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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 – 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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Farmgate – Bee Squared

Cider Profile:

Name:  Farmgate – Bee Squared
Sampled May 2020

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

Size(s) available: 375mL (Bottle)
Availability:
Farmgate Online Store and select Ottawa area Farmers Markets
Flavour:  
Apple & Honey
Colour:  
Translucent, golden honey.
Carbonation:
A few small, spare bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Semi-strong aroma. Sweet pulpy fresh apples with a hint of honey.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Some pulpy dessert apples with a bit of wood-like notes.
After Taste: As apple dissipates it becomes less sweet and earthier in nature.  Honey is natural and light.
On ice: Flavour and carbonation reduced.  Honey is lighter tasting/feeling and overall is more crisp.

Additional Notes:  The Bee Squared from Farmgate is light and easy to consume, even at 7%. The honey is smooth and well balanced, and not heavy like meads can be. Initial taste is simpler, with the aftertaste becoming more complex and rudimentary, and overall more natural tasting. Becomes more sour/tart as it warms.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Dry Cider
More Sour – Clafeld – Oh Beehave
More Dry – Loch Mor Cider – Untamed
More Crisp – Flying Canoe – Hard Cider

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Rosewood – Legacy Cyser (2017)

Cider Profile:

Name: Rosewood Estate Winery – Legacy Cyser (2017)
Sampled March 2020

Brand:  Rosewood Estate Winery
Type:
Cyser (Mead)
Location of Brewing:
Beamsville, ON
ABV:
13.5%
Website Link:
rosewoodwine.com
Ingredients:
N/A
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 48 g/L

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability:
Rosewood Estate Retail Store + Online Store
Flavour:
Apple and Honey
Colour:  
Sunshine Yellow
Carbonation:
Few visible still bubbles on the side of the glass



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild aroma. Honey and apple notes. Sweet overall.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from astringency. Strong pungent honey and sweet apples notes.
After Taste: Extra smooth, flavour lasts a pretty long time. More crisp, fresh apple flavours becomes present.  Some filmy notes to finish.
On ice: Less astringency and more smooth/less sharp.

Additional Notes:  The Legacy Cyser by Rosewood is very unique.  It has a strong kick from the honey and wine elements/astringency initially, but becomes extra smooth quickly into the aftertaste. It’s sweet but not sugary, with some creamy and crisp apple elements. It lingers a long-time and is a very unique offering compared to other wine/cider hybrids. This apple mead cyser is well worth a bottle as we cannot recall seeing anything like this elsewhere in Ontario.

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

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

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Ernest – Apple Strudel

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Apple Strudel
Sampled November 2019

Brand:  Ernest Cider Co Ltd.
Type:
Apple – Flavoured
Location of Brewing:
Newmarket, On
ABV:
5.8%
Website Link:
ernestcider.com
Ingredients:
Apples, cinnamon, honey, organic cane sugar, natural flavours, acide malique,  potasium sorbate, sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/ASize(s) available: 473mL (can)
Availability:
LCBO 
Flavour: 
Mulled
Colour:
Transparent, Bold golden-yellow
Carbonation:
Medium, streaming bubbles. Similar on ice.


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma of caramel, cinnamon and semi-tart apple.
Initial Taste:
Mild bite from acidity and carbonation. Strong, bold nutmeg flavour followed by semi-tart and warming apple notes – and some citrus aspects.  Almost a bourbon-like vanilla.
After Taste: Becomes more cinnamon and apple pie like as the aftertaste goes on. Long lasting with a bit of a film/medicinal taste.  Finished with some pastry and raisin elements.
On ice: No difference.

Additional Notes:  Ernest’s Apple Strudel has a lot of elements: it starts bold and then goes through a bit of a flavour journey with differing tastes, finishing on a flaky, cinnamon ending.  The more you consciously think of it, the closer it is to the Apple Strudel it’s named after. It would be a great alternative to a dessert as it captures the unique, flakiness flavours of a strudel.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Spiced Apple
More Sour – Heartwood Cidery – Eve Goes Badass
More Dry – Spirit Tree – Pumpkin Cider
More Crisp – 401 – Apple Pie Cider

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Clafeld – Oh Beehave

Cider Profile:

Name:  Clafeld Oh Beehave
Sampled January 2018

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Links to Cocktails
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