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Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose 2019
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Spirit Tree – 10th Anniversary Estate Reserve

Cider Profile:

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

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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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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Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony
Sampled February 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Steel Town – Barrique

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Barrique
Sampled November 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Slabtown – Founder’s Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Founder’s Dry
Sampled January 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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West Avenue – Genevieve

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Genevieve
Sampled January 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Rice Lake – Original Dry Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Rice Lake – Original Dry Cider
Sampled January 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Duntroon – Sumac

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Sumac
Sampled January 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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East Street – Landmark Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: East Street – Landmark Dry
Sampled January 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Windswept – Lost Orchard (2017)

Cider Profile:

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

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Fleuri – Hyslop

Cider Profile:

Name: Fleuri – Hyslop 
Sampled September 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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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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Steel Town – Salvaje (Pet Nat)

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Salvaje (Pet Nat)
Sampled December 2020

Brand:  Steel Town Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Pet Nat
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: drinksteeltowncider.com
Ingredients: Pressed apples
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Steel Town online and retail stores
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Cloudy, freshly-cut straw
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Acidic, pulpy and bright tannic notes
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Dry funky, pulpy apples that have some creamy elements to it. Some acidic and acetic notes.  A lot of crabapple undertones. Slightly cellared/funky tasting. Punchy astringency and sourness.
After Taste: Becomes more dry in the aftertaste with some gritty elements. Sourness lingers but weakens. Funk notes remain awhile. Slight buttery aftertaste.
On ice: Carbonation greatly reduced. Some punchy elements lessened.

Additional Notes:  The Salvaje by Steel Town is as hard to describe as its name is to say.  A funky cider without many harsh notes with a creamy, acetic, crabapple-like base.  Not overly long lingering but a bit of a slightly buttery aftertaste.  It has a lot of unique notes, but still has that Steel Town edge.  Not a beginner cider, but something that could definitely open up a palate. Spanish sidra essences. Salvaje translates to ‘Wild’ in Spanish.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 4
Crisp – 2
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Front Road Cellars – Lakeside Hard Cider
More Sour – County – Elderflower Sour
More Dry –
More Crisp – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)

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Hard Way – Renegade

Cider Profile:

Name:   Hard Way – Renegade
Sampled November 2020

Brand: The Hard Way Cider Co
Type:
Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Bath, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
hardwaycider.com
Ingredients:
100% locally grown apples, sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355mL (can)
Availability:
 Hard Way retail + online store
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Transparent, bright golden yellow
Carbonation:
Small and medium bubbles, frequently streaming.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Sweet and light pulpy apple smell. Some oaky notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite with some acidity quickly noticeable. Light dessert apple taste with heritage apple notes. Semi-earthy notes. Some oak notes from barreling. Medium astringency.
After Taste: Apple continues the same. Becomes smoother and slightly sweeter. Tangy, lightly tart. Dry finish that is clean.
On ice: Body is thinned (reduced carbonation). Apple is slightly watered down. Crisper and slightly more smooth on ice.

Additional Notes:  Hard Way’s Renegade cider is a straightforward apple cider experience, with the same apple taste from start to finish. With a distinctive oak/wood taste, you get the triple barrel-aging process flavours without dominating the cider’s profile. With some earthiness and astringency, its got a satisfying depth. A great example of a clean, barrel-aged cider that is very sessionable.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Apple Cider
More Sour – Loch Mor – Untamed Cider (2019)
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Duntroon Cyder – Standing Rock

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Farmgate – Stagecoach

Name: Farmgate – Stagecoach
Sampled October 2020

Brand: Farmgate Cider
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Carp, ON
ABV: 7.0%
Website Link:
Ingredients:  N/A
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Farmgate online store (and select Ottawa Farmers Markets)
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent, dark yellow/rustic orange
Carbonation: Medium and Large semi-streaming bubbles. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Medley of different apples that are juicy and mature – with some acidic elements.
Initial Taste: Strong bite from carbonation. Quickly acidic with a mature & cellared apple taste.  Some tannins present with farmhouse funk. Heavier mouthfeel.
After Taste: Becomes less apple forward, with more fermentation and other elements present.  Some caramelized apple and stone fruit notes that are slightly saline.
On ice: Thinner and reduced carbonation.

Additional Notes:  This very apple forward offering from Farmgate, the Stagecoach, has significant acidic and mature apple elements. It’s juicy and quite flavourful; as well as a lot of bite and depth elements.  Has a medley of bright apples in the mix. This is a full-flavoured offering that has a nice rustic/normandy style finish. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Domaine Cléroux – Nation’Spiked (Medium Dry)
More Sour – Revel – All Day
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Apple Falls – Heritage

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Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
Sampled November 2020

Brand:  Grey & Gold Cider Company
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Clarksburg, ON
ABV: 7.5%
Website Link: greyandgoldcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Grey & Gold Retail Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent, light golden yellow
Carbonation: Large, Infrequently streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Tannic with some bitter-sharp elements.  Slight earthy and acidic.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quick tannic apples with some acidity. Pulpy, with some apple skin aspects and dryness. Some astringency but overall pretty light and bright.
After Taste: Becomes more dry as time goes on.  Bitter-sharp apple notes dissipate and become slightly sweeter.
On ice: Slightly thinner and drier.

Additional Notes:  The Heritage Dry by Grey and Gold is a classic, traditional cider with bitter-sharp elements that is still pretty bright to consume overall. It’s clean and easy to drink, but with a lot of depth and layers. Some rustic and earthy notes,  it has some residual elements at the bottom of the bottle. A very traditional cider with some modern hints, well crafted.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Spy Cider – Never Say Never
More Sour – Duxbury – Heritage 1650
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Apple Cider

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Hard Way – Catawampus

Cider Profile:

Name:   Hard Way – Catawampus
Sampled November 2020

Brand: Hard Way Cider Company
Type:
Flavoured – Black Cherry
Location of Brewing: Bath, ON
ABV:
9%
Website Link:
hardwaycider.com
Ingredients:  
Apple, black cherry juice, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Hard Way retail store + online
Flavour:
Black Cherry
Colour:
Pale, peachy pink
Carbonation:
Small, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Some astringency and sweetness from bourbon. Medium apple and light cherry notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity/astringency. Sharp, crisp apple flavour. Hit of bourbon flavour that is astringent and yet also caramelized/vanilla.
After Taste: Bourbon flavour continues but mellows out. Black cherry finally comes through and lingers awhile. Ends dry with bourbon and cherry complimenting each other.
On ice: Carbonation and bourbon flavour is reduced. Smoother.

Additional Notes: The Catawampus from Hard Way is as hard (9%!) as it is to spell! With a prominent bourbon flavour from the barreling process, it dominates from start to finish, with the promised black cherry flavour appearing in the after taste to enhance and compliment from bourbon notes. Slightly astringent from the spirit. With vanilla and caramel hints, among the woody barreling notes, it has a lot going on but is very enjoyable. It’s a slow sipper in our opinion.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Busl – Cherry Cider
More Sour – Revel – Sonata
More Dry – Loch Mor –  Bootlegger (Whisky)
More Crisp – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry

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The Old Tun – Original Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: The Old Tun – Original Cider
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  The Old Tun (Ridge Point Wine)
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Niagara, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: theoldtun.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Online via Drink Collab
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Large, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Pulpy apple with some acidic notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Apple is slightly funky and earthy.  Not overly forward with some woody elements and citrus/orange notes.
After Taste: Apple flavour dissipates and leaves earthy/funky fermentation notes and yeast elements. Some astringency.
On ice: Reduced flavour and carbonation

Additional Notes:  The Old Tun Original Cider is a pulpy, slightly earthy and funky cider that has strong citrus flavours – in particular unique orange and lemon notes. It’s not overly apple forward, and features a tingly carbonation.  Underlying astringency and farmhouse notes provide some depth.  

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Apple Cider
More Sour – West Ave – Legend of the Fall
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Niagara Cider – Dry No. #1

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Banjo – Dueling Banjos

Cider Profile:

Name: Banjo – Dueling Banjos
Sampled August 2020

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

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottles)
Availability: Banjo Retail Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Bright yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild aroma. Quick tannic, sharp, bitter sharp apple notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Bold and sharp apple flavour. Punchy and tannic. Crab apple aspects, including thickness.
After Taste:  Apple flavour continues the same but also becomes funky in nature. Tannins make the mouth slightly dry. Becomes slightly more caramelized in taste at finish. Cleans out somewhat quick but with some slight filmy elements
On ice: Less carbonation. Less apple focused. Sweeter.

Additional Notes:  Dueling Banjos by Banjo Cider is a very sharp, crisp and acidic cider that offers bold apple flavour from start to finish. You get a medley of apple flavours here – crab apples, heritage, and dessert apples and you get the peel, flesh and tannic notes. Complex but not confusing for the palate. Some funk at the end, but rather clean and easy drinking. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heritage Estates – Heirloom Apple
More Sour – Farmgate – Founders’ Reserve
More Dry – West Ave – Legend of the Fall
More Crisp – 

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Revel – Good Evening

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – Good Evening
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Revel Cider
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Guelph, ON
ABV: 7.8%
Website Link: revelcider.ca
Ingredients: Cortland cider, vidal, honey, honeycomb
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Revel Retail Store and Online Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Cloudy pale yellow
Carbonation: Mixture of bubble sizes, bubbly



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pulpy and creamy apple notes. Slightly acetic. Hints of honey.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Quick red apple taste, especially peel. Some acidity and tannins.
After Taste: Apples continue but white wine notes emerge. Becomes creamier. Ends on delicate honey notes. Lingering apple tannins that are fresh tasting.
On ice: Carbonation reduced. Much crisper and smoother. All flavour elements reduced.

Additional Notes:  Revel’s Good Evening fits into their grand scheme of cider offerings but is unique in its red apple focus and delicate honey notes at the finish. Crisp, acidic and decently tannic. It has vidal blended into it, but it’s not dominating, and only adds mild flavour and body characteristics. 

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

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

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Slabtown – Legendary Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
Sampled October 2020

Brand: Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 5.8%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown Retail Store
Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Translucent, ruby-red
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Dry and tart cherry. Some sour apple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity, strong tart Montmorency Cherry-like notes with some sweet apple.
After Taste: Apple reduces. Cherry becomes drier and more tart, somewhat syrupy. Extremely long lasting.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and slight flavour. Thinner mouth feel but overall still very strong. 

Additional Notes:  The Legendary Cherry by Slabtown is a bold, dry cherry offering. Very tart and thick, it has a stronger cherry flavour than many others in the Ontario market. More cherry juice than apple based, it is not a traditional cider. Major cherry jolly rancher vibes. Depth of some red wine varieties.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Bonnieheath – Folkin’ Hard Cherry Bomb
More Sour – 
More Dry – Banjo – Rouge Cider
More Crisp – West Ave – Cherriosity

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Duntroon – Net Zerø Organic

Cider Profile

Name: Duntroon – Net Zerø Organic
Sampled September 2020

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

Size(s) available: 473ml (cans)
Availability: Duntroon retail store and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent pale yellow.
Carbonation: Large, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, caramelized apple. Somewhat candied. Effervescent.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from acidity. Quick strong, pulpy apple notes. Caramel elements with a juicy taste. Buttery hints.
After Taste: Apple flavour remains but dissipates quickly and adds some peel flavours. Tonic aspects amongst mild bitter notes. Slightly off-dry but very bright and clean apple finish.
On ice: Mild reduction in carbonation, but very little difference.

Additional Notes:  The Net Zerø Dry Organic Cider by Duntroon Cyder House not only is an interesting tasting cider, it also has a unique backstory. A rather apple-forward cider, it features a lot of pulpy apple notes that are juicy and caramelized, with some peel notes near the finish. Aftertaste is below average in length however with some tonic and bitter aspects adding depth overall. It has some buttery notes like found in a chardonnay wine. The mission of the cyder is in celebration of their goal to become a fully sustainable, carbon-neutral cyder house. Also features zero sulphites, additives, gluten, sugar and GMO.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Sarah Cole – WHIP
More Sour – Windswept – Cyser
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Spruce of the Bruce
More Crisp – Spy Cider – Never Say Never

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Spy – Never Say Never

Cider Profile

Name: Spy – Never Say Never
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Spy Ciderhouse and Distillery
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Clarksburg, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: spydistillery.com
Ingredients: Apples
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (cans)
Availability: Spy retail store + online
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Pale, sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pulpy, crisp apple. Some bittersharp hints. Some acidity.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Sharp, acidic but clean and bright apple medley flavours. Medium tannic levels.
After Taste: Tannins start to diminish, becomes a cleaner, sharper apple. Tangy, semi-dry finish.
On ice: Carbonation reduced. Slightly less tangy and less tannins. Minimal change to apple profile.

Additional Notes:  A very clean offering from Spy, this Never Say Never is made with organic apples harvested at their estate. Crisp, it has a tangy acidity from start to finish. Very apple forward with some mild earthy, natural hints. Straightforward apple cider with some depth – from fermentation process + heritage apples – but not too complex to not be appreciated by most. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ardiel – Dry Apple Cider
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Draught Cider
More Dry – Duxbury – Heritage 1650
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Cider

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Grey & Gold – Spruce of the Bruce

Cider Profile:

Name: Grey & Gold – Spruce of the Bruce
Sampled August 2020

Brand:  Grey & Gold Cider Company
Type: Flavoured – Flora
Location of Brewing: The Blue Mountains, ON
ABV: 7.2%
Website Link: greyandgoldcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottles)
Availability: Via Grey & Gold Retail Store
Flavour: Spruce
Colour:  Pale, translucent yellow.
Carbonation: Large bubbles, frequently streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Creamy apples with some mild pine notes. Some funk.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Creamy apples that are easy on the palate. Funky, dank aspects.
After Taste: Spruce becomes more noticeable and finishes with sharp and piney & spruce notes at the end… especially present once the apple notes dissipate. Woody notes.
On ice: Slightly more apple and less woody/earthy notes

Additional Notes: The Grey and Gold Spruce of the Bruce is a walk in a forrest conveniently in a bottle. An unfiltered cider which start stronger with creamy apple and finishes very spruce and woody focused. It appears heavily carbonated but in fact it’s not that impactful.  Not something you could sit down and have a few, it’s gourmet and sophisticated, maybe even a delicacy cider for certain palates. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2.5 

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Duxbury – Tilted Barn
More Sour – KW Craft – Thai Ginger
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – 401 Cider – Sparkling Oaked Cider

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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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Banjo – Rouge

Cider Profile:

Name: Banjo – Rouge
Sampled September 2020

Brand: Banjo Handcrafted Cider
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: banjocider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, dark cherry, maple syrup, sulphites
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Banjo Retail Store 
Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Translucent dark-red
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Funky and tart cherries, earthy elements. Muddled apple. Some warming spices.   
Initial Taste: Light bite. Smooth apples with fresh, balanced (not too tart nor sweet) ripe dark cherries flavours.
After Taste: Apple reduces leaving more red-wine like elements from the dark cherries. Becomes drier and some fermentation elements noticeable. Some damp oak and spice like notes (cardamon and clove) appear near finish.
On ice: Reduced overall flavour. Cherry stripped away more than apple.

Additional Notes:  The Rouge by Banjo is unique for a cherry cider.  Smooth, light carbonation, balanced cherries that are on-par with the apple flavours.  Some tart/tangy elements, with a little drier and slight red-wine finish.  Natural, funky, woody and obviously crafted from the farm. A relatively delicate cherry cider compared to others, as it is not heavily sweetened like many, rather with just a touch of maple syrup. Very traditionally-inspired fruit cider.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Fielding Cider – Cherry Rosé
More Sour – Muskoka -Cliff Jump Cranberry
More Dry – Heritage Estates – Cherriosity
More Crisp – Collective Arts – Apple and Cherry Cider

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Windswept – Cyser

Cider Profile:

Name: Windswept – Cyser
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Windswept Orchard Cider
Type: Apple – Cyser
Location of Brewing: Grey Country, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: windweptcider.com
Ingredients: Georgian Bay apples, wild yeast, local wildflower honey, sulphites.
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Via Windswept retail and online stores. Select Farmers Markets
Flavour: Apple & honey
Colour:  Hazy straw yellow
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles. Rather foamy upon pour



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Semi-acidic. Funky with some earthy notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Funky and semi-tart apples, with some smooth honey.  Acidic apples with some earthiness. Slightly acetic.
After Taste: Apple notes diminish. Honey remains strong, ends on that. Some herby notes like coriander.
On ice: Carbonation greatly reduced, thinner and crisper.

Additional Notes:  The Cyser (a cider fermented with honey) by Windswept is a wild ferment offering. A heavier but not thick mouthfeel from the honey and some funky notes make the cider standout. Some acidity, slightly acetic elements.  Finishes uniquely herby, its earthy and somewhat wild tasting, but still very room. Its substantive carbonation could appeal to sparkling white wine drinkers. A bright cider with a decent carbonation that elevates the flavours.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 3.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 4
Fruity –2.5 

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 401 Cider – Oh Honey 
More Sour – Clafeld – Oh Beehave
More Dry – Duxbury – English Scrumpy
More Crisp –  Ernest – Dry Cider

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Grange of Prince Edward – Farmhouse

Cider Profile:

Name: Grange of Prince Edward – Farmhouse Style Still Cider
Sampled June 2020

Brand:  Grange of Prince Edward
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing:
Hillier, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
grangewinery.com
Ingredients
: N/A
Gluten Free
: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability:
Grange of Prince Edward online and retail stores
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Transparent, light golden-yellow
Carbonation:
Still


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Acidic and semi-dry apples with some peppery notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Starts strong in acidic flavours with some tannic apples.
After Taste: Remains acidic and sour, gets a little bit dank as aftertaste goes on. Extremely long-lingering aftertaste with buttery notes. Some finishing pepper-like aspects.
On ice: Slightly more watered down and less acidic.

Additional Notes:  The Farmhouse Still by Grange of Prince Edward is very unique in its acidic properties.  Long lasting taste, it could impact the food you’re eating for better or worse. Stays very flavourful and wine-like for a long time, think chardonnay, especially with the buttery notes. Dry, light and bright but not sweet. Tannic but not too apple forward. The fact it is a still cider may take some palate adjustments if you are use to only carbonated ciders.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Apple Falls – Heritage
More Sour – County – Waupoos Premium
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Fieldbird – Fledglings (Sur Lie)

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FieldBird – Fledgling (Sur Lie)

Cider Profile:

Name:   FieldBird – Fledgling (Sur Lie)
Sampled August 2020

Brand: FieldBird Cider
Type:
Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Wellington, ON
ABV:
9%
Website Link:
fieldbird.ca
Ingredients:  
Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 330mL (bottle)
Availability:
FieldBird Online Store
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Cloudy straw yellow
Carbonation:
Fine, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma of muddled pulpy apple. Some acidic and astringent notes.  Slightly earthy.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity and carbonation. Apple forward with some pulpiness. Astringent. Quickly becomes overpowered by musty/farmhouse elements from the fermentation process.
After Taste: Musty and fermentation notes grow and then dissipate leaving a somewhat muddied pulpy apple that’s earthy.  Elements as strong near the finish but it finishes bold nonetheless.
On ice: Acidity is slightly reduced, along with some flavour and punch.

Additional Notes: The Sur Lie offering from the Fledgling line from FieldBird Cider, comes in a cute stubby bottle but it still packs a punch at 9%.  Easier to consume than other larger formats from the cidery, it’s still not for the inexperienced drinker.  Acidic and more astringent than most ciders, it’s got a pulpy apple taste with a lot of fermentation elements. Using the Sur Lie method of leaving in the dead yeast and fruit that sinks, its unfiltered and bottle conditioned. Tingly mouthfeel.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 3
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Apple Cider
More Sour – Loch Mor – Untammed
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Crimson Cider – Crimson Crisp

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Rootstock Ciderworks – Rosé Hard Cider (2017)

Cider Profile:

Name: Rootstock Ciderworks – Rose Hard Cider (2017)
Sampled October 2019

Brand: Rootstock Ciderwork (Celk Distilling) & Leonard Oakes Estate Winery
Type:
Apple – Rosé
Location of Brewing:
Williamson, NY
ABV:
7.9%
Website Link:
rootstockciderworks.com
Ingredients:
Blend of Heritage Cider form Rootstock and Rose wine from Leonard Oakes Estate Winery (Rhode Island Greening and Courland Apples, Blaufrankisch Grapes)
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 1.5% RS

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability:
From Rootstock retail store
Flavour:
Rosé
Colour:  
Deep rose
Carbonation:
Almost still, light bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes

Smell: Medium aroma. Slightly astringent. Candied berries and floral hints
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Semi acidic with a dry, tart apple.
After Taste: Becomes even drier and tarter, and rather wine-like in the finish. Berry focused with a light, floral tingle at the end.
On ice: Thinner mouthfeel and reduction in flavour, but still remains more flavourful then most rosé ciders.

Additional Notes:  A heavier than most rosé, the Rootstock Ciderworks’ collaboration with Leonard Oakes Estate Winery’s Blaufrankisch is full bodied and a bit tarter than most rosés we’ve had.  It packs a punch at 7.9%, but tastes like it’s a little higher.  Filled with heritage apples, this makes a lot of sense as many other rose’s we have come across are made with solely dessert apples. High in tannins, it’s more wine-like than many commercially-oriented options.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Angry Orchard – Rosé Cider
More Sour – Graft – Fields and Flowers
More Dry – 
More Crisp – 1911 – Tropical Cider

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Fruktstereo Cider Revolution (2018)

Cider Profile:

Name:   Fruktstereo Cider Revolution (2018)
Sampled June 2020

Brand: Frukstereo
Type:
Apple and Pear – Sparkling
Location of
Brewing: Malmo, Sweden
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link:
fruktstereo.com
Ingredients
: Water, apple, pear, sulphites
Gluten Free
: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability:
Specialty – Better Beverage Bars
Flavour:
Apple & Pear
Colour:  
Hazy straw yellow
Carbonation:
Small, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Punchy, earthy and acetic.
Initial Taste: Strong bite from acidity and carbonation. Pungent apple and light pear notes.  Puckering to start, almost makes you wince. Acetic/vinegar.
After Taste: When carbonation dies, flavour remains almost unchanged.  Pulpy, muddled apples are very minimum. Acidity is the key element here.
On ice: Almost the same, mouth-feel is slightly more tonic-like.

Additional Notes:  The Fruktstereo Cider Revolution from Sweden is really a funk-stereo of flavours.  Very acetic, puckering and dry, it’s an aggressive cider that is not for the faint of heart.  One of the sourest ciders we’ve have, it would pair very well with food (as its not sessionable and food flavours might tame the elements). Very unfiltered so you’ll have to swirl the sediment well; and open with care and patience as it has a lot carbonation. The apple and pear notes are very muddled, funky and dank.

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

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

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Loch Mór Cider – Bootlegger (Rum)

Cider Profile:

Name:  Loch Mór Cider – Bootlegger (Rum)
First sampled June 2020. Updated August 2020

Brand: Loch Mór Cider Company 
Type:
Apple – Barrel-Aged
Location of Brewing: Hillier, ON
ABV:
9.4%
Website Link:
lochmorcider.com
Ingredients:  
N/A
Gluten Free:
N/A
Sugar Content: N/ASize(s) available: 500mL (bottle)
Availability:
At Loch Mór Retail and Online Store
Flavour:
Apple + Rum
Colour:
Hazy, golden-rod  yellow
Carbonation:
Small, infrequent bubbles. Less on ice.


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma of golden-rum with some pulpy apple notes.
Initial Taste: Strong bite from astringency and some carbonation. Pungent and bold rum (just like having a shot of rum in it) that has some apple notes.  Some wood-like notes.
After Taste: Rum flavour slowly dissipates but remains present in the back of the mouth.  Pulpy apple becomes more noticeable.
On ice: Drastically reduces flavour and rum-punch.

Additional Notes: Alongside its whisky counterpart, the Bootleg Series by Loch Mór offers a much stronger rum-based offering.  It’s bold, pungent and pops, with a lot of astringency just like a shot. Slightly woody from the barrel-aging, the rum drives the drink from start to finish with some pulpy apple notes along the way.  Smoother on ice if it too much for you.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Kings Mill – Ontario Mule
More Sour – Hard Way – Ramboozle 
More Dry – West Ave – Bartlett’s Fuller Secret
More Crisp – FieldBird – Fledgings

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West Ave – Heritage Dry

Cider Profile:

Name:   West Avenue Heritage Dry
Sampled April 2020

Brand: West Avenue Ciderhouse
Type:
Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Flamborough, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
westavenue.ca
Ingredients:
100% Ontario Heritage apples, sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 4g/L

Size(s) available: 500mL (bottles) & 473mL (cans)
Availability:
West Ave Retail Store, Online Store & LCBO
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Hazy straw yellow
Carbonation:
Small, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Musty, earthy notes. Mature apple forward.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Creamy and smooth heritage apples. Slightly sweet. Mild honey notes.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues but then becomes more dank, earthy, musty – including going less sweet. Ends rather dry.
On ice: Flavours and profile mostly the same, but slightly less musty and more smooth.

Additional Notes:  West Avenue’s Heritage Dry cider is an authentic heritage cider, showing many elements from start to finish. With a lot of tannins, is starts off relatively more sweet and creamy; with it ending more dry, musty and earthy – like a true old world-inspired cider should. This cider may not be for everyone at first, but for those who like dry, cellared-tasting ciders, this will definitely satisfy.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 2
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Dry Cider
More Sour – County Cider – Waupoos Premium
More Dry – Spirit Tree – Draught Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury – Apple Cider

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Clafeld – Hey Lady

Cider Profile:

Name:   Clafeld Cider – Hey Lady
Sampled January 2020

Brand: Clafeld Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Grape
Location of Brewing:
Picton, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
clafeldciderhouse.com
Ingredients:
Fermented apple juice, grape skins, sugar, sorbate, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (cans)
Availability:
Clafeld Cider House + online
Flavour:
Grape
Colour:
Rusty orange
Carbonation:
Large, infrequently streaming bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Semi-strong aroma. Sweet crisp apple and a little floral.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Smooth and clean medium-level apple with some red grape notes. Slightly tart, like a hint of lemon.
After Taste:  Becomes drier and slightly more wine-like in the semi-long lingering aftertaste.  Almost has some berry (black current and strawberry) and floral notes in the end.
On ice: Carbonation reduced but remains almost the same.

Additional Notes: Although not with wine, the Hey Lady by Clafeld offers a smooth cider that was fermented on Baco Noir grape skins (which helps to give it its colour). Not overly strong – but still very enjoyable – and it has quite the journey of flavours.  A unique take on a grape-infused cider, with a lower than usual ABV than a wine (because it does not include any mixed-in) but on-par for other craft ciders in the province.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pommies – Red Sangria Cider
More Sour – Shiny Cider – Pino Noir
More Dry – 401 Cider – True North 
More Crisp – Thornbury – Rose Cider

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Farmgate – Founders Reserve

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate Cider – Founders’ Reserve
Sampled February 2020

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability:
Direct from Farmgate Website and Ottawa Farmers Markets (Lansdowne or Carp)
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Mostly translucent. A rustic golden yellow.
Carbonation:
Large bubbles, semi-streaming.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Semi-strong aroma. Pretty sweet, a slightly earthy and caramelized apple.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Starts off semi-sweet and quickly turns to a Normandy-like rustic apple blend  with the thickness of a standard Normandy cidre.  Apples similar to a semi-juicy crab-apple.
After Taste: Becomes tarter and slightly sour. Finishes very acidic and dry at the end. Long lingering flavour.
On ice: Thinner but more acidic and puckering. Less carbonated.

Additional Notes:  The Farmgate Cider – Founders’ Reserve is similar to a Normandy cider from Europe, but with more acidity.  It’s pretty sour and full flavoured, almost tastes like you’re eating dry crab-apple but that is juicer than the apple itself. Long lingering, and definitely from an older orchard and aged trees compared to most others in Ontario.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Windswept – Crimson Crisp
More Sour – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Dry – Settlers Cider – Golden Russet 
More Crisp – Niagara Cider – #1 Dry Apple Cider

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Tawse – Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Tawse – Cider
Sampled October 2019

Brand: Tawse Winery
Type:
Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Vineland, ON
ABV:
5%
Website Link:
tawsewinery.ca
Ingredients:
Cider, sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 32g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (Cans)
Availability:
LCBO and Tawse retail store
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Light and bright yellow
Carbonation:
Large, barley streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild aroma. Semi-sweet, pulpy apples.
Initial Taste: Minimal sensation from carbonation and acidity. Quickly a slightly tangy and semi-sweet dessert apple base with some heritage apple notes and tannins. Mild honey notes.
After Taste: Apple flavours continue. Becomes more tangy. Ends smooth, semi-dry, with a bit of a candied apple taste. Mild sulphur notes.
On ice: Slightly thinner but not much noticeable change in flavour or composure.

Additional Notes:  Tawse’s canned cider is an approachable cider – obviously with winery roots, but could be enjoyed by most cider drinkers. Being largely driven by acidity and tang, it features a medley of dessert and heritage apple notes – mostly pulpy in nature. Defined by a clean, smooth experience, you don’t get a lot of residual fermentation process notes.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Rood Apples – Cider
More Sour – Fielding – Premium Dry Cider
More Dry – Fieldbird – Buzzing Chatter
More Crisp – Don’t Poke the Bear – Cider

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Loch Mór Cider – Untamed (2018)

Cider Profile:

Name: Loch Mór Cider Company – Untamed (2018)
Sampled August 2019

Brand: Loch Mór Cider Company (formerly Settlers Cider 2019)
Type: Apple – Wild
Location of Brewing:
Hillier, ON
ABV:
8.5%
Website Link:
lochmorcider.com
Ingredients:
N/A
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability:
Retired, past vintage
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Translucent, goldenrod-yellow
Carbonation:
Very frequent, small-medium streaming bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong, acidic slightly earthy aroma with mature apples. Some must.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Quickly astringent, tangy and dank. Some sulfur notes among the pungent apple flavours.
After Taste: A lot of fermentation notes and residual funk.  Finishes dry and very long lasting.
On ice: Reduced bitter notes and some acidity, less carbonation. Apple characteristics are more present.

Additional Notes:  A wild yeast cider, the Untamed by Loch Mór is a long lasting dry, earthy and mature cider.  It has some acidity, a unique apple palate and finishes with a hint of tanginess. Some elements of a white, dry wine or a dank old-world style beer.  Not an approachable or sessionable cider, would pair well with food in place of a wine.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 2
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Revel – Estrella
More Sour – West Avenue – Legend of the Fall
More Dry – Fieldbird – Buzzing Chatter

More Crisp – County Cider – A Tortured Path

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Niagara Cider Company – No. 1 Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: Niagara Cider Company – No. 1 Dry Apple Cider
Sampled August 2019

Brand:  Niagara Cider Company
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing
: Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario
ABV:
6%
Website Link:
niagaracidercompany.com
Ingredients:
Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 16g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (Can)
Availability:
LCBO and Better Beverage Bars
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  Bright, translucent straw-yellow
Carbonation:
Small, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Extra sweet, creamy dessert apples
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Semi-sweet dessert apples present. Tangy with some smooth acidity.
After Taste: Becomes more acidic as time goes on. Long-lingering apple notes with some earthy aspects. Tannins linger in the aftertaste. Gets more sour towards the end. Some creamy banana notes.
On ice: Carbonation cut. Slightly less sweet on ice.

Additional Notes:  The inaugural cider from Niagara Cider Company, their No. 1 Dry Apple Cider, is a very modern, new world cider, that still has enough traditional elements to make it very grounded well-balanced. Very clean and crisp, its quite apple forward and more sour/tannic than expected by the smell. Some banana notes. Very well crafted, it would appeal to a wide base of various cider fans.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Farmed and Dangerous Cider
More Sour –
 Collective Arts – Cherry and Apple Cider
More Dry – Great Cider – Nice and Dry
More Crisp – Duntroon – Standing Rock Cyder

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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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West Ave – Legend of the Fall

Cider Profile:

Name:   West Ave – Legend of the Fall
Sampled January 2019 (Updated in Can, March 2021)

Brand:  West Avenue Cider House
Type:
Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing:  
Flamborough, ON
ABV:
6.9%
Website Link:
westavenue.ca
Ingredients:
Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/ASize(s) available: 750ml (bottle) & 355ml (can)
Availability:
Retail and online store
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Hazy rustic yellow
Carbonation:
Medium, semi-streaming bubbles.


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong earthy, sour and astringent aroma.  Cellared smelling.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from acidity. Quickly sour and pungent with cellared-like mustiness.
After Taste: As the sourness dissipates, it becomes creamier.  Some light lemon notes.  Harshness does not stay long, leaving some creamy elements lingering.
On ice: Ice brings out some oxidization notes, becomes harsher to drink.  Reduces carbonation.

Additional Notes: Called a Spanish-style sour, the Legend of the Fall is a mid-way mix between an old-world traditional Spanish sidra and some new world cocktail sours and bitters elements. Musty with a puckering taste, the West Avenue crew has created something very unique for the Ontario market.  Not apple forward, it’s driven by the fermentation, aging and bottling process but still quite consumable. Slightly more sour and dry in review from 2021.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – KW Craft – Dry
More Sour – Archibalds – Black Currant
More Dry – Revel – Estrella
More Crisp – Fieldbird – Buzzing Chatter

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Clafeld – Rose Hip

Cider Profile:

Name:   Clafeld – Rose Hip
Sampled June 2018

Brand: Clafeld Fruit Winery and Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Rose Hip
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 8%
Website Link: clafeldciderhouse.com
Ingredients: Fermented apple, grape and cranberry juice, sugar, dried rosehips, dried rose petals, sulphites, potassium sorbate.
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (cans)
Availability:
Retail store and online store
Flavour:
Rose Hip
Colour:
Rosé pink/red.
Carbonation:
Large, non-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, dry apple with hints of rosé wine. Also floral in nature.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Slightly puckering sour with strong floral flavours. Dry apple notes.
After Taste: Remains slightly sour and is astringent. Rose flavour becomes more defined and stronger. Dry finish with many rosé wine features.
On ice: Carbonation and acidity slightly reduced. Rose flavour remains the same.

Additional Notes: Clafeld’s Rosehip Cider is a good rosé wine alternative. This cider features a strong bouquet of floral flavours – with rose notes being very forward and full-bodied. A quite dry cider, it is a mature offering that would also appeal to wine drinkers.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Rosé Cider
More Sour – Pommies Cranberry Cider
More Dry – Spirit Tree – Pear with Lavender Cider
More Crisp – Collective Arts – Local Press

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Empire Cider – Midnight Run

Cider Profile:

Name:  Empire Cider – Midnight Run
Sampled December 2018

Brand: Empire Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Codrington, Ontario
ABV: 6%
Website Link: empirecider.ca
Ingredients: Ontario apples, honey
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 650mL (bottle)
Availability: Cidery permanently closed
Flavour: Apple
Colour: cloudy, golden-yellow
Carbonation: a few still bubbles, softly carbonated.  A lot of sediment.

 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium-strong, sweet apple smell. Musty and slightly astringent aromas.  Some rum elements.
Initial Taste: Sweet bite. Bitter, musty and earthy notes noticeably build and decrease. Strong apple flavours with lemon hints.  Strong rum presence.
After Taste: Becomes slightly sour and tangy feeling. Finishes with both sweet apple flavours and bitter, astringent fermentation notes.  Dark rum remains in the aftertaste.
On ice: Similar carbonation levels. Ice slightly cuts the bite of the cider, making the cider somewhat more smooth to consume. Becomes sweeter and more astringent tasting.

Additional Notes: Midnight Run is an apologetically craft cider that has a strong traditional apple presence, that isn’t afraid to feature the flavours of the barreling and fermentation process. It is a very smooth cider to consume overall, that is both simple and straightforward to drink; yet complex with many different notes detected on the palate.  Rum is brilliantly showcased, with a balanced levels so not powering but still has a good complexity.

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

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

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Empire Cider – Extra Dry

Cider Profile:

Name:  Empire Cider – Extra Dry
Sampled July 2018

Brand: Empire Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Codrington, Ontario
ABV: 6%
Website Link: empirecider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 650mL (Bottles)
Availability: Cidery permanently closed
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Golden Yellow
Carbonation: Some foam, very fine semi-streaming bubbles.

 

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong, musty and astringent apples aroma.  Some apple flesh notes too.
Initial Taste: Little bite from acidity. Smooth to consume and light apple flavour. Quite earthy and musty with sweet notes. Slightly astringent.
After Taste: Semi-long lingering with lots of tannic taste and sensation – with some sweetness that remains.  Dry finish and more astringent in the aftertaste.
On ice: Looses a lot of carbonation and flavour.  Flatter, less sweet, more crisp.

Additional Notes: Empire’s Dry Apple cider does not have an overly strong apple presence but it does have a lot of different characteristics that makes it craft, sophisticated and obviously aged well. Defiantly not a commercial cider, but far from what you might call a home-brew (despite being made in a home garage).  With a lot of mustiness, astringency, and earthiness, it brings to mind a Spanish Sidra in some regards. Maybe not a beginner cider.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury Original Craft Cider
More Sour – 401 Cider – Dry Apple
More Dry – County Cider – A Tortured Path
More Crisp – Great Cider – Nice and Dry

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Clafeld – Disco Lemonade

Cider Profile:

Name:  Clafeld Cider Disco Lemonade
Sampled April 2018

Brand: Clafeld Fruit Winery and Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Lemon
Location of Brewing:
Picton, ON
ABV:
9%
Website Link:
clafeldciderhouse.com
Ingredients:
Fermented apple juice, fermented grape juice, dried grapefruit peel, dried lemon peel, dried orange peel, sugar, potassium sorbate, sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (cans)
Availability:
Clafeld retail store and online
Flavour:
Lemon
Colour:
Bright yellow
Carbonation:
Small semi-streaming bubbles with large still bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma – dry, musty apple with a lot of fermentation-process notes
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Slight acidity and quick musty flavours. Some bitter and sour flavours from the apples.
After Taste: Sweet lemon flavour comes through and largely overtakes apple flavours. Malty with some acidity. Semi-dry finish.
On ice: Cuts out carbonation sensation. Increases lemon/lemonade flavour and is sweeter overall, with less must.

Additional Notes: Clafeld’s Disco Lemonade cider is a unique cider, delivering on a sweet – not puckering – lemon flavour on the palate. If you want an aged, mature, more-wine like experience drink it without ice. If you want a sweeter experience that really highlights the sweet lemonade aspects, throw some ice in it.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks Hawaii 5 Eh
More Sour – Pommies Cranberry
More Dry – Heritage Estate Dragon’s Gold
More Crisp – Collective Arts Honey and Lavender

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Clafeld – Oh Beehave

Cider Profile:

Name:  Clafeld Oh Beehave
Sampled January 2018

Brand: Clafeld Fruit Winery and Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Honey
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 9%
Website Link: clafeldciderhouse.com
Ingredients: Fermented apple juice, fermented grape juice, honey, sulphites, natural flavour, potassium sorbate, sulphites.
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 341 mL (bottle)
Availability:
All year – retail shop and online
Flavour:
Apples and honey
Colour:
Bright lemon yellow
Carbonation:
Small streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium smell. Musty apple aromas with hints of white wine.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Smooth, sweet apple flavours with some sour and musty notes. Noticeable malty tones. Acidity that reminds us of lemons.
After Taste: Sweet apple flavour continues. Honey makes a mild appearance. Tangy, dry, white wine-like finish.
On ice: Becomes more smooth. Apple flavour is cut.

Additional Notes: Oh Beehave is a crisp and dry apple cider that features apple flavours first; with the honey flavours secondary. This cider has a rustic, countryside appeal.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Growers Honeycrisp Cider
More Sour – Brickworks Queen Street 501
More Dry – 401 Honey Cider
More Crisp – No Boats on Sunday

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CID – Rose Sparkling

Cider Profile:

Name: CID Rose Carbonated Sparkling Cider | CID Cidre mousseux gazéifié
Sampled on: March 2016

Brand: Les vergers de la colline
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Sainte-Cécile de Milton, Quebec
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: lesvergersdelacolline.com
Ingredients: n/a
Gluten Free: n/a
Sugar Content: n/aSize(s) available: 355ml Glass Bottle (4Pack)
Availability: Le Marché des Brasseurs d’Ici and other Quebec Bottle Shops, Pubs and Restaurants
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Pale/Rose pink
Carbonation: Tiny bubbles that constantly stream.

 



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell:  Light apple smell, slightly musky. Tannin’s provide a smell that is astringent and like a wine.
Initial Taste:  Bitter and sour floral tastes. Musty and earthy, with slight hints of raspberry.
Aftertaste: Turns more tart than sour. Dry flavour with apple flavours emerging. Hints of malt flavours.
On Ice: Adds some carbonation, bigger bubbles. Big difference for flavour, ice weakens the bitterness and is less sour. Becomes sweeter with more fruity flavours.

Additional Notes: A more upscale wine-type of cider that would pair well with a romantic meal. You can tell it has been aged for a long period, because of the earthy, musty flavour. Floral, pretty sour and dry.

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

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

Pommies – Original

Cider Profile:

Name: Pommies Dry Cider
Sampled January 2016

Brand: Pommies Cider
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Caledon, Ontario
ABV: 5%
Website Link: https://pommies.com/
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 46g/L

Size(s) available: 355mL (glass bottles), 473mL (cans)
Availability: all year – LCBO, bars and restaurants
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Very pale yellow
Carbonation: Very smell carbonation, some small foam

 Pommies200x400w

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild, slightly acidic, hints of grape – reminiscent of a white wine smell
Initial Taste: acidic, sour somewhat musty. Golden delicious and granny smith apple flavour hints.
After Taste: Very short aftertaste, flavour dissipates quickly. Dry feel. Earthy-apple finish.
On ice: carbonation is bigger. Stronger bite. Takes away some flavour (more watered down), slightly more sweet tasting.

Additional Notes: A very light and refreshing cider. Short taste profile but very enjoyable. Very natural tasting, farm-fresh craft cider.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest Dry Cider
More Sour – Brickworks Batch 1904
More Dry – Duxbury Sideroad
More Crisp – Shiny Cider

Links to Other Stories
Pommies – Farmhouse Cider
Bar Review – Pommies Raspberry Mojito 
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

 

Spirit Tree – Draught

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree Draught Cider
Sampled May 2016

Brand: Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Caledon, Ontario
ABV: 6%
Website Link: http://www.spirittreecider.com/
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 22g/l

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: All year: LCBO, on site at Cidery, at select bars and restaurants
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Pale canary yellow
Carbonation: Strong foam when first poured, but mostly goes away. Small carbonation bubbles that stream quickly.

 SpiritTreeCan400gif

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Very strong smelling cider – powerful fermentation aromas – along with astringent, musty and slightly sour.
Initial Taste: Strong tingle in the mouth immediately that remains for an extended period. Extra tart with slightly sour notes. Very musty with bitter and earthy tones. Raw apple peel flavours noticed.
After Taste: Becomes dry with tangy notes that linger. It is less tart than initially and slightly more sweet with nutmeg and pepper undertones.
On ice: Less carbonation and bite. Flavour slightly weakens but musty notes are more prominent. Much smoother to consume.

Additional Notes: A very rustic, old-world ‘European’ style cider. Strong influences from the barreling process in the flavour. You can tell that this cider is crafted with time using a slow fermenting process.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest Dry Cider
More Sour – KW Craft Cider
More Dry – A Tortured Path – County Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury Cider

Links to Other Stories
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons