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Steel Town – Planet of the Pies

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Planet of the Pies
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Steel Town Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Strawberry and Vanilla
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: steeltowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Steel Town Retail and Online Store
Flavour: Strawberry and vanilla
Colour: Hazy apricot
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet apple and slightly muddled tart strawberry. A hint of vanilla
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation and some acidity. Medium bittersharp and acidic apples with tannins that dissipate quickly. Some funk and tart notes.
After Taste: Strawberry becomes noticeable and steadily overtakes the flavour profile.  Acidity helps drive the semi-tart and younger strawberry flavour for a long time.  Some vanilla notes at the end as funky elements dissipate.
On ice: Slightly more watered down and less flavourful. Reduced carbonation.

Additional Notes: Steel Town Cider’s Planet of the Pies has a strong bitter sharp, acidic and funky apple base with a tart, not quite ripe, muddled strawberry finish. Strawberries are creamy and slightly tart. This cider has a lot of character and charm, and being mostly smooth overall – the smoothest one yet we’ve had from Steel Town. A lot going on here with a kiss of smooth and creamy vanilla to finish it off.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heritage Estates – Eden’s Apple Strawberry
More Sour – Archibalds – Strawberry Lime
More Dry – Lost Craft – Dry Rose
More Crisp – Heeman’s – Berry Blush

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Slabtown – Ginger Spritz

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Ginger Spritz
Sampled June 2021

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Ginger
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown retail + online stores
Flavour: Ginger
Colour:  Translucent, light-yellow
Carbonation: Small, infrequent bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet ginger and hints of herby apple
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. A smooth apple base with a light, balanced and non-intrusive ginger. Somewhat sweet. Tonic and herb hints.
After Taste: Little change between initial taste and aftertaste.  Elements of apple reduce leaving a little bit of a smooth, ginger ale-like taste and mouthfeel.
On ice: Cuts carbonation and slightly less ginger.

Additional Notes:  Slabtown’s Ginger Spritz is exactly that, a light apple offering that has a slightly sweet apple base, with a smooth, ginger forward flavour.  It is quite close to a low-carbonation ginger-ale soda, but still has a light, bright-apple base noticeable. Easy to drink. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –
More Sour – KW Craft – Thai Ginger
More Dry – Kings Mill – Ontario Mule
More Crisp – Archibalds – Hard Ginger Cider

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Crimson – Cherrific

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson – Cherrific
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Crimson Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: crimsoncidercompany.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Crimson retail + online store
Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Transparent metallic red
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright, crisp apple. Hint of tangy sweet cherry, almost candied.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. The quick bitter sharp apple base comes through. Clean acidity. Some tangy cherry peaks through. Tingly and mildly sour.
After Taste: The cherry becomes stronger and more sharp while apple weakens. As cherry moves towards being smoother and more candied in nature than in the initial taste. Lingering cherry notes that stay for awhile.
On ice: Cuts carbonation and tang a lot. Cherry flavour somewhat reduced. Smoother overall.

Additional Notes:  Crimson’s Cherrific is basically a bag of cherry blaster candies in a bottle. The cider starts off more apple focused – bittersharp tasting mostly to us – and then becomes a stronger cherry into the finish. Tangy and tart, it’s a bright cider overall that’s easy to consume. A tingly carbonation and acidity elevates the offering.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Cherry Apple
More Sour – Banjo – Rouge Cherry Apple Cider
More Dry – West Avenue – Cherriosity
More Crisp – KW Craft – Wild Cherry

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Country Cider – Legacy Series Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: Country Cider – Legacy Series Rosé
Sampled May 2021

Brand: The County Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Rosé
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: countycider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: 5g/l

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Country Cider retail and online store (2021)
Flavour: Rosé
Colour: Transparent rose gold
Carbonation: Infrequent, medium sized bubbles. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Pulpy floral rosé wine and bitter sharp apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Bitter sharp apples with some acidity that’s balanced with baco-noir wine that’s slightly dry but still light.
After Taste: Apple dissipates and becomes more wine-like in nature. Finishes with a slight film but clean and dry.   A refreshing and bright finish that is long lasting.
On ice: Carbonation cut, but not much change.

Additional Notes:  The County Cider Company offers its Legacy Series Rosé for 2021.  Blended with baco-noir wine, it’s got a very traditional rosé taste.  Sharp and crisp apples blend well with the rosé elements, which smell more floral than it tastes.  Long lasting aftertaste helps with the rest of the full-bodied offering. Acidity driven and very wine-oriented in body.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Niagara Cider – Rose Gold
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rosé (2019)
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Lost Craft – Dry Rosé

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Shale Ridge – Peach Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Peach Apple
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Shale Ridge Estate Winery
Type: Flavoured – Peach
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 4.2%
Website Link: shaleridgeestatewinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Candied peach and sweet dessert apples
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation that is tingly.  Sweet peach that is slightly sugared but fresh and juicy. Some fleshy dessert apples.
After Taste: Carbonation reduces making the peach aftertaste even stronger and more forward – with a medium apple.  Remains sweet with a slight film.
On ice: Less carbonation, little change

Additional Notes:  The Peach Apple by Shale Ridge is a very light, peach forward offering. Sweet and candied but not sugary, it’s only 4.2% but fresh and juicy.  Not much apple overall, it reminds us very much of the peach drinks of our childhood. Pretty clean as there are no fermentation elements, so its easy to drink, with a tingly and uplifting carbonation.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Seagrams – White Peach Cider
More Sour – Steel Town – Barrique Peach & Apricot
More Dry – Niagara – Peach Chardonnay 
More Crisp – 

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Ernest – Rosé Cider Spritzer

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Rosé Cider Spritzer
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Ernest Cider
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Newmarket, ON
ABV: 4.0%
Website Link: errnestcider.com
Ingredients: Cider, water, juice
(Cranberry juice, tart cherry juice for colour),
wine, potassium sorbate, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 4g/l 

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO and Ernest online store
Flavour: Rosé 
Colour: Hazy, dark-rose
Carbonation: Large, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. A floral perfume with candied cherry and slightly medicinal
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Smooth floral and rosé offering, with some candied notes. Cherry cough drop notes.
After Taste: Apple makes a sharp, sour appearance then dissipates quickly, leaving a dry, more floral perfume + bouquet like taste. Slight earthy finish.
On ice: Cuts carbonation and tonic elements. More wine-focused on ice.

Additional Notes:  The Rosé Cider Spritzer by Ernest Cider is a light offering at 4% and 4g/L of sugar.  Very floral and rosé forward, it has a quick hit of sour apple that is the base for the product.  A little thick but it doesn’t have too long of an aftertaste.  Some notes of cherry and cranberry which make the rosé elements pop along with some earthy elements. Note the wine mixture with some tonic elements and bitterness. Cherry is slightly medicinal tasting and candied in nature (like a cherry flavoured cough drop). 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Rosé Cider
More Sour – Crimson – Rose Cider 
More Dry – Clafeld – Rose Hip Cider
More Crisp – Lost Craft – Dry Rosé 

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Stock and Row – Lime Crush

Cider Profile:

Name: Stock and Row – Lime Crush
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Stock and Row Inc.
Type: Flavoured – Lime
Location of Brewing: Bloomfield, ON
ABV: 4.5%
Website Link: stockandrow.com
Ingredients: Apples, key lime juice concentrate,
sugar, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Stock and Row online store and
select licensees

Flavour: Lime
Colour: Hazy limeade hue
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. A tangy and punchy lime. Some mild dank, funky, fermentation notes
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Sharp tangy lime with other citrus hints. Some dessert apples are present, along with a little funk.  
After Taste: Apples and funky notes dissipate, leaving a simple lime juice finish with a hint of sweetness that smoothes out the lime punch.
On ice: Minimal change

Additional Notes:  Stock & Row offers their 3rd offering, the Lime Crush, which is a very lime juice forward offering with a light, crisp, dessert apple base.  Although slightly funky and with fermentation note to start, it finishes clean and almost like a limeade drink. Strong overall in flavour, enhanced by a lower (if any) filtration. Decently tangy/sour but should not be puckering for most. You have to like lime to enjoy this one.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 4
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 3
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Lime Margarita
More Sour – 
More Dry – Kings Mill – Mojito
More Crisp – Slabtown – Mojito de Manzana

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Chill Street – Squeeze The Day

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill Street – Squeeze The Day
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Chill Street Brewing
Type: Flavoured – Guava
Location of Brewing: Elmsdale, NS
ABV: 5.9%
Website Link: chillstreetbrewing.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill St retail + online store
Flavour: Guava
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Punchy and juicy sour guava with some sweet apple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Semi-strong sour acidic guava with apple blend. Slightly tart and earthy.
After Taste: Becomes drier and more earthy.  Less apple and slightly reduced guava overall.  Finishes dry.
On ice: Reduced carbonation.

Additional Notes:  The Squeeze The Day by Chill Street is unique as the Guava really dominates, instead of the apple. It means it’s a surprising taste, as the guava has a lot of similar characteristics to a very dry and earthy apple.  One of the least sweet of the Chill Street offerings we’ve had. Slightly earthy and a little bit acidic and decently sour.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Pineapple Agave
More Sour – Steel Town – Guava AF
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped

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Slabtown – Sweet Maple Heat

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Sweet Maple Heat
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Maple & Peppers
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Seasonal – Slabtown online + retail store
Flavour: Maple + peppers
Colour:  Transparent canary yellow
Carbonation: Large infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bittersharp apples. Earthy maple. Hint of peppers.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Clean, bright apples that are off-dry. Sweet candied maple comes through.
After Taste: Maple becomes slightly more obvious. Hint of red pepper spiciness only at the end. Clean finish.
On ice: Carbonation reduced, along with flavours.

Additional Notes:  Slabtown’s Sweet Maple Heat is a very clean cider that has a smooth, candied maple to it, with a slight hint of pepper heat at the very finish (which builds as you drink the bottle). Despite the name, it’s a tame and mild cider so spicy-averse people need not worry. The maple is natural but on the sweeter cider. The apple base is very crisp, bright, and almost soft. A light offering that will satisfy most.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Farm Gate – Mulled
More Sour – Heartwood – Eve Goes Badass
More Dry – Kings Mill – Ontario Mule
More Crisp – Kings Mill –  Jalapeño

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Steel Town – Guav AF

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Guav AF
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Steel Town Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Guava
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: steeltowncider.com
Ingredients: Pressed apples, guava, vanilla, milk sugar, yeast
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Steel Town online and retail store
Flavour: Guava
Colour:  Cloudy orange/peach
Carbonation: Fine, frequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Funky and sour guava.  Some juicy and lactose bitterness is noticeable.  Not many apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity and semi-soft carbonation.  Sour guava that is thick and funky – and somewhat punchy.  Some bitter-sharp and bright apples in the background. Creamy yet slightly bitter lactose.
After Taste: Intensity reduces overall as flavour mellows. Apple pulp makes a brief appearance.  Not overly long lasting and is less punchy, but some dry and earthy elements remain.
On Ice: Thinner, less punch.  Slightly more creamy. Cuts off aftertaste dramatically.


Additional Notes:  Steel Town’s Guav AF won a nod for one of our favourite ciders in 2017 at the Toronto Cider Festival and now it’s available in cans.  It’s a sour barrel-aged cider that could be puckering to some but too overly sour offering for us, with a lot of earthy and funky elements that are balanced to the semi-sharp apples. Thick but not gritty. Creamy and tart guava adds a unique dynamic to it. Lactose adds creaminess and some milk sugar bitterness. Very much fermentation forward, its a unique offering that fits very well into the Steel Town repertoire   Contains lactose = allergy alert.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Slabtown – Cucumber Mint

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Archibalds – Strawberry Lime

Cider Profile:

Name: Archibalds – Strawberry Lime
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Archibalds Estate Winery
Type: Flavoured – Strawberry & Lime
Location of Brewing: Bowmanville, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: archibaldswinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Archibalds online + retail stores
Flavour: Strawberry & Lime
Colour:  Transparent rusty orange
Carbonation: Small semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet, fresh and juicy strawberries – with a hint of cream. Slight lime tang.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from carbonation. Strong juicy strawberry that is sweet but not sugary. Semi-creamy. Hints of lime and citrus that make it tangy.
After Taste: Strawberries remain but pulpy dessert apples come out. Tangy lime really emerges through decently strong here but not overpowering. Sweet finish.
On ice: Carbonation reduced, slight flavour reduction

Additional Notes:  Archibald’s Strawberry Lime is a very fruit-forward cider, with strawberry being dominant – and a focused lime right at the finish. The strawberries are very juicy and fresh, and slightly a bit creamy too. The lime is there throughout but definitely becomes more lime focused near the finish, being tangy. The lime also becomes more obvious the more you drink of the cider. A sweet cider, recommended on its own or for dessert – it would interrupt a savoury meal if paired there. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 
More Sour – Stock + Row – Sweet Lime
More Dry – Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb
More Crisp – Heritage Estates – Eden’s Apple Strawberry

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West Avenue – Rosie

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Rosie
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  West Avenue Ciderhouse
Type: Flavoured – Grape
Location of Brewing: Freelton, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: West Avenue retail + online store
Flavour: Grape
Colour:  Hazy deep burgundy
Carbonation: Medium infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Red wine is strong with pungency and sweet notes. Mild heritage apples.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quick deep red wine forward – with a mild dry apple base peaking through. Some woody/barreling notes.
After Taste: Red wine/grapes become softer and with slight strawberry and blackberry hints. Dry, long lingering finish.
On ice: Slightly thinner, less punchy.

Additional Notes:  Rosie by West Avenue is a wine-lovers dream, being incredibly red wine/grape forward, with the apple base being mild but definitely thinning this out compared to a straight red wine – with the carbonation also doing this a bit. It’s a bit punchy with some pungency and wood/barrel notes, but they do slightly make way and become softer in the finish with some berry flavours including strawberry and blackberry hints. Much stronger than a standard rosé-blended cider, but a great alternative to those who don’t like the grit of red wine mouthfeels. Not too astringent also. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Rosé Cider
More Sour – Shale Ridge – Cabernet Funk
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Crimson – Rosé Cider

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Loch Mór – Lagan’s IPC

Cider Profile:

Name: Loch Mór – Lagan’s IPC
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Loch Mór Cider Co
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: Hillier, ON
ABV: 7.7%
Website Link: lochmorcider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, hops, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Select LCBOs (Spring 2021) and licensees
Flavour: Hopped
Colour: Dark yellow
Carbonation: Mixed frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet apple with pine-like hops + resin.  
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation and some acidity. It takes a moment for the flavour to kick in, when it does it’s a thick, semi-sweet apple that has a distinct and stronger hops element to it – that’s slightly earthy and fresh.  Medium resin and bitterness notes without the standard mouthfeel from these (as like in an IPA).
After Taste: Apple reduces and thinning out, leaving a stronger hops blend that lingers a long time and remains a bit in the chest.
On ice: Carbonation is reduced. Dramatically watered down and less body.

Additional Notes:  Loch Mór’s Lagan’s IPC is a pretty strong and powerful yet approachable cider (As is the dog it is named after).  Slightly piney and with spruce notes from the hops, but not hoppy or bitter like an IPA.  Apple is bright but smooth and it compliments the hops well to enhance the overall apple flavour base. Lots of body and character. A great cider interpretation that honours the beer style it is inspired from but with its own unique elements.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Dry Hopped
More Dry – Kings Mill – Hopped (Still)
More Crisp – Ardiel – Big John Hop Cider

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Lost Craft – Dry Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: Lost Craft – Dry Rosé
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Lost Craft Cider
Type: Flavoured – Red wine
Location of Brewing: Toronto, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: lostcraft.ca
Ingredients: Cider, wine, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 29 g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO
Flavour: Red wine
Colour:  Deep burgundy with purple hues
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Red wine pungency. Dry tannic apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick dry and tannic apples. Red grape and merlot flavours.
After Taste: Apples clear out, it becomes more red-wine focused. Dry, wine-focused finish that is slightly gritty and tannic like a deep red wine.
On ice: Thinner body and less carbonation. Less wine focused, slightly more apples.

Additional Notes: Lost Craft’s Dry Rosé is a surprisingly sophisticated offering for being a canned cider at the LCBO. Very dry, it’s tannic and gritty. While the can says it has a ‘splash of red wine’, it is actually very red wine focused, having a deep merlot taste to it, from start to finish. Very dry, it drinks like a thinner red wine with a touch of crisp, acidic apples. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury -Rosé
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose (2019)
More Dry –
More Crisp – Shiny – Rosé

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Brickworks – Pineapple Agave

Cider Profile:

Name: Brickworks – Pineapple Agave
Sampled April 2021

Brand:  Brickworks Ciderhouse
Type: Flavoured – Pineapple
Location of Brewing: Toronto, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: theciderhouse.ca
Ingredients: Cider, water, sugars (agave syrup,
concentrated pineapple juice), sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO Summer Mixpack 2021
Flavour: Pineapple + agave syrup
Colour:  Deep golden orange
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Brickworks apple cider base. Hints of caramelized pineapple.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quick juicy apple – familiar Brickworks base. Light agave. Minimal pineapple that tastes slightly caramelized.
After Taste: Pineapple becomes slightly stronger as the apple weakens. Brown sugar notes to finish. Cleaner ending.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and flavour.

Additional Notes:  The Pineapple Agave by Brickworks is 1 of 2 new releases in the 2021 Summer Mixpack available at the LCBO. It has a very familiar apple cider base that can be found in their Batch 1904 and other offerings. The agave seems to be stronger than the pineapple, with the latter being more mild and tamed. The agave makes everything taste caramelized – and more so brown sugary near the finish. A light offering that is refreshing and clean but it may disappoint some who want a strong pineapple experience.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Chill Street – Its a Vibe
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped
More Dry – Slabtown – Pineapple Mimosa
More Crisp – 

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Crimson Cider – Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson Cider – Rosé
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Crimson Cider Co
Type: Flavoured – Grape
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: crimsoncidercompany.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Crimson retail and online store
Flavour: Rosé/grape
Colour:  Pink rose gold
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Tart and tannic apples. Hints of earthy, natural red grape.
Initial Taste: Sharp bite from carbonation. Sour and acidic apple base quickly comes through. Natural red grape skin notes. Some tannins and bitterness.
After Taste: Apples become slightly brighter. Grape notes a bit funkier. Floral hints emerge; as well as blackberry/berry notes. Clean, dry finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Thinner body. Slightly more grape-forward.

Additional Notes:  Crimson’s Rosé Cider is a very wine-inspired experience, with both the body and flavours of a standard rosé wine being showcased here. Made with marquette grapes, you get a consistent grape flavour through, with a dry, sour and acidic apple base. The cider becomes more nuanced near the finish with floral and berry notes emerging. A very clean cider, it has a decent sparkle to it and it’s very dry overall, with only some mild natural sweetness from the fruit.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Rosé Cider
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rosé (2019)
More Dry – Shale Ridge – Cabernet Funk
More Crisp – Lost Craft – Dry Rosé

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Niagara – Beekeeper’s Botanical

Cider Profile:

Name:  Niagara – Beekeeper’s Botanical
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Niagara Cider Company
Type: Flavoured – Botanical
Location of Brewing: Niagara Falls, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: niagaracidercompany.com
Ingredients: Apples, botanicals, honey, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml Can
Availability: Niagara Cider Company Online Store
Flavour: Floral
Colour: Translucent, orange/yellow
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Slightly pulpy and spiced apples. Mild herbiness.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Sweet and pulpy apples appear but quickly are overtaken by slightly tangy floral and herbal notes.  Nice acidity from the apples with some mild underlying bitterness.
After Taste: Apple returns at the end of the offering as the botanicals reduce.  Less clean, with some herby notes that linger a long while. Mild honey notes peak through.
On ice: Less carbonation and less flavour.

Additional Notes:  Niagara Cider Company’s Dry Beekeeper Botanical has a lot of elements – 7 different botanicals – but none specifically stand out and rather create a unique medley flavour together. A slightly thicker, more syrupy apple that becomes somewhat acidic in nature before returning to the pulpy apple finish.  Botanicals lean more herby and punchy with hints of floral notes.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – East Street – Harvest Botanical
More Sour – Revel – Spirit of the Woods
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Jin & Juice
More Crisp – Brickworks – The Purple Road

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Slabtown – Ciderita

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Ciderita
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Lime
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Seasonal – Slabtown retail + online stores
Flavour: Tequila & Lime
Colour:  Slightly cloudy, pale, sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pungent and astringent apples that are slightly musty. Hint of wood and tequila.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Semi sour and tart apple with the lime appearing quick as well
After Taste: As the apple dissipates, tequila notes come though that are softer than many other barrel-aged offerings.  Mildly salty ending.  A squeeze of orange bitters flavour appears, leaving an earthy resin.
On ice: Cuts carbonation and some flavour.

Additional Notes:  Slabtown’s Ciderita is more of a lime-forward offering than a tequila one, but the elements work well together and is a lighter barrel-aged offering than most others we’ve had. That means the other elements are able to shine, including the semi-sour/tart apples that have a bit of tannins to them, as well as the orange bitters and salt.  It has a balance of a lot of different notes but still remains mostly clean to consume.  You get more of the tequila flavour nuances than the spirit harshness, so its smooth with many layers and depths. It’s not exactly like a margarita but its a wonderful spin and cider interpretation of the classic cocktail.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Lime Margarita
More Sour – Steel Town – Vay Kay
More Dry – Hard Way – Loco Blanco
More Crisp – Kings Mill – Mojito

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Chill St – It’s A Vibe

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill St – It’s A Vibe
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Chill Street Cider
Type: Flavoured – Pineapple and Wine
Location of Brewing: Elmsdale, NS
ABV: 7%
Website Link: chillstreetcraftbeverageco.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill St. Retail, Online Store and locally in Nova Scotia
Flavour: Pineapple + Pinot Grigio
Colour: Translucent, Dark yellow
Carbonation: Large, frequently streaming bubbles.  More on ice. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Candied pineapple on top of a slightly astringent white wine.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. A sweet fruity pineapple with some creaminess. Candied and not a particularly natural pineapple flavour.
After Taste: Pineapple reduces and pinot notes surface, though remaining still very “fruit wine like” in nature.  Some floral elements, finishing soft.
On ice: Dramatically reduced flavour.

Additional Notes:  The “it’s a vibe” by Chill Street is a light, fruit wine inspired blend. With only a little bright apple, it’s much more of a cooler than a cider option. Pineapple is sweet but not sugary, balanced well with the Pinot Grigio. Easily crushable but still somewhat sweet. Quite watered-down when on-ice. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – No Boats on Sunday – Peach
More Sour – Revel – Mithras
More Dry – Slabtown – Pineapple Mimosa
More Crisp – 7 Shores – Peach Vanilla

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No Boats on Sunday – Peach

Cider Profile:

Name: No Boats on Sunday – Peach
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  No Boats on Sunday
Type: Flavoured – Peach
Location of Brewing: Grimsby, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Apple cider, water, sugars (glucose-fructose),
malic acid, natural flavour, potassium sorbate,
potassium metabisulphite

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 44g/l

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: The Wine Shop + LCBO (Ontario)
Flavour: Peach
Colour:  Transparent straw yellow
Carbonation: Fine and large streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, candied bright peach. Mild dessert apples.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quick juicy peach with some peach pit flavours. Somewhat sweet and candied. Mild red and green apple base notes.
After Taste: Apple dissipates and peach remains the same, but slightly more focused. Sweet, clean fruit  finish, with a slight mouth film.
On ice: Reduction in carbonation, and slightly watered down. Flavour remains the same.

Additional Notes:  No Boats on Sunday’s Peach Cider is a bright and candied option that gives us some serious Tim Horton’s Peach Drink vibes. The peach is strong and remains the same throughout the flavour journey. The apple base is light and mild, allowing for the peach to really shine here. It is a sweeter option but clean and not too sugary. Very easy to consume.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Peach
More Sour – Steel Town – Barrique Nectarine Peach
More Dry – Ernest – Speachless
More Crisp – Brickworks – Stadium Island Peach

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Shale Ridge – Pear Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Pear Apple
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Steel Town – Vay Kay

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Vay Kay
Sampled April 2021

Brand:  Steel Town Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mixed Fruit
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: www.steeltowncider.com
Ingredients: Pressed apples, mango juice, pineapple juice,
lime juice, coconut, yeast

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Steel Town online and retail store
Flavour: Tropical mixed fruits
Colour:  Cloudy neon yellow
Carbonation: Large infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Heavy tequila, pineapple and coconut notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Quick juicy pineapple and mango, followed by a natural coconut flavour.  Some sourness.
After Taste: Becomes more mango focused with coconut remaining the same. Tequila astringency and flavours come through more so. Funky finish that has a dry apple base but some sweetness from tropical fruits. Saltiness lingers.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Coconut becomes more pronounced. Less sour.

Additional Notes:  Steel Towns Vay Kay is a tropical escape in a can. Heavy pineapple and mango juices kick off the drinking experience, with the coconut then coming through and staying awhile. You get the tequila barrel aging near the finish with a medium flavour and astringency. Funky and sour but very palatable – less than some other Steel Town offerings. Memories of a gose beer with the sea salt added.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Slabtown – Pineapple Mimosa
More Sour – 
More Dry – Hard Way – Loco Blanco
More Crisp – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped

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Brickworks – Lime Margarita

Cider Profile:

Name: Brickworks – Lime Margarita Cider
Sampled April 2021

Brand: Brickworks Cider House
Type: Flavoured – Lime
Location of Brewing: Toronto, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: theciderhouse.ca
Ingredients: Cider, water, sugar, concentrated lime juice,
himalayan pink salt, mint, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Brickworks Summer Mix Pack (2021)
Flavour: Lime
Colour: Translucent straw-yellow
Carbonation: Large on glass, fine frequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet lime with a hit of green apple. Saltiness.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Mix of sweet dessert apples and sweet and tart lime.  Bright apples similar to other Brickworks options. Hint of mint that is slightly cooling.
After Taste: Apple reduces and almost becomes unnoticeable.  Lime becomes much stronger and sour. Some salt notes. Salt leaves the mouth feeling dry and thirsty. 
On ice: Reduced flavour overall, less carbonation.

Additional Notes: The Lime Margarita Cider from Brickworks Cider House is a departure from their more traditional bright and sweet offerings.  It starts apple forward, and finishes very lime-aid like with salt notes. Its sour but not puckering. A great summer treat but might make you continue to drink from the salt. A light interpretation of a margarita cider.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Crimson Cider – Mint to Be
More Sour – Steel Town – Vay Kay
More Dry – Kings Mill – Mojito
More Crisp – Slabtown – Mint Basil

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Collective Arts – Blood Orange & Cranberry

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Blood Orange & Cranberry 
Originally sampled April 2021
Updated June 2021 (w/ LCBO version)

Brand: Collective Arts Cider
Type: Flavoured – Cranberry and Blood Orange
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.8%
Website Link: collectiveartsontario.com
Ingredients: Apples, blood orange concentrate, cranberry juice
concentrate, orange flavour, yeast, orange oil, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 7g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Collective Arts Online & Retail Store, LCBO (2021)
Flavour: Blood Orange and Cranberry
Colour: Transparent peachy orange
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Creamy citrus with some cranberry tartness. Slight dry apple
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Semi-strong blood orange and citrus notes. Some cranberry tartness. Mild creaminess a mild apple base.
After Taste: Blood orange becomes stronger, with cranberry hanging on but weakening. Clean finish that is slightly sharp with lingering citrus notes.
On ice: Slightly reduced flavour and carbonation but little difference.

Additional Notes: The Blood Orange & Cranberry Cider by Collective Arts is a citrus -forward offering that has some slightly funky and dry apple notes.  Sour and blended citrus to start, the blood orange elements become more defined in the aftertaste. Cranberry is very mild and seems to only add a slight tartness. The LCBO version is obviously filtered, as its cleaner and not cloudy like the brewery original version. Not that much traditional apple. Blood orange + citrus are the defining elements in this cider – may not know its a cider if you were not told.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pommies – Mimosa
More Sour – Steel Town – Vay Kay
More Dry – Rice Lake – Cranberry
More Crisp – Thornbury – Blood Orange

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Slabtown – Honey Habanero

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Honey Habanero
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Spiced
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown retail + online store
Flavour: Honey + Habanero
Colour:  Translucent golden rod
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Mixed apple with habanero (with some spice that gets in the sinuses). Light, earthy honey.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from spice. Quick habanero pepper flavour. Spice builds for a few moments. Fleshy apple helps to balance the cider.
After Taste: Spice weakens, bright apple and honey come really through. Ends dry, with lingering natural honey that remains in the mouth.
On ice: Apple reduced. Slightly spicier as natural apple sweetness is reduced.

Additional Notes:  Slabtown’s Honey Haberno is a very unique creation that is not as spicy as you may anticipate when you hear habanero. The drink starts with some spice from the pepper and it does build for a bit, but is not overwhelming and not as many Scoville units as eating the pepper in a dish (by a lot!). You also get a lot of pepper flavour initially, but it turns more to a bright apple and a natural honey flavour into the finish. Surprisingly balanced for the sweet and spicy elements involved.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Chill Street – Heat of the Moment
More Sour – Heartwood – Eve Goes Badass
More Dry – Kings Mill – Jalapeño 
More Crisp – Ernest – Original Dry

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Revel – Mithras

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – Mithras
Sampled April 2021

Brand: Revel Cider
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Guelph
ABV: 6.7%
Website Link: revelcider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 335ml (can)
Availability: Revel retail store and online
Flavour: Nectarine
Colour:  Hazy, straw yellow
Carbonation: Mixed streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sour and funky with nectarine and semi-tart apple
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation, followed by a semi-sour and tart nectarine. Funky, but minimal apple flavour. Mild sassafrass undertones.
After Taste: Funk and sourness cleans out, leaving a more standard juicy nectarine that is not sweet at all. Some apple peel notes become present. Not long-lingering.
On ice: Heavily reduced flavour and reduction in carbonation. Cleaner

Additional Notes:  The Mithras by Revel (2021 Edition) is a tart and funky nectarine-driven cider.  With only some peel notes, it’s mostly stone-fruit forward.  It is slightly less sweet from earlier versions as it does not have peach.  A very smooth offering from Revel Cider, but it still has their trademark funk/wild notes to it. A light body makes for an easy drinking experience. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Peach Apple
More Sour – Steel Town – Barrique
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Niagara Cider – Peach Chardonnay

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Niagara – Peach Chardonnay

Cider Profile:

Name:  Niagara – Peach Chardonnay
Sampled April 2021

Brand: Niagara Cider Company
Type: Flavoured – Peach
Location of Brewing: Niagara, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: niagaracidercompany.com
Ingredients: Apples, peaches, chardonnay, cane sugar, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Niagara Cider Company Online Store
Flavour: Peach
Colour: Transparent straw-yellow
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles, 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright semi-sour apples with light peach and chardonnay astringency.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Bright and slightly tannic apples with some white wine notes. Some acidity.
After Taste: Apple dissipates quickly leaving a light peach and some astringency notes from the chardonnay.  Slightly drier.
On ice: Slightly less chardonnay on ice.

Additional Notes:  The Peach Chardonnay by Niagara Cider Company is a light, mixed offering  of wine, cider and peaches. It’s bright, not sweet by any means and starts apple forward finishing chardonnay and mild peach in the end. Easy to drink with a light mouthfeel. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Peach Cider
More Sour – Steel Town – Barrique
More Dry – Ernest – Speachless
More Crisp – Chill Street – Afternoon Delight

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Chill Street – Afternoon Delight

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill Street – Afternoon Delight
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Chill Street Craft Beverage Co.
Type: Apple – Wine-Infused
Location of Brewing: Elmdale, NS
ABV: 7.2%
Website Link: chillstreetcraftbeverageco.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill Street retail + online store
Flavour: Peach
Colour: Transparent yellow
Carbonation: Mixed size bubbles, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Kings Mill – Jalapeño

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Jalapeño
Sampled April 2021

Brand: Kings Mill Cider
Type: Flavoured – Pepper
Location of Brewing: Stirling, ON
ABV: 9%
Website Link: kingsmillcider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, jalapeño, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Kings Mill retail and online store
Flavour: Jalapeño
Colour: Transparent straw yellow
Carbonation: Large streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Heavy jalapeño, intense nose penetration.  Slight bright apple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick jalapeño flesh flavour, with then a building spice from the pepper. Pulpy, crisp apple base.
After Taste: Earthy pepper flavour becomes more obvious as spiciness starts to clear out. Pepper flavour lingers into the finish, along with a medium apple peel note.
On ice: Thinner mouthfeel and less carbonation. Weaker spice and pepper flavour.

Additional Notes:  Kings Mill’s Jalapeño cider is a bold offering that doesn’t shy away from accurately portraying the pepper’s flavour – but a lot with less heat than eating it straight. You get some spiciness in the middle with the start and finish being more focused on the jalapeño pepper flavour itself. A juicy, apple-peel base is noticeable to the palate throughout. If too strong for you, do drink on ice as it weakens the intensity. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Slabtown – Honey Habanero
More Sour – KW Craft – Thai Ginger
More Dry – Heartwood – Eve Goes Badass
More Crisp – Grey & Gold – Spruce of the Bruce

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Crimson Cider – Cranberry Sage

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson Cider – Cranberry Sage
Sampled March 2021

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Crimson online + retail store
Flavour: Cranberry + Sage
Colour:  Transparent pale pink
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium intensity. Ligh,t tart cranberry with some dessert apples
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick semi-sweet cranberry which becomes more tart and dry as time goes.  Smooth, semi-sweet dessert apples make the base.  Some peel flavours.
After Taste: Apples dissipate, leaving a slightly musty and natural cranberry feel and taste.  Sage earthiness makes a slight appearance. Standard aftertaste length.
On ice: Slightly thinner mouthfeel. Carbonation reduced, not as tart cranberry.

Additional Notes:  Crimson Cider’s Cranberry Sage is a semi-tart cranberry offering.  Balanced with dessert apples, the cider is clean to start and becomes a bit more earthy as time goes on.  Sage shows up briefly in the aftertaste. Some peel elements and a lot of carbonation. (let it sit for a bit if it’s too much). 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Cranberry Apple
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose 
More Dry – Muskoka Lakes – Cliff Jump Cranberry
More Crisp – Rice Lake – Cranberry Dry

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Duntroon – Shaker Hill Blush

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Shaker Hill Blush
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Shale Ridge – Cabernet Funk

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Cabernet Funk
Sampled March 2021

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Shale Ridge retail + online stores
Flavour: Red grape
Colour: Cloudy pink grapefruit
Carbonation: Small, very frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Red grape. Fermentation notes. Aged/funk aspects.
Initial Taste: Very tingly bite from carbonation. Once carbonation reduces, funky red grape come through. Hints of tart berries. Mild heritage apple notes.
After Taste: Grape notes linger but become smoother. Astringency appears briefly. Fermentation notes stay awhile, including some minerality.
On ice: Reduced flavour and mouthfeel. Very watered down.

Additional Notes:  Shale Ridge’s Cabernet Funk is a unique spin on a wine-inspired and infused cider. It strongly features red grape notes and leans more like a thin red wine than a rosé wine as we thought may be and is more standard. It features a lot of funky and fermentation notes that add to its depth but maybe are not for everyone. Slight hint of tart generic berry flavours and some mild heritage apples, but this is very much driven by the red grapes and funk notes throughout. Very carbonated, exploded on us upon opening and has a very tingly mouthfeel as a result. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Rose Cider
More Sour – Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – Duntroon – Sumac
More Crisp – Stock & Row – Cold Tea

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Grey & Gold – Highlander

Cider Profile:

Name: Grey & Gold – Highlander
Sampled February 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Slabtown – Mint Basil

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Mint Basil
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Herbed
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 5.6%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Seasonal – Slabtown retail + online stores
Flavour: Mint + Basil
Colour:  Translucent pale yellow
Carbonation: Small frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Pulpy apple. Hint of earthy herbs.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation but it’s tingly in the mouth. Earthy basil amongst the light, smooth apple base.
After Taste: Mild soothing mint comes through. Apple remains the same but becomes even lighter. Doesn’t linger long.
On ice: Cuts carbonation a lot. Lighter apple presence.

Additional Notes:  Slabtown’s Mint Basil is one of the lightest offerings we’ve had from this cidery thus far. With a smooth, pulpy apple base, you get a bit of earthy basil upfront and some mild smoothing mint near the finish, but it’s not too intense or ‘herby’. A very tingly carbonation in this cider – drink on ice if it is too much for you since it cuts it a lot.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Impeachmint
More Sour – Collective Arts – Raspberry Mojito
More Dry – Kings Mill – Mojito
More Crisp – Brickworks – Mint & Basil Cider

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KW Craft – Wild Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: KW Craft – Wild Cherry
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  KW Craft Cider
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Waterloo, ON
ABV: 6.4%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Apples, sugars (concentrated cherry juice,
cane sugar),champagne yeast, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: KW Craft online store, St. Jacobs Farmers Market,
coming soon LCBO & Grocery

Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Transparent dark rose
Carbonation: Large bubbles & small streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet, candied cherry (like a cherry blaster)
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation + acidity. Strong sweet, candied cherry. Sharp apple base. Some mild bitterness.
After Taste: Cherry becomes slightly more dry. Familiar KW apple base really comes through. Long lingering cherry and fermentation flavour.
On ice: Less carbonation. Tastes less alcoholic.

Additional Notes:  KW Craft’s Wild Cherry is the spring-release cider you need to celebrate the warming weather, made with montmorency cherries Niagara. With a candied, sweet cherry flavour throughout, it gives us some serious cherry blaster vibes but its not too sweet. It has a very familiar KW Craft Cider dry apple base that we love in their original flagship cider. Very sharp flavours – including noticeable fermentation elements – with some tingly carbonation, make this a very satisfying flavoured hard cider to consume.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Busl – Cerasus Cherry Cider
More Sour – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
More Dry – West Avenue – Cherriosity
More Crisp – 

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No Boats on Sunday – Mixed Berry

Cider Profile:

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

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Heeman’s – Berry Blush

Cider Profile:

Name: Heeman’s – Berry Blush
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Chill St. – Nuts Over You

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill Street – Nuts Over You
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Chill Street Brewing
Type: Flavoured – Almond
Location of Brewing: Elmsdale, NS
ABV: 5.9%
Website Link: chillstreetbrewing.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill St retail + online store
Flavour: Almond
Colour:  Transparent straw yellow
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Heavy amaretto & almond. Sweet dessert apple hints.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quick and strong amaretto taste, that includes some astringency like the liquor. Creamy dessert apple base. Dark cherry notes.
After Taste: Amaretto remains strong and lingers, with some more generic almond-like notes. Mild bitterness. Some lemony-hints. Clean finish, lingering flavour notes.
On ice: Carbonation and astringency reduced. Flavour is the same, easier to determine elements.

Additional Notes:  Chill Street’s Nuts Over You is a wonderful take on an amaretto-tasting cider. With a strong flavour and even some astringency, it is very close to the beloved liqueur from Italy. The apple base is creamy and soft, allowing for the other flavours to shine. Some dark cherry notes in the beginning and mild lemony notes in the finish help add depth and authenticity to its take on an amaretto spirit. Has a very long lingering flavour. Potential allergy warning due to the nuts.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 7 Shores – Peach Vanilla
More Sour – Annapolis Cider – Earl Blue
More Dry – Bulwark – Rum Cider
More Crisp – No Boats on Sunday

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Crimson Cider – Perfect Matcha

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson Cider – Perfect Matcha
Sampled March 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Busl – Cerasus

Cider Profile:

Name: Busl – Cerasus
Sampled March 2021

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

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

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Growers – Field Watermelon Lavender

Cider Profile:

Name: Growers – Field Watermelon Lavender
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Growers Cider
Type:  Flavoured – Spritzer
Location of Brewing: Niagara Falls, ON
ABV: 4%
Website Link: growerscanada.ca
Ingredients: Carbonated water, cider,
natural flavour, sodium citrate

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: The Wine Rack (Ontario)
Flavour: Watermelon and Lavender
Colour: Transparent, light-yellow
Carbonation: Medium, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Strong seltzer notes and effervesce. Some watermelon, slight lavender
Initial Taste: Light bite. Strong seltzer/soda water elements. Medium candied watermelon. No apple, but a mild hint of lavender.
After Taste: Cleans out quickly with very little aftertaste but that of being a flavoured water. Slight film
On ice: Flavour and carbonation reduced to minimal profile.

Additional Notes:  The Field Watermelon and Lavender Cider Spritz by Growers is their take on a lightly flavoured cider/sparkling water blend.  We couldn’t detect any apple in this, but it did have a respectable watermelon flavour that was candied. Overall, it’s much closer to spritzer than a cider. Mild lavender adds an intriguing element.  Cleans out pretty quickly. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 2
Crisp – 1
Dry – 3
Fruity – 1.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Batch 1904
More Sour – Pommies – Farmhouse
More Dry – No Boats on Sunday
More Crisp – Thornbury – Original

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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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Ernest – Spiced Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Spiced Cherry
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Ernest Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mulled Cherry
Location of Brewing: Bond Head, 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 – Ernest online store
Flavour: Cherry and spices
Colour:  Cloudy rusty red with brown particles
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Heavy cellaring notes, with some astringency. Gritty, dry cherry, Mild spices.
Initial Taste: Light bite with some quick, heavier astringency. Rustic & tart medium apple base. Aged dry cherries. Earthy, wood notes are primary over other elements.
After Taste: Apples diminish with cherries becoming slightly more forward. Mild spicing comes through that is cardamom focused. Woody barrel notes linger. Light smooth bourbon notes emerge.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Flavours are warmer, less harsh elements overall.

Additional Notes:  Ernest’s Spiced Cherry is not the cider we were expecting – a) because it’s far from Ernest’s other offerings and b) it’s very driven by the barreling process and not as much cherry, apple or spicing as you may anticipate. Aged in bourbon barrels for 6 months, you get a bit of the spirit astringency up front, with some smooth bourbon notes near the finish. The apple that is there is dry and rustic, with the cherries coming through near the finish, but are subtle and more diluted tasting than you may anticipate. Mild spicing from cardamon comes through. You get a lot of wood flavours from the barreling as well, so this would appeal to barrel-aging fans and dry cider fans alike in particular.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate
More Sour – Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry

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Chill St – Berry Naughty

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill St – Berry Naughty
Sampled February 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Grey & Gold – Jin & Juice

Cider Profile:

Name: Grey & Gold – Jin & Juice
Sampled February 2021 

Brand:  Grey & Gold Cider Company
Type: Flavoured – Floral
Location of Brewing: Clarksburg, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: greyandgoldcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Grey & Gold online + retail store
Flavour: Juniper, sumac, grape
Colour:  Cloudy rustic straw yellow
Carbonation: Medium infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Earthy juniper. Punchy herbal notes. Floral hints. Light mustard seed.
Initial Taste: Strong bite. Quick hit of earthy, herbal juniper. Dill weed and turmeric. Tannic wild apple flavours. Merlot notes. Dandelion punchiness. Sourness.
After Taste: Becomes more bitter. Is more herbal and raw tasting. Light sumac hints to finish. Long lingering flavour notes.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and overall flavour.

Additional Notes:  Grey & Gold’s Jin and Juice is a full flavoured experience, that may not be what you expect from the name. A very punchy, pungent cider, it has a lot of herbal, floral and spice notes that you really don’t find in any other ciders. Along with an earthy juniper, you get dill weed, turmeric, mustard and dandelion flavours that are bold and unapologetic. There are some tannic wild apple notes but the herbal, earthy elements are very dominant from start to finish. Not a standard gin botanical cider like others on the market or the name would suggest.To be honest, it’s not for beginners or those who hesitate to try new cider flavours – one of the furthest you will get away from commercially-based ciders.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Duntroon – Sumac
More Sour – Revel – Spirit of the Woods
More Dry – 
More Crisp – West Avenue – Genevieve 

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Collective Arts – Raspberry Mojito

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Raspberry Mojito
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Collective Arts Brewing
Type: Flavoured – Raspberry, lime and mint
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.7%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Apples, raspberry juice concentrate, lime juice,
spearmint oil, raspberry flavour, yeast, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Occasional release, Collective Arts online
+ retail stores

Flavour: Raspberry + mojito
Colour:  Deep ruby red with purple hues
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Tart rich raspberries. Tangy lime. Hint of mint.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Dessert apple followed by tart, pulpy raspberries. Lime tang.
After Taste: Raspberries overtake apples. Spearmint then becomes dominant. Mint is slightly earthy, cooling and natural – and lingers awhile. Lime hangs out a bit too.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Weakened spearmint.

Additional Notes:  Collective Art’s Raspberry Mojito is exactly as promised. While there is a bit of an apple taste to begin, it’s raspberry forward for most of the journey. With some tangy lime and a strong spearmint finish, it’s an accurate representation of the fusion cocktail they aimed to mimic in this cider. Tart raspberries taste natural and muddled, with some memories of a cranberry cider from the sour notes and mouthfeel. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Impeachmint
More Sour – Steeltown – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – Kings Mill – Ontario Mule
More Crisp – Slabtown – Mojito de Manzana

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Union Libre – Aronia

Cider Profile:

Name: Union Libre – Aronia
Sampled November 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Busl – Quran·TEA·ne

Cider Profile:

Name: Busl – Quran·TEA·ne
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Busl Cider
Type: Flavoured – Tea
Location of Brewing: Mallorytown, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: buslcider.com
Ingredients: Cider, hibiscus tea, raspberry juice,
sugar, honey sulphites

Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Busl online + retail stores
Flavour: Hibiscus and raspberry
Colour: Transparent flamingo pink
Carbonation: Large bubbles, very infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Mild tart raspberry and semi-floral notes. Sweet green apple.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Floral bouquet of hibiscus flavour. Sweet apple – red and green varieties – with mild tart aspects.
After Taste: Hibiscus continues but raspberry starts to develop more, is sweet and natural. Clean finish.
On ice: Minimal change in flavour or mouthfeel.

Additional Notes:  Busl’s Quaran·tea·ne is a great excuse to stay home and drink instead. With a very floral and forward hibiscus flavour from the start, it is balanced and never too heavy on the flavour journey. A candied, sweeter raspberry comes out in the aftertaste that cleans out of the mouth well. It has a minimal carbonation that doesn’t distract or influence the natural flavours. Not too much tea noticeable but more so has the mouthfeel of an iced tea.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Reinhart’s – Strawberry Hibiscus
More Sour – Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – East Street – Harvest Botantical
More Crisp – Stock & Row – Cold Tea

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Spirit Tree – Apple Cranberry Cider Spritzer

Cider Profile:

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

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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