbonation. Blend of sweet dessert apples and red grape juice. Some sweetness and notes from the pear detected.
After Taste: Becomes more pear focused as the taste dissipates.  Long-lasting and extra clean.
On ice: Significantly less flavour and even further reduced carbonation

Additional Notes:  The 3 in the Tree by Hoity Toity Cellars is a unique blend of three fruits – apple, pear and grape. The blend is extremely clean, with little to no notes of fermentation. Incredibly refreshing to consume. Grape elements are more like a juice than a wine.  Apple is sweet, but not sugary. Very light carbonation. Overall, quite unique with almost no alcohol elements.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Puddicombe – Family Tree Apple Cider
More Sour – Ardiel – Victoria Pear
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Apple Cider

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KW Craft – Chai Spiced Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: KW Craft – Chai Spiced Cider
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  KW Craft Cider
Type: Apple – Mulled
Location of Brewing: Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
ABV: 6.7%
Website Link: kwcraftcider.com
Ingredients: Freshly pressed Ontario apples, cane sugar, champagne yeast,
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: 2020 Holiday Package @ LCBO + KW Craft Online Website
Flavour: Chai
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Large, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Light, bittersharp apples. Roasted mulled chai spices.
Initial Taste: Light bite from spicing and carbonation. Clean, bright, crisp apples. Warming chai spices, in particular ginger and allspice.
After Taste: Apples start to dissipate and chai becomes more forward, and smoother. Light caramel hints. Spices linger awhile but is clean in the palate.
On ice: Carbonation reduced. Spices reduced + less ‘heat’.

Additional Notes:  KW Craft’s Chai Spiced is a delightfully clean, mulled cider featuring chai spices. A rather lighter bodied cider, the spices are warming and present throughout but not overpowering nor gritty. The apple base is crisp and slightly acidic and it works well in harmony with the spices. Great for cooler weather. Captures the unique chai spices well, defines itself against other mulled cider offerings as a result.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Spiced Apple
More Sour – County – Harvest Spice
More Dry – 401 – Apple Pie Cider
More Crisp – 

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Steel Town – Session Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Session Cider
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Steel Town Cider Co
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.9%
Website Link: steeltowncider.com
Ingredients: Pressed apples, yeast, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Better beverage bars
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Hazy sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Funky, sour, pungent. Tannic apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quickly acidic. Punchy and funky apple notes. Some mild bitter undertones.
After Taste: Apples become smoother, somewhat creamy. Acidity noticeably diminishes. Buttery note to finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and acidity. Less forward elements.

Additional Notes:  The Session Cider by Steel Town is a noticeably different flagship cider than many Ontario Cideries offer as theirs. Sharing many elements with Spanish sidras, it is acidic, funky and punchy, with a bit of pungency (but don’t let that scare you, it adds a brilliant depth). One unique thing is the clean buttery flavour that emerges at the finish that lingers awhile. A satisfying dry cider. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Fielding – Dry Craft Cider
More Sour – County – Elderflower Sour
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Duxbury – Heritage 1650

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Hoity Toity – 66 Pickup

Cider Profile:

Name: Hoity Toity – 66 Pickup
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Hoity Toity Cellars
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Mildmay, ON
ABV: 7.1%
Website Link: hoitytoitycellars.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Hoity Toity retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent, sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Small, infrequently bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Mix of red, yellow and green apples flavour notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from acidity. Clean to consume, minimal carbonation. Apple forward, with a slight tang. Light, airy body. Hints of pear notes.
After Taste: Apple flavours remain the same but become a bit more dry to finish. Juicy, refreshing finish.
On ice: Less tangy, less apple.

Additional Notes:  The 66 Pickup by Hoity Toity is an extra clean, decently crisp, straightforward apple cider. It has a medley of apple flavour, that include green, red and yellow varieties – it tastes like it smells. Crisp but not too sharp or acidic apples. Mild alcoholic notes but very clean without many other elements or fermentation flavours. Airy, light body makes for easy drinking and it refreshes. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heritage Estates – Eden’s Apple
More Sour – Duxbury – Heritage 1650
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Cider

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Heritage Estate – Heirloom Apple (2018)

Cider Profile

Name: Heritage Estate – Heirloom Apple (2018)
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Heritage Estate Winery and Cidery
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Barrie, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: heritageestate.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Heritage Estate Retail Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Translucent golden-yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently streaming bubbles, almost appears still.


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild aroma. Tangy, bitter-sharp apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Smooth, clean, slightly tangy and very crisp apple notes.
After Taste: Some of the cleanness drops and you get a bit of the fermentation notes.  Remains bright with some tangy elements. Slight honey notes.  Apple taste clears the mouth quickly, leaving slight peppery notes.
On ice: Slightly reduced carbonation and thinner mouth feel.

Additional Notes:  The Heirloom (2018) from Heritage Estates is an incredibly clean cider.  Very crisp, light and slightly tangy, it’s 7% but does not taste like it. Some of the apple elements dissipate in the aftertaste, but overall its a simple, low carbonation,  apple-juice forward cider. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Apple Cider
More Sour – KW Craft – Dry Cider
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple Cider
More Crisp – 

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Ardiel – Big John Hop Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Ardiel – Big John Hop Cider
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Ardiel Cider House
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: The Blue Mountains, Ontario
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: ardielciderhouse.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 473ml (Can)
Availability: Georgian Hills Winery
Flavour: Hopped
Colour: Transparent, straw yellow.
Carbonation: Medium streaming with a lot on the glass. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Crisp apples with some lychee and citrus inspired notes from the hops.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Semi-sweet crisp dessert apples with some smooth citrus hops notes. Lemon hints.
After Taste: Remains sweeter, with some reduction in apple flavour.  More hops present but sweet and extra clean. Hops linger a bit and dries out. Tropical notes, predominantly lychee and peach.
On ice: Carbonation reduced, some less apple with a thinner body.

Additional Notes:  Big John Hop cider by Ardiel is a very clean, crisp and refreshing hopped cider.   Smoother than most hopped ciders, its light with some dessert apple notes but not sweet.  Becomes drier and more hopped with time. Does not have the same intensity in the elements that it smells like it would have. So refreshing and clean on its own, we don’t feel it needs ice to add those elements.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Hopped
More Dry – Kings Mill – Hopped
More Crisp – Duxbury – Titled Barn

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MackIntosh Ciderhouse – Five Acre

Cider Profile:

Name: MackIntosh Ciderhouse – Five Acre
Sampled August 2020

Brand: MackIntosh Ciderhouse (Flying Canoe)
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Spencerville, ON
ABV: 6.6%
Website Link: flyingcanoehardcider.com
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability:  Limited – Mackintosh Ciderhouse retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent straw yellow
Carbonation: Appears still



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bitter sharp apples with some tanginess and pulpy elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite, minimal carbonation.  Bitter sharp apples some with some acidic notes.
After Taste: Becomes more acidic but smooth and easy to consume.  Has some sulphur and fermentation elements.
On ice: Slight reduction in apple flavour.

Additional Notes:  The Five Acre by MackIntosh Ciderhouse (Flying Canoe) is a traditional cider made simply with apples and hard work.  Lightly carbonated with bitter sharp apples, is very clean and apple juice focused. Doesn’t taste alcoholic at all so be cautious while drinking this! Research the history of the name and the 5 acre rule in Ontario that has at least for now been suspended.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Apple Falls – Heritage
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Artisanal Cider
More Dry – Duxbury – Sideroad
More Crisp – Ernest – Dry Cider

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Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb (Carbonated)

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb (Carbonated)
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Kings Mill Cider Company
Type: Flavoured – Strawberry and Rhubarb
Location of Brewing: Stirling, ON
ABV: 9%
Website Link: kingsmillcider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, strawberries, rhubarb
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Kings Mill Retail store and online
Flavour: Strawberry & rhubarb
Colour:  Transparent blush
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming bubbles. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, creamy strawberries. Some natural earthy notes with underlying rhubarb.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Rhubarb start, with noticeable fresh field strawberries.  Some dessert apple-like notes. Clean with some tangy and tart notes.
After Taste: Rhubarb dissipates a bit with slightly more strawberry notes coming in. Lingers a long time and becomes slightly drier to finish.
On ice: Carbonation reduced dramatically. Smoother, more apple forward with less overall flavour

Additional Notes:  The Strawberry Rhubarb by Kings Mill is a well balanced, flavourful, fun and light cider, even at 9%.  Extra clean, it starts slightly more rhubarb followed by fresh, creamy strawberries and a smooth apple base. Mild tartness from fruits.  A sweeter cider but not sugary or cloying. Sparkly but light mouthfeel makes for a whimsical experience. 

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

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

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Slabtown – Mint Cucumber

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Mint Cucumber
Sampled August 2020

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co
Type: Flavoured – Mint and Cucumber
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link:  Slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Seasonal – Slabtown Retail Store
Flavour: Mint and Cucumber
Colour:  Transparent yellow/green hue
Carbonation: Large infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Very cucumber forward. Green apple-like notes. Hint of mint.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quick green, tart apple notes. Bold authentic cucumber taste takes over very quickly.
After Taste: Cucumber remains the same with the mint finally emerging. Crisp, tangy spearmint lingers awhile. Becomes cooling, and is refreshing.
On ice: Some tang reduced but minimal flavour disruption.

Additional Notes:  The Mint Cucumber by Slabtown is a boldly flavoured cider that has a very accurate cucumber taste that doesn’t shy away from the vegetal or earthy aspects of the produce. The mint isn’t initially noticeable but it comes out strong near the end, a spearmint-like flavour, and is rather cooling for the palate. The apple base seems to have tart green apple notes in it. Not a sweet cider but not too dry either.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Impeachmint
More Sour – Crimson Cider – Mint to Be
More Dry – Kings Mill – Ontario Mule
More Crisp – Brickworks – Mint and Basil

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401 Brewery – Pear Cider

Cider Profile:

Name:   401 Brewery – Pear Cider
Sampled September 2020

Brand: 401 Cider Brewery
Type:
Flavoured – Pear
Location of Brewing: Colborne, Ontario
ABV: 6%
Website Link: www.401cidercompany.com
Ingredients: Fermented apple juice, sugar, sulphites, natural pear flavour, caramel colour, potassium sorbate
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 341ml & 750mL (bottles)
Availability:
At 401 Retail Store (inside The Big Apple) and Online Store
Flavour:
Pear
Colour:
Translucent golden yellow
Carbonation:
Small, semi-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, juicy and acidic pear – with some apple. Honey notes and candied.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from acidity. Juicy and sweet pear flavour quickly noticeable with some mild sour hints. Crisp taste and mouth feel with slight earthiness. A bit of tartness to the palate.
After Taste: Pear flavour continues the same. Some honey and agave flavour notes. Tonic flavour hints with a semi-dry finish. Mild minerality.
On ice: Carbonation slightly cut. Becomes drier but a touch less rich in flavour.

Additional Notes: This pear flavoured cider from 401 Brewery has a more prominent pear taste than some of its competitors. A crisp drink in taste and mouth feel, it is quite refreshing to consume. Quite juicy and maybe even a tad rustic.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Pear
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Pear with Lavender
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Dry Pear
More Crisp – Ardiel – Victoria Pear

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Domaine Cléroux – Nation Spiked (Medium Dry)

Cider Profile:

Name:   Domaine Cléroux Nation Spiked (Medium Dry)
Sampled June 2020

Brand: Domaine Cléroux
Type:
Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Casselman, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
domainecleroux.ca
Ingredients:
Apples, maple syrup, sulfites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500mL (bottle)
Availability:
At Domaine Cléroux, Retail Store, Cassel Brewery
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation:
Medium, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Crisp, fresh and candied apple notes, including green apple. Smells almost hopped.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity, mild bite from carbonation. Quickly fresh, fleshy dessert apple. Mild maple syrup hints that are semi-earthy.  Somewhat tangy.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues the same, is rather crisp. Ends semi-dry, with brown sugar notes.
On ice: Thinner mouthfeel. More alcohol and earthy notes emerge.

Additional Notes: A very country, rural inspired cider, this medium-dry maple syrup-infused cider from Domaine Cléroux is very juicy and apple forward, with a rustic edge to it. Rather clean and crisp, it refreshes and satisfies. Has a unique brown sugar finish, despite it not listing it as an ingredient.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Reinhart’s Red Apple – Strong
More Sour – Stock & Row – Slow & Low
More Dry – Pommies – Farmhouse
More Crisp – Duxbury Cider – Heritage 1650

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Reinhart’s – Strong

Cider Profile:

Name: Reinhart’s Red Apple – Strong Cider
Sampled September 2020

Brand: Reinhart’s Red Apple
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Stayner, Ontario
ABV: 7%
Website Link: reinhartscider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 50 g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (Can)
Availability: LCBO
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Small, infrequent bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Punchy crisp and juicy apple. Some skin elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Sweet, crisp strong apple flavour. Minerality aspects.
After Taste:  Apple slowly fades with the mouthfeel becoming thicker and more syrupy. Long lingering flavour notes. A bit dank at the finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Thinner body but no flavour changes.

Additional Notes:  The Strong by Reinhard Red Apple is a 7% offering that’s very apple forward. Crisp and refreshing with some minerality flavour notes. It’s thicker and similar in texture to an iced cider, including the elevated sweet notes. Juicy but heavier, gritty skin elements as if you were chewing on an apple peel without flesh. It’s a nice followup to their original Light Cider that shares some similar aspects but does differ, especially for mouthfeel. Reminiscent of an ice cider but way less intense.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Strongbow – Gold Cider
More Sour – County – Apple Cider
More Dry – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Artisanal 
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Apple

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Sarah Cole – WHIP

Cider Profile:

Name: Sarah Cole – WHIP
Sampled August 2020

Brand:  Sarah Cole Cider
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Vanvleek Hill, ON
ABV: 6.3%
Website Link: sarahcolecider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO and SAQ
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent Gold
Carbonation: Medium bubbles, very infrequently streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Creamy dessert apples. Slight caramelized notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Sweet dessert apples with some caramel notes. Mild tartness with some tangy notes.
After Taste: Medley of apple notes reduces and becomes slightly syrupy but a bit more dry.
On ice: Thinner body with reduced elements and tanginess.

Additional Notes:  The WHIP by Sarah Cole Cider features a medley of apple flavours that are not overpowering or distinctive individually. It’s semi-sweet, crisp and clean. Slight tartness is also noted, but remains smooth.  You can only notice a little fermentation notes in the end. A great bridge cider for those who have only tried sweet and non-alcoholic ciders before.  This is a Canadian-made equivalent of Strongbow in terms of commercial outreach and in taste.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Queen Street 501
More Sour – Pommies – Farmhouse
More Dry – Liberty Village – Extra Dry Cider
More Crisp – No Boats on Sunday – Apple Cider

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Heartwood – Hoppity     

Cider Profile:

Name: Heartwood Cider – Hoppity
Sampled July 2020

Brand:  Heartwood Farm and Cider
Type:
Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing:
Osprige, ON
ABV:
6.8%
Website Link:
heartwoodfarm.ca
Ingredients: 
N/A
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: 
At Heartwood Retail Store + Select Farmers Markets
Flavour:
Hops
Colour:  
Sunshine golden yellow
Carbonation:
Small, frequently streaming bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Candied sweet apple with some notes of lemon and floral (presumably from the hops).
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. A clean apple base thats slightly tannic. Pine/wood notes. Some light citrus & hops flavours appear.
After Taste: Becomes a bit more tart and acidic. More hops, with some smoky and floral elements. Long-lingering aftertaste with a semi-dry finish.
On ice: Slightly smoother and thinner, but little difference overall.

Additional Notes: With an acidic apple base, the Hoppity from Heartwood is crisp and an inspired-by-the-land cider that has a medium balance of hopped notes. Pretty complex in elements, it is a long-lingering cider that is clean and natural tasting to consume. Hops have a substantive presence in the cider, particularly by adding citrus notes. Not a high bitterness cider and less bitter than many other hopped ciders.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Hopped
More Dry – Kings Mill – Hopped (Still)
More Crisp – Malus Ciderhouse – Hopped

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Stock & Row – Slow & Low

Cider Profile:

Name:   Stock & Row – Slow & Low
Sampled August 2020

Brand: Stock & Row Cider
Type:
Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing:
Bloomfield, ON
ABV:
5%
Website Link:
stockandrow.com
Ingredients: 
N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (cans)
Availability:
LCBO Spring 2021, Select home delivery and various bars in Ontario
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Hazy, sunflower yellow
Carbonation:
Medium, semi-streaming bubbles, less on ice.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Dessert apples with some creamy elements.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity.  Semi-tangy and semi-dry apples, with some peel notes.  Slightly acidic with some tannins.
After Taste: Becomes a little less apple forward and slightly more forward fermentation notes.  Some tonic and floral elements in the finish.  Ends drier.

Additional Notes:  The Slow & Low from Stock & Row is a slow fermented cider and the depth shows this. Slightly acidic, tannic and dry, it is not overly apple forward but of course still with nice apple flavours. Rather clean tasting overall. Approachable with elements of both commercial and traditional ciders, it’s fit for the pub, patio or dinner table.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Queen Street 501
More Sour – County – Apple Cider
More Dry – Crimson Cider – Crimson Crisp
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Cider

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Front Road – Lakeside Hard Cider

Cider Profile:

Name:   Front Road – Lakeside Hard Cider
Sampled April 2020

Brand: Front Road Cellers – Blueberry Estate Hills
Type:
Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: St. Williams, ON
ABV:
6%
Website Link:
blueberry-hill.ca
Ingredients:  
N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 355 mL (bottle)
Availability:
Blueberry Hill Estates Retail Store + Online Store
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Transparent, bold golden yellow
Carbonation:
Small, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sharp, caramelized apples, slightly pulpy.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quick caramelized and clean apple flavour. Mild crab-apple flavour.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues the same and lingers. Ends semi-sweet. Mild honey notes.
On ice: Elements are slightly diminished but not much difference.

Additional Notes: Front Road Cellars’ Lakeside Hard Cider is an extra clean, sessionable cider that features a strong and rich caramelized apple flavour, without any unwanted fermentation notes. With a flavour journey that remains almost the same from start to finish, it’s tangy and definably crisp, apple forward –  it is not messing around with other distracting elements.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Original Apple Cider
More Sour – Bonnieheath –  Folkin Hard Fresh Apple
More Dry – County Cider – A Tortured Path
More Crisp – 

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Beaupré – Cidre Honblonné

Cider Profile:

Name:  Beaupré – Cidre Honblonné
Sampled March 2020

Brand: Geloso Group of Companies
Type:
Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing:
Laval, QC
ABV:
5.6%
Website Link:
cidrebeaupre.com
Ingredients: 
N/A
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available:  1L (bottle)
Availability:
SAQ (Quebec)
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Dark golden-yellow
Carbonation:
Minimal small bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Semi-strong aroma. A very clean and crisp juicy apple. Hint of cloves.
Initial Taste: No bite. Extra smooth, crisp clean Macintosh apple with no alcoholic notes – with some natural fruit acidity.  Some spice notes (cloves) that play along with a lightly hopped flavour. Citra hops add make for an orange-y flavour.
After Taste: Does not linger long.  More hops in the aftertaste but remains very clean throughout.
On ice: Even smoother and cleaner. Tastes more so like an alcoholic cider.

Additional Notes:  The Beaupré – Cidre Honblonné is a lightly hopped cider that has a very clean and fresh taste to it. The Macintosh apples make it undeniably a product from Quebec. Its base is dessert apples, without any real alcohol tasting notes, and a smooth, minimal combination of Citra and Cascade hops, it’s easy to mistake this as non-alcoholic. Sweet but not sugary overall. The hops work to elevate the cider and are less harsh than other hopped ciders.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –
More Sour – 
More Dry –
More Crisp – 

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Niagara Cider – Rose Gold

Cider Profile:

Name:  Niagara Cider Company – Rose Gold
Sampled June 2020

Brand: Niagara Cider Company
Type:
Flavoured – Mixed Berry
Location of Brewing: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
ABV:
6%
Website Link:
niagaracidercompany.com
Ingredients:  
Apples, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cane sugar, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (Can)
Availability:
LCBO and select better beverage bars
Flavour:
Mixed berries
Colour:
Light rose gold
Carbonation:
Fine, frequently streaming bubbles




Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet dessert apples with some floral and berry notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Quick burst of semi-sweet, and semi-tangy apples. Mild berry notes, with raspberries most obvious. Some bitter notes from fermentation.
After Taste: Medley of apple flavours continue and linger. Berries become more prevalent – particularly strawberry – also becoming smoother and sweeter. Tangy, apple peel-like flavours in the finish.  Some mild tonic notes.
On ice: Cuts a lot of carbonation and some harsher fermentation aspects. Becomes smoother and sweeter.

Additional Notes: Niagara Cider Company’s Rose Gold Berry Soaked Cider is a delightful light offering that would be refreshing anytime, but in particular on a Spring or Summer afternoon. While the cider is more apple forward than anything else – with a nice mixture of sweet and sour apple notes – the berries are about a medium level in taste… slightly candied with raspberries being the most obvious, strawberries second and the blueberries being minimal. Smells much different then it tastes. Nice rosé wine replacement.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heritage Estate – Edens Apple Strawberry
More Sour – Pommies – Red Sangria
More Dry – Heartwood Cider – Currant Affair
More Crisp – Thornbury – Rosé

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Domaine Cléroux – Nation’Spiked (Dry)

Cider Profile:

Name:  Domaine Cléroux – Nation’Spiked (Dry)
Sampled June 2020

Brand: Domaine Cléroux
Type:
Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing:
Cassleman, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
domainecleroux.ca
Ingredients
: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free
: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability:
Online and retail store
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Transparent golden-rod
Carbonation:
Very frequently small streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fresh, sweet and pulpy natural apple juice smell.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quickly semi-tart apples with slight acidity and punchy apple. Some astringency.
After Taste: Remains slightly tart with some dryness. Mild hints of sweetness.  Long lingering flavour.
On ice: Carbonation reduced with a slight reduction in acidity.

Additional Notes:  The Nation’Spiked (Dry) by Domaine Cléroux is a decently dry, semi-tart cider that is extra clean (no fermentation or other elements to impact the taste). It’s one of the most “apple-forward” ciders we have had. It would be hard to find a non-alcoholic cider that has this much apple flavour and punch – the underlying astringency enhances the natural fruit notes. Incredibly crisp.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Flying Canoe Hard Cider
More Sour – Burst – Cranberry
More Dry – Farmgate – Founders Reserve
More Crisp – 

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Crimson Cider – Mint To Be

Cider Profile:

Name:   Crimson Cider – Mint To Be
Sampled June 2020

Brand:  Crimson Cider Co.
Type:
Flavoured – Cucumber and Mint
Location of Brewing:
Picton, ON
ABV:
5.9%
Website Link:
crimsoncidercompay.com
Ingredients
: N/A
Gluten Free
: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability:
Crimson Cider retail and online stores
Flavour:
Mint & Cucumber
Colour:
Pale yellow with a slight green hue
Carbonation:
Small, frequently streaming bubbles.


 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Cucumber forward with some natural mint and light dessert apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. First moment is a tart, crisp apple, but it very quickly changes to a strong, fresh and juicy cucumber. Cucumber is muddled in nature and slightly earthy.
After Taste: As the flavour dissipates, mint becomes more noticeable.  Apple returns at the end of the after taste.
On ice: Slightly less apple and more cucumber.

Additional Notes:  A very unique cider, the Mint to Be by Crimson Cider Co. is very cucumber forward, with some fresh mint and dessert apples.  Slightly earthy with some muddled notes. It has a lovely, intense aroma which matches the strong flavour.  It almost has vodka undertone, though Crimson suggests having a shot of Gin with it.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Impeachmint
More Sour – Hard Way – Loco Blanco (“dos”)
More Dry – Kings Mill – Ontario Mule
More Crisp – Ardiel – Victoria Pear

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Thornbury – Honeycrisp

Cider Profile:

Name:   Thornbury – Honeycrisp
Sampled May 2020

Brand: Thornbury Village Cider House
Type:
Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Thornbury, ON
ABV:
5.6%
Website Link:
thornburycraft.com
Ingredients:
Honeycrisp apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 26 g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (Can)
Availability:
LCBO and Thornbury Retail and Online stores
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Light, straw yellow, translucent and almost shiny.
Carbonation:
Small, infrequently streaming bubbles with ring of foam



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet and crisp pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from carbonation. Smooth and crisp sweet honeycrisp apple with some slight tart notes
After Taste: Apple flavours remain the same, very little change but becomes slightly drier and tarter, more apple focused.  Lingers a long time.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and slightly less apple focused.

Additional Notes: Thornbury’s Honeycrisp Apple Cider, this single varietal cider tastes like a simple, sweet and standard apple juice, with just a bit of alcoholic notes so you know it’s a hard cider.  One of the most “crisp” ciders we have had (the sharp apple flavour, slightly acidic but a refreshing, clean finish).  A hard apple to work with as it traditionally does not fit cider well, Thornbury has been successful in capturing the varietal elements well.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Reinhart’s Red Apple Light Cider
More Sour – Heritage Estate – Eden’s Apple
More Dry – Duxbury – Sideroad 
More Crisp – 

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Chudleigh’s Orchard Cider     

Cider Profile:

Name: Chudleigh’s Orchard Cider
Sampled July 2018 (Updated January 2021)

Brand: Waterloo Brewing Co
Type:
Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing:
Halton Hills, ON
ABV:
5.3%
Website Link: 
chudleighs.com
Ingredients:
Cider, Sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 40g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (can) & 750ML Bottle (2021)
Availability:
LCBO & Restaurants (Blossom Cafe)
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Transparent, straw-yellow.
Carbonation: Very sparse bubbles, medium to strong carbonation.

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet fleshy/pulpy apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and some acidity. A mix of pulpy, fleshy and sweet apple tastes. Semi-tangy clean apple.
After Taste: Peel becomes more prevalent, some notes of straw and apricot. Some tanginess.   Becomes more fruit-forward in the aftertaste. Lingers semi-long.
On ice:  Carbonation is cut dramatically. Cleaner taste and feel on ice – including becoming thinner in consistency.

Additional Notes:  Tasting like a freshly pressed blend of sweet dessert apple juices, Chudleigh’s Orchard Cider is a very crisp, apple forward experience that would be great for new hard cider drinkers. This cider has a lot of mouth feel, though was heavy is not much lighter. It tastes like a non-alcoholic cider you’d get at a farmers market – especially in the Fall. This was a former collaboration between Chudleigh’s Apple Farm and Waterloo Brewing Company.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Great Cider – Not Too Sweet
More Sour – Flying Canoe Hard Cider
More Dry – County Apple Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury Original Craft Cider

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401 Cider Company – Apple Pie Cider

Cider Profile:

Name:  401 Brewery – Apple Pie Cider
Sampled April 2018

Brand: 401 Cider Brewery
Type:
Flavoured – Spiced
Location of Brewing:
Colborne, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link:
401cidercompany.com
Ingredients:
Fermented apple juice, mulling spices, brown sugar, caramel colour, sulphites, potassium sorbate
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability:
At retail store and online
Flavour:
Apple and spices
Colour:
Golden rusty brown
Carbonation:
Medium, semi-frequently streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma of sweet apples and baking spices. Caramel notes
Initial Taste: Light bite from slight acidity and apple elements. Quick cinnamon and baking spice flavours come out strongly. Vanilla, crust-like flavours also there.
After Taste: All initial flavours continue with sweet apple flavours become more obvious. Long lingering. Very smooth and sweet finish.
On ice: Carbonation is cut. Spices are reduced – including the heat from the spices. Creamy apple flavours remain.

Additional Notes: 401’s Apple Pie Cider is spot on to the dessert it’s named after. A very accurate medley of flavours, it starts as more of the vanilla-like crust flavours, moving towards more of the apple pie filling flavours as it progresses. With strong baking spices (especially cinnamon), this is a perfect dessert drink for any cider fan. Smooth, creamy and rich, it is well-balanced overall.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Blood Orange Cider
More Sour – Thornbury Spiced Apple Cider
More Dry – Spirit Tree Pumpkin Cider
More Crisp – Collective Arts Pear Saison Cider

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Rock Creek – Dry Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Rock Creek – Dry Apple
Sampled December 2017 (Updated June 2020)

Brand: Big Rock Brewery
Type:
Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing:
Calgary, AB
ABV:
5.5%
Website Link:
bigrockbeer.com
Ingredients:
Hard Apple Cider, Ginger, Cinnamon, Vanilla extract, Sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 24g/lSize(s) available: 355ml Can 4 pack, 473ml Can
Availability:
Alberta and BC liquor stores, Big Rock Retail Store(s) & LCBO (2020)
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Transparent, rustic golden yellow
Carbonation
: Medium still sized bubbles – with small streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Very minimal. Sweet and tart apple aromas
Initial Taste: livht bite from carbonation. A single semi-dry apple flavour that becomes very prevalent.
After Taste: Carbonation and flavour dissipate quickly. Some elements of tangieness and earthiness.  Sugary residue that lingers.  Very short aftertaste, slight cinnamon notes if you know its in the drink.
On ice: Less flavour and carbonation.

Additional Notes:  Rock Creek Dry Apple Cider is one of the most crisp ciders we have come across.  It’s a single apple flavour, that dissipates extra quick. A more minimalist cider that would also refresh when in need of hydration.  Not a lot to it overall, simple but refreshing.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3
Sour – 2
Crisp – 4.5
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pommies Apple Cider
More Sour – Brickworks Batch 1904
More Dry – Fraser Valley Bone Dry
More Crisp – Okanagan Apple Cider

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Flying Canoe – Hard Cider

Cider Profile:

Name:  Flying Canoe – Hard Cider
Sampled March 2017

Brand:  Flying Canoe Cider
Type:
Hard Cider
Location of Brewing:
Ottawa, ON
ABV
: 5%
Website Link:  
flyingcanoehardcider.com
Ingredients:
Apples, Sulfates
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/ASize(s) available: 473ml
Availability:
LCBO, various grocery stores, various bars in Eastern Ontario
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Orangeish-Yellow (Almost looks like orange juice)
Carbonation:
Hard to see small bubbles, bigger but less prevalent on-ice
 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Faint to medium, sweet apple with hints of wine and citrus aromas.
Initial Taste: Small bite. Sweet apple with a citrus undertone.
After Taste: Mild sour undertones with a tangy fleshy apple aftertaste that stays for a while.
On ice:  Flavour and carbonation bite is cut on ice. Easier to drink.  Slightly more candied.

Additional Notes: A very pub-oriented and approachable cider, Flying Canoe is tangy and crisp to enjoy. Juicy apple flavour drive the cider from start to finish, with a hint of tannins.  With subtle notes of citrus (sweet orange), this unique cider does not taste very alcoholic but still manages to warm the core.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –TBA
More Sour – TBA
More Dry – TBA
More Crisp – TBA

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