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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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Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate
Sampled February 2021

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Shaler Ridge retail + online store
Flavour: Cherry + chocolate
Colour: Transparent rose gold
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Maraschino cherry. Light floral. Mild milk chocolate and sweet apple.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Bright apple base. Moves to a candied, preserved cherry flavour. Rose note.
After Taste: Becomes more cherry forward. Light and balanced chocolate notes come through.
On ice: Slightly thinner mouthfeel. Less chocolate.

Additional Notes:  Shale Ridge’s Cherry Chocolate cider is very reminiscent of a cherry-filled milk chocolate you’ll find in a mixed box of chocolates you’d give to a loved one. With a very candied maraschino cherry, its there for most of the flavour journey. The apple base is light and bright, leaning sweeter but not sugary.  A lighter chocolate note comes in near the finish and does not dominate. A light mouthfeel makes this an easy drinking experience and a bit sultry as well. Perfect for Valentines Day, as Shale Ridge intended.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Blood Orange
More Sour – Reinhart’s – Strawberry Hibiscus
More Dry – Banjo Cider – Rouge
More Crisp – Ernest – Rubee

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Steel Town – Barrique

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Barrique
Sampled November 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Ernest – Tea and Cookies

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Tea and Cookies
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Ernest Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Tea
Location of Brewing: Bond Head, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: ernestcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: 7g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Ernest Online Store
Flavour: Earl grey tea + vanilla
Colour:  Transparent rich gold with brown hues
Carbonation: Fine, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Heavy black tea. Creamy vanilla. Hint of mild apples.
Initial Taste: Strong bite from tea tannins. Light carbonation. Gritty black tea flavour and mouthfeel. Earthiness. Equal apple with orange and caramel hints.
After Taste: Black tea remains but slowly dissipates. Creamy vanilla emerges. Dank apple notes. Long lingering tea tannins and flavour.
On ice: Mild carbonation reduction. No significant flavour change.

Additional Notes:  Ernest’s Tea and Cookies Cider is a very heavily tea driven cider, it may not be as sweet as you’d expect as with ‘cookies’ in the title. With a lot of black tea flavours and grit from its natural tannins, it is an earl grey experience from start to finish. You get a bit of mild orange notes from the tea’s bergamot. Some creamy vanilla emerges near the finish. Apple base is minimal. If you don’t like black tea, this cider isn’t for you.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Lavender Earl Grey
More Sour – Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Clafeld – London Fog

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Collective Arts – Blackberry & Peach

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Blackberry & Peach
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Collective Arts Brewing Co.
Type: Flavoured – Blackberry and Peach
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.7%
Website Link: collectiveartscider.com
Ingredients: Apples, blackberry concentrate, natural peach flavour,
natural blackberry flavour, lime oil, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Collective Arts Online and retail stores
Flavour: Blackberry & Peach
Colour: Translucent, purplish-red
Carbonation: Medium, infrequent bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet blackberries with some tart notes. Some peach pit notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite carbonation. Some tart blackberry and a hint of sweet peach and dessert apples that dissipate quickly.
After Taste: Apple removed leaving tangy blackberry with mild peach pit note. Most of the experience is in the aftertaste.  Some sticky notes in the mouth from blackberry. Mild underlying notes from lime oil.
On ice: Carbonation greatly reduced, much more juice like.

Additional Notes: The Blackberry & Peach by Collective Arts Cider is a cider without much apple elements.  Dominated by tart and then tangy blackberries, it’s supported by fresh peach elements and are noticeable especially when you think of them. Little apple, it reminds us more of a mixed cocktail, especially due to the soft carbonation.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Blackberry Peach
More Sour – Beaver Valley – Bumbleberry
More Dry – Howell Road – Blackberry Pear
More Crisp – Hard Way – Ramboozle

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Farmgate – Mulled

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate – Mulled
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Farmgate Cider Company
Type:  Apple – Mulled
Location of Brewing: Arnprior, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: farmgatecider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 1000ml (bottle)
Availability: Farmgate Online Store 
Flavour: Apple and spices
Colour: Translucent, cloudy-brown
Carbonation: Appears still



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet spices (clove, cinnamon) with pulpy apple.  Some orange zest notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite (almost still), Creamy apple sauce-like blend with clove, cardamom and other spices. Orange notes throughout. Strong, sweet cinnamon, almost baked in taste.
After Taste: Dissipates quickly and leaves the mouth with a slight film from the sediment and spices.  Finishes like apple pie filling. Lingering spices, especially clove.
On ice: Reduction of sweetness and apple. Cleaner.

Additional Notes:  This unique mulled cider by Farmgate is smooth and clean, even with the dark rich colour and particles found in the cider.  It’s light and refreshing, and it mostly cleans out quickly (except for the spices, which linger lightly in the mouth).  It is almost like an apple pie filling, especially from the mouthfeel.  Quality farm-produced product, many rustic and countryside vibes. You really get the essence of what it would be like to drink a mulled cider at a Christmas market or something festive from this. A well executed orange peel flavour makes this stand out from other mulled offerings.  Reminds you of a classic, sweet non-alcoholic apple cider. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Apple Strudel
More Sour – Two Blokes – Wassail
More Dry – Slabtown – Cider House Rules
More Crisp – 401 Cider – Apple Pie Cider

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Clafeld – London Fog

Cider Profile:

Name:  Clafeld – London Fog
Sampled February 2021 

Brand: Clafeld Fruit Winey & Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Tea Infused
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV:
5.5%
Website Link:
waupooswinery.com
Ingredients:  
Fermented apple juice, decaffeinated orange pekoe tea, bergamot, sugar, vanilla extract, sorbate, sulfites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (Can)
Availability:
Clafeld Retail Store + Waupoos Winery one store
Flavour:
Black tea and Vanilla
Colour:
Pale transparent yellow
Carbonation:
Small, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Earthy, leafy aroma from the tea. Forward vanilla. Slight mustiness and fermentation notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Hit of earthy tea leaves. Sweet, crisp with light dessert apples. Slight bitterness.
After Taste: Apple notes continue but they become smoother. Vanilla emerges with a slight hint of orange. Ends creamy and marshmallow-like, with some mild tea resin notes.
On ice: Carbonation reduced, slightly less vanilla finish. Tea flavour remains the same. Slightly harsher with the black tea.

Additional Notes: The London Fog from Clafeld is a journey cider, starting off one way and ending quite differently. It has an earthy, black tea flavour that quickly emerges right in the first second of consumption, with mild tea resin/tannin notes that stay. The real treat is the creamy, light mouth-feel vanilla ending that delights the senses. Not a lot of apple, but what is there is its light and dessert-oriented. We reviewed the 2018 version in the old 355ml can, and it was much more harsh and gritty then it is now. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Lavender Earl Grey
More Sour – Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – Ernest – Tea and Cookies
More Crisp – Stock & Row – Cold Tea

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Steel Town – Daga Carmesi

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Steel Town Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – sour cherry + black tea
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: steeltowncider.com
Ingredients: Pressed apples, montmorency cherry juice,
black tea, yeast

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Steel Town retail + online stores
Flavour: Black tea + cherry
Colour:  Hazy rusty red
Carbonation: Medium, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Punchy acidity. Black tea pungency. Acetic. Sour apple.
Initial Taste: Strong bite from acidity and some carbonation. Black tea notes that are gritty. Sour candied cherry. Acetic and rustic.
After Taste: Becomes more cherry focused with heritage apple notes more prevalent. Mild smokiness. Lingering acidity and sourness.
On ice: Watered down flavour and mouthfeel. More cherry notes come through. Less punchy overall.

Additional Notes:  This sour sidra-inspired offering from Steel Town, the Daga Carmesi, is unique but fits well into the portfolio of Steel Town offerings. The Montmorency Cherry notes are dynamic, being sour and candied at the same time. Added black tea adds flavour and mouthfeel, being gritty and natural in taste. Heritage and sour apple notes add to the overall punchiness of the cider. Acidic and acetic. Would have a niche fan base (totally our style). 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Lavender Earl Grey
More Sour – Revel – Sonata
More Dry – Ernest – Tea and Cookies
More Crisp – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry

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Duntroon – Sumac

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Sumac
Sampled January 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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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

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Collective Arts – Hurricane Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Hurricane Cider
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Collective Arts Brewing
Type: Flavoured – Pomegranate and passion fruit
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.7%
Website Link: collectiveartscider.com
Ingredients: Apples, passion fruit concentrate,
pomegranate flavour, yeast, lime oil.
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Collective Arts online and retail stores
Flavour: Passion fruit and pomegranate
Colour: Transparent peachy-red
Carbonation: Large, infrequent bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet passion fruit with smooth apples. Slight pomegranate tartness.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Slightly tart and gritty pomegranate and passion fruit with a semi-sweet apple base. Juicy mouthfeel with natural fruit earthiness.
After Taste: Apple dissipates, sweetness leaves and it becomes tart and almost puckering with sour elements. Ends on dank tropical notes.
On ice: Slightly reduced carbonation, little change.

Additional Notes:  The Hurricane Cider by Collective Arts is a unique offering, which focuses mostly on the adjunct passion fruit and pomegranate flavours, as opposed to apple.  It’s tart and sour but still has a semi-sweet apple base.  A lot of flavour, its rather punchy and full-bodied. Very juicy and tropical in nature. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Blood Orange
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – 401 Cider – Raspberry
More Crisp – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped

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Hounds of Erie – Dog House

Cider Profile:

Name: Hounds of Erie – Dog House
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Hounds of Erie Winery
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: Clear Creek, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Apples, hops, sulphites, potassium benzoate
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Hounds of Erie Retail + Online Store
Flavour: Hopped
Colour:  Transparent light golden yellow
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright apples with citra hops. Earthy hints.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quick sweet and crisp apples. Light tanginess. Citrus notes from hops including lemon and orange that are mild.
After Taste: Apples become slightly more caramelized. Vanilla hints. Ends with light lingering hop notes.
On ice: Carbonation reduced a lot. Flavours and mouthfeel also reduced. Rather watered down overall.

Additional Notes:  Hounds of Erie’s Dog House is a very soft and approachable hopped cider. With bright and sweet apples, the citrus notes from the dry hopping mingle well with the apple base, with notes of lemon and orange. No sugar added, but it is a sweeter offering, naturally so from the apples and assuming some malic acid. Very crisp and refreshing, especially for a hopped cider.  You would be forgiven to not notice the hops as they are soft.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Dry Hopped
More Dry – Duxbury – Tilted Barn Hopped Cider
More Crisp – Ardiel – Big John Hop Cider

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Two Blokes – Wassail

Cider Profile:

Name: Two Blokes – Wassail
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Two Blokes Cider
Type: Apple – Mulled
Location of Brewing: Port Perry, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Cider, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, orange peel,
star anise, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Limited – Two Blokes Online Store
Flavour: Mulled Apple
Colour:  Translucent golden yellow
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Pulpy apple with strong cinnamon and other spices. Some orange essence.
Initial Taste: Little bite. Quick pulpy apple appearing shortly after. Spicy, semi-earthy cinnamon. Orange peel aspects that intrigues.
After Taste: Apple base continues the same. Cinnamon reduces in intensity but lingers a while. Other spices become more obvious, including clove and cardamom. Semi-dry finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and mouthfeel. Cinnamon is weakened.

Additional Notes:  Two Bloke’s Wassail Cider captures the fierceness of the wishes made during wassail celebrations for a good harvest and season, by being strong and bold. This is a very cinnamon driven cider, it may give you flashbacks to those Valentines’ cinnamon hearts or Fireball whisky for us. Aside from this, the pulpy apple base will satisfy most. The other spices mentioned in the ingredients are all noticeable and definitely add to the cider composure, but cinnamon is the main star. Orange peels adds an interesting element you may not grasp without knowledge of it being in there.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Spiced Apple
More Sour – Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice
More Dry – 401 Cider – Apple Pie
More Crisp – Farmgate – Mulled

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Revel – Prosthetic Conscience

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
Sampled October 2020

Brand: Revel Cider Co.
Type: Perry – Flavoured
Location of Brewing: Guelph, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: revelcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355mL (can)
Availability: Revel online + retail stores
Flavour: Pear + hibiscus + brett
Colour: Cloudy grapefruit w/ darker sediment
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Very earthy and astringent with some sweet floral notes. Some hops-like notes. Brett pungency.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity and some carbonation. Quick flavour of a pungent hibiscus with earthy and woody notes.  Brett flavour and sensation is forceful. Slightly bitter and mild tart.  Hoppy-esque flavours.
After Taste: Hibiscus becomes a bit more sweet with brett lingering. Pear flavour makes a decent appearance near the finish. Saline and funky aspects. Drier, creamier ending.
On ice: Carbonation is reduced. Less pungent, more smooth to consume.

Additional Notes: Revel’s hibiscus perry Prosthetic Conscience is a unique, funky creation that is heavy on the Brett but also on the other flavours. With more forceful elements in the front, it has smoother and creamier flavours to finish, with the pear and the hibiscus becoming sweeter. Brett elements would make this appeal to farmhouse beer drinkers, and we believe that is what makes it tastes hopped as well.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Pear Cider
More Sour – Sprit Tree – Pear with Lavender
More Dry – Clafeld – Rosehip Cider
More Crisp – Brickworks – The Purple Road

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Slabtown – Cider House Rules

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Cider House Rules
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Mulled
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 5.3%
Website Link:
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown Retail Store
Flavour: Spiced
Colour:  Transparent golden apple
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Juicy, crisp apple with apple pie spices. Creamy vanilla + caramel.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Quick, medium mulled spicing, in particular cinnamon. Sweet, bright apple. Apple pie forward, especially the filing aspects.
After Taste: Apple and spicing continues. Vanilla, pastry elements come through. Lingering warming spices.
On ice: Carbonation and mouthfeel reduced. Less spices, more apple-focused.

Additional Notes:  Slabtown’s Cider House Rules is basically an apple pie in a glass. With a light mouthfeel, it allows for the spices to soothe the soul, in particular cinnamon. Creamy vanilla and crust flavours appear near the finish. Bright, caramelized, soft apples tickle the palate and act as a wonderful canvas for the spices. Try warmed for an extra special experience.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Harvest Spice
More Sour – Two Blokes – Wassail
More Dry – Heartwood – Wassail
More Crisp – Thornbury – Spiced Apple

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Bulwark – Sour Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: Bulwark – Sour Cherry
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Bulwark Ciders (Muwin Estate Wines Ltd.)
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: New Ross, Nova Scotia
ABV: 8.0%
Website Link: bulwarkcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 330ml (bottle)
Availability: Bulwark online and retail stores
Flavour: Cherry
Colour: Translucent, Vivid neon-orange
Carbonation: Mixed, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Dessert apple with sweet and semi-tart cherries
Initial Taste: Light bite. Quickly acidic apples with some semi-tart fresh but not over-ripe cherries. Slightly candied in nature. Soft mouthfeel.
After Taste: Apple and acidity dissipate with some more sourness from the cherries coming in. Semi-quick and clean finish with a bit of dryness. Some candied notes in the finish also. Buttery hints.
On ice: Carbonation dramatically reduced. Thinner and tartness reduced.

Additional Notes:  The Sour Cherry by Bulwark has the classic clean, fresh and juicy apple, lightly blended with semi-tart cherries.  It’s upbeat and bright with a bit of tart and sourness to it but not overwhelming. Finishes clean with some candied notes.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Parkside Cherry
More Sour – No Boats on Sunday – Cranberry Rosé
More Dry – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
More Crisp – Annapolis Cider Co. – Sour Cherry

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Howell Road – Blackberry Pear

Cider Profile:

Name: Howell Road – Blackberry Pear
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Howell Road Cider Co./Brantview Apples
Type: Perry – Flavoured
Location of Brewing: St. George, Ontario
ABV: 6.7%
Website Link: brantviewapples.com
Ingredients: Pears, blackberry, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available:473ml (can)
Availability: Via Howell Road online and retail store
Flavour: Pear & blackberry
Colour:  Cloudy, deep-burgundy
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Floral, with some tart blackberries and bright pear.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Acidic and tart with creamy pear and some sour blackberries. Dank and dry.
After Taste: Long-lingering with more blackberry appearing and some funky elements as it becomes less acidic.  Becomes slightly sweeter and light for the palate.
On ice: Less carbonation, less flavour. Slightly smoother.

Additional Notes:  The Blackberry Pear by Howell Road starts funky and acidic becoming slightly brighter and more blackberry focused. It certainly surprised us as we expected a sweeter experience. With a heavier mouthfeel, it has long lingering flavours with some dank elements (not negative!).  Pear starts somewhat present but dissipates pretty quickly – leaving a lot of non-fruit elements, along with the blackberry focus to finish. Unfiltered with a lot of trub/particles.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Blackberry Peach
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience 
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Dry Pear Cider
More Crisp – Coffin Ridge – Lavender Earl Grey Pear Cider

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Spirit Tree – Winter Bliss

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – Winter Bliss
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Caledon, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: spirittreecider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Spirit Tree online and retail store
Flavour: Apple, maple syrup, molasses, orange peel
Colour: Translucent, dark golden-yellow
Carbonation: Infrequently streaming small bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet and thick fortified-like apple. Some maple syrup notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Thick, syrupy, crisp apple taste that’s similar to an iced cider. Semi-sweet apple notes. Mild maple and earthy elements.
After Taste:  Cleans out somewhat quickly without much residual notes.  Some darker sugar elements, including the molasses, appear briefly. Almost a gummy aftertaste, possibly from the orange peel.
On ice: Carbonation reduced. Little other change.

Additional Notes:  The Winter Bliss by Spirit Tree is a thicker cider, elements similar to that of an iced cider without the astringency and harshness. It’s a semi-sweet apple taste that matches the dark golden colour. Quite clean (little fermentation or alcohol notes) with a little bit of a brown sugar/maple syrup/molasses finish.  Not much orange noticeable other than a possible gummied taste near the finish. A rustic cider with a farmhouse essence. Stands out, unlike any other Ontario craft cider we’ve had.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 
More Sour – Ernest – Winter’s Blush
More Dry – Heartwood – Wassail
More Crisp – 

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Beaver Valley – Cranberry

Cider Profile:

Name: Beaver Valley – Cranberry
Sampled October 2020

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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East Street – Snow Day

Cider Profile:

Name: East Street – Snow Day
Sampled November 2020

Brand: East Street Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Godritch, ON
ABV: 5.9%
Website Link: eaststreetcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: East Street online and retail stores
Flavour: Plum, cardamom, cinnamon, hibiscus, ginger
Colour: Transparent peach
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Floral and spiced juicy plum. Sweet apple and spicy notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Smooth sweet dessert apple that is juicy but not sugary. Spiced plum is strong and inviting. Some floral, hibiscus elements.
After Taste: Becomes less apple flavoured and turns a little creamy.  Spiced notes quickly peak and then dissipate resulting in a slightly more dry and spiced finished.  Slight ginger elements at the end.
On ice: Reduce spiced notes dramatically.

Additional Notes:  The Snow Day by East Street Cider Co. continues with the very full-bodied. mixed-flavours typically found in East Street offerings. It’s sweet but not sugary, a lot of flavour with spices that are present the whole journey.  A lot of depth in this, it’s best to not add ice in order to get the full effect of all the flavours. Very festive and delightful. Plum is unique, authentic and on par with seasonal sugar plum offerings that appear around the holidays. Spices are rich, warming and well balanced. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Spiced Apple
More Sour – Revel – Ostara Lilac
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Cranberry
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice

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Revel – Maribelle (2020)

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – Maribelle (2020)
Sampled December 2020

Brand: Revel Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mixed Fruit
Location of Brewing: Guelph, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: revelcider.ca
Ingredients: Cider, strawberries, organic lemon thyme
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Revel retail and online stores. Better Beverage Bars
Flavour: Strawberry and lemon thyme
Colour: Cloudy with crushed pulped strawberries
Carbonation: Medium, semi-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Acidic strawberry, lemon and funky apple notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Tart and acidic strawberries and apples present. Bold sour lemon notes. Almost puckering.
After Taste: Apple and acidity dissipate. Slightly stronger presence of strawberries which are more creamy.  A bit herby notes at the end that are semi-sour in nature.  Leaves the mouth a little dry.
On ice: Slightly less sour.

Additional Notes:  The 2020 version of the Maribelle by Revel Cider Co. is a unique and ‘journey’ cider, with a lot of elements and character.  Colour wise, its a brilliant strawberry red, with visible crushed strawberries.  Acidity and sourness are strong – almost puckering – but still very drinkable with other elements balancing it (earthy notes and strawberry sweetness). More sour lemon at first with crushed, creamy strawberries to finish. Herby punch to it. Little apple. Lots of particles and pulp but it does not impact the experience. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Reinharts – Strawberry Hibiscus
More Sour – 
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Bumbleberry
More Crisp – Heritage Estates – Eden’s Apple Strawberry

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KW Craft – Thai Ginger

Cider Profile:

Name: KW Craft – Thai Ginger
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  KW Craft Cider Inc.
Type: Flavoured – Pepper
Location of Brewing: Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
ABV: 6.7%
Website Link: kwcraftcider.com
Ingredients: Freshly pressed Ontario apples, champagne yeast, thai peppers,
ginger, cane sugar

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: 2020 Holiday Mixpack at LCBO + Online Retail Store
Flavour: Peppers + ginger
Colour:  Pale yellow, slight haze
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Pulpy apple flesh, mild hints of ginger
Initial Taste: Strong bite and some heat from peppers. Quick earthy ginger. Fleshy apple notes
After Taste: Pepper heat reduces and its flavour grows stronger and more focused. Some spiciness travels to the throat. Lingers awhile. Dry finish with some ginger notes.
On ice: Spiciness is reduced. More ginger forward. Not as harsh overall.

Additional Notes:  KW Craft’s Thai Ginger is not a beginner cider but it is not too intense for those who can’t handle spicy foods generally. With a strong and forceful pepper heat, it does sting for a moment but isn’t too overpowering. The ginger is more noticeable near the end, with the spicy notes traveling and lingering in the throat for awhile. You also get more of the pepper flavour itself in the aftertaste after some of the heat dies down. Mild fleshy apple base helps to counteract some spiciness.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – East Street – Harvest Botanical
More Sour – Beaver Valley – Ginger
More Dry – Heartwood – Eve Goes Badass
More Crisp –  Archibalds – Hard Ginger

Links to Other Stories
Bar Review – KW Craft Hot Ginger Cider 
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Hoity Toity – 4 on the Floor

Cider Profile:

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

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Brickworks – The Purple Road

Cider Profile:

Name: Brickworks – The Purple Road
Sampled December 2020

Brand:  Brickworks Ciderhouse
Type: Flavoured – Blueberry and Lavender
Location of Brewing: Toronto, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: theciderhouse.ca
Ingredients: Cider, carbonated water, sugars (apple juice, concentrated
wild blueberry juice, cane sugar), lavender

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 27g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO
Flavour: Blueberry and Lavender
Colour:  Translucent rich purple with red hues
Carbonation: Fine streaming bubbles, some light foam



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Rich and tart blueberry. Mild lavender notes.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from carbonation and acidity. Quick strong blueberry. Slightly tangy. Medley of dessert apples are the base of the cider but not very impactful on the flavour.
After Taste: Blueberry becomes smoother and semi-creamy. Lavender lightly appears. Off-dry finish, with mild sour and earthy notes. Hints of vanilla and allspice.
On ice: Thinner mouthfeel. Reduces flavour and blueberry grit. Loses definition.

Additional Notes:  Brickworks’s third Ciderhouse Series Release, the Purple Road delivered on its promised flavours of blueberry and lavender, in particular being very blueberry forward from start to finish. A mild lavender note pokes through near the finish but far from being very floral or perfume-like giving the cider a bit of an earthy edge. A fruity offering that isn’t too sweet. Authentic blueberry flavour that does indeed taste a bit wild, but could be more if it was not filtered.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 3.5
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Lavender Earl Grey
More Sour – Revel – All Day
More Dry – Crimson Cider –  Lavender Buds
More Crisp – Ernest – Wild Blueberry

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Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice
Sampled November 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Bulwark – Winter

Cider Profile:

Name: Bulwark – Winter
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Bulwark Ciders (Muwin Estate Wines Ltd.)
Type: Apple – Mulled
Location of Brewing: New Ross, Nova Scotia
ABV: 7.0%
Website Link: bulwarkcider.com
Ingredients: Apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 330ml + 500ml (bottles)
Availability: Bulwark online and retail stores
Flavour: Mulled
Colour: Translucent, golden-yellow
Carbonation: Mixed, infrequently streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Fresh apple with red peel, juicy, with notes of spices.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Strong, smooth and juicy apple blend. Some sweet notes. A lot of red apple peel flavour.
After Taste: As apple dissipates, cinnamon comes though almost as a second wave. Peaks sharply and then reduces giving way to some ginger notes.  Apple finishes tangier and crisper then started.
On ice: Slightly less apple upfront. Spices come quicker but are slightly dulled.

Additional Notes:  The Winter by Bulwark is a “journey” cider.  It starts off extremely juicy with semi-sweet and crisp red peel apple notes followed by a sharp cinnamon that almost consumes the apple and disappears as quick as it started.  Some ginger notes appear as the apple becomes a bit more mellow, less juicy and more hard cider focused. The ginger accentuates the spices and is hard to detect until you think about it. A lot of energy and full-bodied in this offering which could also be served warm. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Spiced Apple
More Sour – Lake City – Spice Up Your Life
More Dry – East Street – Harvest Botanical
More Crisp – 

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East Street – Harvest Botanical

Cider Profile:

Name: East Street – Harvest Botanical
Sampled November 2020

Brand: East Street Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Godritch, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: eaststreetcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: East Street Online and Retail stores
Flavour: Hibiscus, Lemongrass and rose hip
Colour: Orange-rose gold
Carbonation: Small streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Pulpy fresh apples. Floral notes. Lemongrass provides a bit of herb notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Semi-tart apple with some mild bitter notes. Some lemongrass elements with the bitter notes.  Floral present with hibiscus and rose and orange elements.
After Taste: Tartness reduces and becomes more apple and floral in nature. Some fruit punch notes. Mild spice undertones that show up more in the aftertaste, including cinnamon.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Relatively unchanged.

Additional Notes:  The Harvest Botanical by East Street Cider Co. offers an amped up fruit medley but still has some strong, classic apple cider elements. A blend of apple, hibiscus, rose, orange, cinnamon, all equals a delicious medley of flavours. A lot of flavour and different elements that make this bright and pop. Drier as time goes on, with more spice elements in the aftertaste. Can adapt to any type of the year (thankfully, it’s available if not sold out, all year!)

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Blood Orange
More Sour – County – Feral Cider
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Cranberry
More Crisp – Pommies – Red Sangria

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Revel – All Day

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – All Day
Sampled November 2020

Brand:  Revel Cider
Type: Flavoured – Mixed Fruit
Location of Brewing: Guelph, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: revelcider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Revel Retail + Online Store
Flavour: Strawberry, lavender, plums
Colour:  Hazy rosy pink with orange hues
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Bold lavender. Tart strawberry. Pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity and sourness. Quick and strong lavender. Strawberry is natural and tart, short-lived. Pungency/acetic aspects. Saison-like funk notes.
After Taste: Lavender continues strong, strawberry weakens. Remains sour. Ends on lingering floral lavender notes. Mild plum peaks through at the end. Becomes drier.
On ice: Weakened intensity for the acidity and sourness. Flavours remain the same.

Additional Notes:  The All Day by Revel Cider is a boldly flavoured cider, with lavender being the strongest element from start to finish. Quite sour, a lot of natural tartness comes from the plum and strawberry notes – a burst of strawberry flavour upfront, with plum more near the finish. Mild pulpy apple base carries the other elements. Very reminiscent of a Belgian golden sour beer in taste and intensity. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Reinharts – Strawberry Hibiscus
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Crimson Cider – Lavender Buds

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KW Cider – Canadian Shield Berries Rosé

Cider Profile:

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

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Slabtown – Mojito De Manzana

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Mojito De Manzana
Sampled September 2020

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown Retail Store
Flavour: Lime
Colour:  Transparent golden-yellow, with lime particles
Carbonation: Small, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Herby-mint with some lime elements.  Mild apple.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Quickly sour with lime elements that blend with a creamy and juicy apple taste.
After Taste: Relatively short aftertaste that clears out with some lime zest elements.  A bit of sweet apple taste.  Lime elements remain in the mouth. Some mint and salty aftertaste.
On ice: Carbonation drastically reduced, lime reduced.

Additional Notes:  A zippy cider that is tamed by the herby-mint elements, the Mojito De Manzana by Slabtown cider is unique with its added lime juice and pulp after the fermentation.  Flakes of lime are present, but not overpowering.  Almost like a limeade alternative with an apple base. If it’s too much, on-ice reduces the lime, mint and saltiness. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Impeachmint
More Sour – Revel Cider – All Day
More Dry – Kings Mill – Ontario Mule
More Crisp – Crimson Cider – Mint to Be

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Shale Ridge – Blueberry Hops

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Blueberry Hops
Sampled November 2020

Brand: Shale Ridge Estate Winery
Type: Flavoured – Blueberry + Hops
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 8%
Website Link: shaleridgewinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Shale Ridge retail and online store
Flavour: Blueberry + Hops
Colour: Dark rose with hints of purple
Carbonation: Still



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Tart blueberry with hints of orange and lemon. Pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from acidity. Quick natural blueberry that is tart, slightly earthy. Pulpy apple base.
After Taste: Blueberry becomes smoother but remains strong and hops notes come out. Slight astringency. Ends dry with lingering blueberry flavours.
On ice: Slightly less tart and astringent but flavours are the same.

Additional Notes:  Shale Ridge’s Blueberry Hops features two flavours we cannot recall being paired together prior. The blueberry is very natural tasting, slightly tart and slightly creamy. The apple base is bright and pulpy but the blueberry is stronger. The hops are minimal but they add nice citrus undertones. Well balanced and runs more dry overall.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Blueberry Elderflower
More Sour – Steeltown – The Northman Sour
More Dry – Duxbury – Titled Barn
More Crisp – Ernest – Wild Blueberry

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