The Cider Crate

Archives

West Avenue – Frequin Rouge

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Frequin Rouge
Sampled January 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

Ernest – Bourbon Vanilla

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Bourbon Vanilla
Sampled January 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Loch Mór – Untamed (2019)

Cider Profile

Name: Loch Mór– Untamed (2019)
Sampled October 2020

Brand: Loch Mór Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Hillier, ON
ABV: 7.9%
Website Link: lochmorcider.com
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Loch Mór + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Hazy, bright yellow
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pulpy, tannic apples with farmhouse notes.
Initial Taste: Heavier sensation from carbonation. Very crisp and bright apples. Heavy bittersharp apple notes, in particular Northern Spy apples. Peel and flesh notes.
After Taste: Medley of apple flavours continue. Mild farmhouse + yeast notes. Ends on off-dry apples and very clean. Exits palate quickly.
On ice: Carbonation very reduced. Mild reduction in flavour. Thinner mouthfeel.

Additional Notes:  The Untamed (2019 vintage) by Loch Mór is a very apple forward offering that is bright and bold. Crisp and tannic apples tease the palate from start to finish, with a very clean and satisfying finish. Has a decent carbonation that is tingly and uplifting. A perfect apple cider for Fall. Farmhouse and sophisticated elements, including some mild fermentation notes. Very different than their 2018 version.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Crimson Cider – Crimson Crisp
More Sour – Farmgate – Wild Apple
More Dry – 
More Crisp – 

Links to Other Stories
Loch Mór – Untamed (2018)
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple Cider
Sampled: October 2020

Brand:  Beaver Valley Winery Ltd.
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Kimberley, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: bvcider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml & 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Beaver Valley Retail Store (+ special online order)
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent, golden-yellow
Carbonation: Small  streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium smell. Musty with apple and sulphur aromas. Fresh and slightly tart
Initial Taste: Strong bite from carbonation. Sour and musty. Very strong bitter-sharp apple flavours + a rustic medley of varieties.
After Taste: Bitter notes come through strongly. Earthy tones. Tannins remain on the pallet for a long time.
On ice: Carbonation reduced. Bite is cut dramatically. Flavour and sourness is reduced but bitter notes remain somewhat similar.

Additional Notes: Beaver Valley’s Flagship Cider is a very old-world, down-to-earth, traditional cider that isn’t afraid to feature strong apple flavours with some elements from the fermentation process. Crisp, bitter-sharp apples with a lot of carbonation. Far from being considered a commercially-oriented cider, it would be best for sophisticated cider palates + sparkling wine fans.

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

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

Links to Other Stories
Bar Review – Flagship Apple at Bar Volo
Cidery Tour – Beaver Valley – July 2020
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

Duxbury – English Scrumpy

Cider Profile:

Name:  Duxbury – English Scrumpy
Sampled April 2020

Brand: Duxbury Cider Co.
Type:
Apple – Scrumpy
Location of Brewing: Meaford, ON
ABV:
8.5%
Website Link:
theduxburyciderco.ca
Ingredients:  
Ontario apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (Can)
Availability:
Limited – better beverage bars
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Cloudy, straw yellow.
Carbonation:
Small, frequently streaming bubbles

Cider Crate Tasting Notes:


Smell: Strong aroma. Funky, earthy sulphur notes. Heritage apples. Astringency and must.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Quick apple flavour with many elements, that includes sweet, earthy, bitter aspects. Somewhat pungent.
After Taste: Apple flavours continue and becomes dry. Smooth, creamy finish. Some fermentation elements noticeable, as with most scrumpys.
On ice: Carbonation reduced; along with a reduction in apple notes, and harsh elements.

Additional Notes: This barrel-fermented scrumpy from Duxbury is stellar proof on why they are some of the most authentic traditional method cidermakers in Ontario. Rooted in history, it is rustic, old-world, rudimentary tasting, with a lot of depth of the elements and flavours. Apple forward, it is creamy, musty and earthy; indeed ending very dry and smooth. Very close to its British counterparts.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Bonnieheath Folk’n Hard – Fresh Apple Cider
More Sour – Heritage Estate – Dragon’s Gold
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Ardiel – Dry Apple Cider

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

 

Graft – Field and Flowers

Cider Profile:

Name:   Graft – Fields & Flowers
Sampled October 2019

Brand: Graft Cider
Type:
Apple – Sour
Location of Brewing: Newburgh, NY
ABV:
6.9%
Website Link:
graftcidery.com
Ingredients:  
Rose hips, hibiscus, rooibos, sea salt
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 12 oz
Availability:
New York Stores
Flavour:
Rosé
Colour: Cloudy, murky brown/yellow
Carbonation:
Infrequent, small streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Very salty with medium floral notes. Some creamy, sour and semi-sweet apple notes.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from acidity and carbonation. Quickly salty and rough on the tongue. Creamy dessert and heritage apple notes.
After Taste: Saltiness continues and lingers, being slightly brine-like. Rose and general floral flavours come through. Some passion fruit and lime flavours. Ends semi-dry with a film from the salt.
On ice: Reduced carbonation – including bite. Becomes watered down, much less salty.

Additional Notes: Graft’s Gose Rosé cider does not lie about being a salty, funky cider that delivers on the sour and the fruit notes as promised on the can. Full-bodied, it may not be for those who don’t like gose beers and/or margaritas. With a creamy apple base, it has many intricate layers of herbal, floral and fruit flavours. Not your standard infused cider by most definitions.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Somersby – Rosé

More Sour – 
More Dry – Strongbow – Rosé Apple
More Crisp – Angry Orchard – Rosé

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