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Steel Town – Planet of the Pies

Cider Profile:

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

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Heemans – Ambrosia

Cider Profile:

Name: Heemans – Ambrosia
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Heemans Cider
Type: Apple – Sweet
Location of Brewing: Thorndale, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: heeman.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Heemans retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent pale yellow
Carbonation: Large semi-streaming bubbles,
with a lot on the glass


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright, clean and rustic apple.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from carbonation. A quick thick and sweet honey and apple that is slightly pulpy, but bright. Floral essences.
After Taste: Apple continues, becomes slightly less sweet. Some underlying bitter hints. Honey comes out strong here. Lingering finish that is mostly clean except for some coating honey.
On ice: Slightly thinner mouthfeel. No flavour change.

Additional Notes:  Heeman’s Ambrosia Cider is a sweeter than anticipated cider, but it’s not sugary, and it is very driven by the Carolinian Honey added – in terms of sweetness, flavour and mouthfeel. The apple base is soft and uplifting, complimenting the heavy honey presence (that is most noticeable in the finish). The cider has some floral and bitter hints, adding to its complexity. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Dry Cider
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honey Crisp Cider

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Slabtown – Ginger Spritz

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Ginger Spritz
Sampled June 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Crimson – Cherrific

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson – Cherrific
Sampled June 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Carlisle Cider – Progreston Falls

Cider Profile:

Name: Carlisle Cider – Progreston Falls
Sampled June 2021

Brand: The Carlisle Cider Company
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Carlisle, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: carlisleciderco.com
Ingredients: Apples, sulfites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Carlisle retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent light straw yellow
Carbonation: Fine streaming bubbles with large still on the glass


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Heavy fermentation notes. Punchy, semi-pungent apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Thick medley of apple flavours. Heavy fermentation notes. Carbonation adds tonic notes. A touch of funk.
After Taste: As fermentation notes clear out, it becomes slightly brighter and sweeter.  Tannins coat the mouth, also lingering with some flavour. Mild maple and earthy notes.
On ice: Becomes thinner, slightly reduced flavour and carbonation.

Additional Notes:  Carlisle’s Progreston Falls is a fermentation flavour driven cider, with a medley of apple flavours noticeable. The carbonation adds a lot of mouthfeel and some tonic flavour, but doesn’t last long. Once the fermentation notes clean out, the apples become brighter and sweeter. Throughout there are mild alternative flavour notes, including some funk and some earthiness. A decent amount of tannins in this one. A refreshing farm-cider option. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Hounds of Erie – Best in Show
More Sour – Steel Town – Session Cider
More Dry – West Avenue – Frequin Rouge
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honey Crisp Apple

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Country Cider – Legacy Series Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: Country Cider – Legacy Series Rosé
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Loch Mór – Savvy Pomme

Cider Profile:

Name: Loch Mór – Savvy Pomme
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Loch Mór Cider Co
Type:  Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Hillier, ON
ABV: 8.5%
Website Link: lochmorcider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Loch Mór Retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent, sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Mixed, lightly streaming bubbles.
Heavy carbonation when first opened.


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet pulpy and bright apple with hints of pineapple.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Sweet and smooth apple that’s creamy with some acidic notes. Bright pineapple-like notes. Rich fermentation flavours.
After Taste: Apple reduces and becomes a little more dry and acidic. Some long lasting tannic notes. 
On ice: Carbonation is slightly reduced. A little more acidic and less apple forward

Additional Notes:  Loch Mór’s Savvy Pomme is a uniquely smooth cider that is is off-dry yet still higher in tannic elements and acidity.  Even being as delicate as it appears, it’s much higher in alcohol than you would think at 8.5. Rich in fermentation notes and depth. It is easy to drink with a long lingering aftertaste.  Has a unique pineapple flavour to it, although it is a single varietal offering.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Slab Town – Pineapple Mimosa
More Sour – Steel Town – Salvaje (Pet Nat)
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – Kings Mill – Russet Heritage

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Shale Ridge – Peach Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Peach Apple
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Ernest – Rosé Cider Spritzer

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Rosé Cider Spritzer
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Stock and Row – Lime Crush

Cider Profile:

Name: Stock and Row – Lime Crush
Sampled June 2021

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Kings Mill – Arrested Development (Carbonated)

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Arrested Development (carbonated)
Sampled June 2021

Brand:  King’s Mill Cider
Type: Apple – Off-dry
Location of Brewing: Stirling, ON
ABV: 10%
Website Link: kingsmillcider.ca
Ingredients: Ontario heritage apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Kings Mill retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent semi-bright yellow
Carbonation:  Small, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Mostly dry apples with hints of floral and must.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quickly followed by a semi-sweet apple base that is slightly tangy and acidic. Mild honey and floral hints. Effervescent. 
After Taste:  Acidity and tanginess grow, lingers a long time.  Very clean finish, sweeter as time goes on but no grittiness.
On ice: Smoother on ice, less tangy, less crisp and thinner. 

Additional Notes:  Arrested Development by Kings Mill Cider is a  clean, crisp and slightly acidic cider.  Made with heritage apples, its mostly dry with a hint of sweetness, making it an off-dry selection.  A traditional, easy to drink cider, you would almost think it’s a “light cider offering, but it’s 10% and it will sneak up on you. It gets tangier as the bottle warms with a long lasting aftertaste. A very good traditional cider that refreshes.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Apple Cider
More Sour – Stock & Row – Slow & Low
More Dry – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)
More Crisp – 

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Farmgate – Hyslop

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate – Hyslop
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Farmgate Cider
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Carp, ON
ABV: 9.5%
Website Link: farmgatecider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Farmgate online store
+ select Ottawa farmers markets

Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Rusty orange
Carbonation: Large streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet apple, with vanilla hints. Unique pear smell.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Initially a very clean and bright bittersharp apple. Then it builds in acidity and tannic properties, with some sour crab apple-like notes emerging. Vanilla and pear hints.
After Taste: Becomes less clean, more apple peel focused. More dry and gritty. Some acidity that lingers.
On ice: Thinner mouthfeel. Weakened flavours. Less tannic.

Additional Notes:  The Hyslop by Farmgate will surprise you – it smells somewhat sweet but it is a very dry cider. Starting off very clean and bittersharp forward, it becomes acidic, tannic and gritty from the hyslop apples. But they are slightly countered with unique vanilla and pear like notes that emerge. Towards the end it becomes very peel oriented and even drier. Being very different in smell than taste and with a unique apple flavour we cannot recall tasting anywhere else, it is a unique journey worth taking. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Waupoos Premium Cider
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose (2019)
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Clafeld – Spy

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Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry Cyder
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Duntroon, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: duntrooncyderhouse.com
Ingredients: Apples
Gluten Free: yes
Sugar Content: 0g/L 

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO and Duntroon Cyder House
retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet and pulpy apple with slight acidity
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Punchy bright apples that are semi-sweet (naturally so) and very crisp. Extra clean. Honey essences.
After Taste: Apple dissipates becoming drier but leaving most of the other elements the same.  Somewhat long lingering.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and some sharp elements.

Additional Notes: The Empire by Duntroon Cyder House is a strong example of an extra clean and crisp single varietal.  Very apple focused, it has a strong flavour and body from start to finish. Empire flavour is naturally semi-sweet and very bright but its a dry cider – with no added sugar. Not as sweet and juicy as it smells, but very crisp and refreshing with a bit of a kick from the apples. Lots of flavour and character for having just 1 type of apple and only apples as an ingredient. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Original Apple Cider
More Sour – Duxbury – Heritage 1650
More Dry – Liberty Village – Extra Dry Cider
More Crisp – 

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Spirit Tree – Estate Reserve (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – Estate Reserve (2019)
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Spirit Tree Cider Co. 
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Caledon, ON
ABV: 8.5%
Website Link: spirittreecider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Spirit Tree online + retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Small, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright apples amongst tannic, funky apple notes. Earthy hints.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from carbonation and acidity. Bright, slightly acetic apples that are tannic and rustic. Some bitterness and a mild astringency. Medley of apple varieties. Effervescence.
After Taste: Apples remain the same but become slightly more funky in nature. Earthy notes with hints of oak. Mostly clean finish with some mild tannic residue. 
On ice:  Carbonation reduced. Harsher elements reduced, becomes slightly more smooth.

Additional Notes:  The 2019 Vintage of Spirit Tree’s Estate Cider is a milder than expected cider drinking experience that still has a lot of the expected estate cider elements. Tannic and mostly dry, there is a bright medley of apple varieties present here, but they present lighter than you many anticipate. Its a good starter cider into estate ciders that have tannic/heritage/estate varieties. Would pair well with food as it would not interrupt the flavours much. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Busl – Aurum Apple Cider
More Sour – West Avenue – Spontaneity
More Dry – FieldBird – 2018 Sur Lie Perry
More Crisp – Duxbury – Five Metre Scrum

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Slabtown – Sweet Maple Heat

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Sweet Maple Heat
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Steel Town – Guav AF

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Guav AF
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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


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

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

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

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Archibalds – Strawberry Lime

Cider Profile:

Name: Archibalds – Strawberry Lime
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Rosewood – Pomme D’or

Cider Profile:

Name: Rosewood – Pomme D’or
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Rosewood Winery Estates
Type: Cyser  – Apple Spirit
Location of Brewing: Beamsville, On
ABV: 20%
Website Link: rosewoodwine.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Rosewood online and retail
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent rust
Carbonation: Still


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Caramelized sweet apples with a light astringency
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Sweet thick and syrupy caramelized apple with a slightly burnt honey note
After Taste: Elements from the barrels become more noticeable (woody and earthy) as the apples reduce. Lingers a while but with little apple elements.
On ice: Watered down and much less flavourful

Additional Notes:  The Pomme D’Or by Rosewood Estate Winery is a Cyser (apples with honey) that has been fortified into a dessert-style spirit at 20%.  It’s sweeter than many other apple spirit offerings yet still has a nice kick.  Honey provides a unique element, along with the barreling notes that are not overpowering.  

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

From Rosewood Winery: The cyser-Bochet (Cyser being honey wine made with apple and bochet being a honey wine made of burnt hone) is bone dry, all sugar was consumed during ferment or the forced caramelization of the honey prior to ferment. Wild fermented. It was aged for 1.5 years in French oak prior to 1.5 years in freshly emptied calvados barrels (French apple brandy barrels, very rare to get). It was bottled without filtration or fining. It’s a one of a kind production

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Kings Mill – Ice Cider
More Sour – Calvados Boulard – Pays ‘dauge
More Dry – Loch Mor – Pommeau
More Crisp – County Cider – Prince Edward County Ice Cider

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West Avenue – Rosie

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Rosie
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Loch Mór – Lagan’s IPC

Cider Profile:

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

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Clafeld – Spy

Cider Profile:

Name: Clafeld – Spy
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Clafeld Cider House
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: waupooswinery.com/cider-house
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 5g/L

Size(s) available: 500ml & 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Waupoos Winery Online Store
+ Clafeld retail store

Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent mustard yellow
Carbonation: Large infrequently bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet aroma of bright apples. Cotton candy notes. Mild acidity.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Quick acidic and semi-dry apple. Naturally sweet, bright apple notes. Cotton candy elements. Extra crisp.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues with its acidity slowly dwindling. Clean finish. Semi-long lasting.
On ice: Less carbonation and less acidity. Flavour less prominent.

Additional Notes:  Clafeld’s single varietal Spy Cider is a very crisp cider that grasps the palate with natural acidity from the apple. A dry cider but with naturally sweet and bright apple flavours, its got a clean flavour but somewhat coating of the mouth. Unique cotton candy-esque flavour notes detected. Very apple forward with not too many alcohol fermentation flavours or other flavour notes present.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Front Road – The Spy
More Sour – FieldBird – Northern Spy (2017)
More Dry – Windswept – Northern Spy (2018)
More Crisp – 

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Busl – Aurum

Cider Profile:

Name: Busl – Aurum
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Busl Cider
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Mallorytown, ON
ABV: 6.0%
Website Link: buslcider.com
Ingredients: Apple cider
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Busl online + retail stores
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent, light yellow
Carbonation: Mixed, semi-frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Smooth, sweet, pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Light carbonation. Smooth and semi-creamy, slightly sweet apple that is light. Soft apple that dances with the carbonation for a bit.
After Taste: Sweet apple reduces and becomes slightly earthy and a touch musty. Long lingering aftertaste that is slightly thick.
On ice: Less bright apples and carbonation.

Additional Notes:  Busl Cider’s straight apple offering the Aurum, is an apple-forward, simple and sweeter apple cider that is bright and pulpy in nature. Aftertaste is pretty minimal, but slightly earthy/natural and musty with some elements that are somewhat herby and tonic-like.  A lot of classic apple juice elements in this soft but refreshing offering. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Honeycrisp
More Sour – Duxbury – Five Metre Scrum
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Spy Ciderhouse – Golden Eye

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Lost Craft – Dry Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: Lost Craft – Dry Rosé
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Brickworks – Pineapple Agave

Cider Profile:

Name: Brickworks – Pineapple Agave
Sampled April 2021

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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FieldBird – Black Barred (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: FieldBird – Black Barred (2019)
Sampled May 2021

Brand: FieldBird Cider   
Type: Perry – Dry
Location of Brewing: Bloomfield, ON
ABV: 8%
Website Link: fieldbirdcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: FieldBird Retail and Online Store
Flavour: Perry
Colour: Transparent gold with silver elements
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Cellared, dank and funky caramelized pear.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation, followed by a strong punch of sour pear notes that are funky and earthy. Rustic with tannins and bitterness.
After Taste: Takes a bit to develop but the pear becomes juicier in nature and cleaner. Long-lingering with a lot of punch and some sour notes.  Very dry finish.
On ice: Carbonation and sour elements reduced dramatically.

Additional Notes:  The FieldBird Cider’s 2019 Black Barred is a charmat method offering that is a very strong tasting with sour and funky pear – and a decent amount of carbonation pop to it.  It has quite a long flavour profile as it not only takes a while to get to the aftertaste, but also lingers quite boldly.  Pear is punchy yet still retains some clean elements to it.  Much more pear flavour than other dry perries we’ve had.  Slightly caramelized as well. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pierre Huet – Poire Demi-Sec
More Sour – Duntroon – Two Parish Perry
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Pear Apple

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Crimson Cider – Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson Cider – Rosé
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Kings Mill – Russet Heritage

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Russet Heritage
Sampled April 2021

Brand:  Kings Mill Cider
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Stirling, ON
ABV: 8.8%
Website Link: kingsmillcider.company.site
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Kings Mill retail + online
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent pale yellow
Carbonation: Large streaming bubble


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Thick, juicy golden russet. Some fermentation notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from carbonation. Quickly juicy from bright golden russet apples. Heavy tannins and acidity add layers. Some earthy hints.
After Taste: Golden russet notes remain the same. Acidity weakens with some more fermentation notes appearing. Dry but bright finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation, acidity and tannins. Slightly sweeter.

Additional Notes:   Kings Mill Russet Heritage is a wonderfully forceful offering that can satisfy everyone from longtime cider connoisseurs to new cider fans. Very juicy, it is tannic and acidic, delighting the taste buds with a lot to dissect, and yet somehow still very smooth to drink. The apple notes are bright and clear. A dry cider with a lot of heritage fruit grit. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Two Blokes – Golden Mile
More Sour – Duntroon – Two Parish Perry
More Dry – FieldBird – Northern Spy (2017)
More Crisp – Hoity Toity – 283 Cider

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Niagara – Beekeeper’s Botanical

Cider Profile:

Name:  Niagara – Beekeeper’s Botanical
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Slabtown – Ciderita

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Ciderita
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Duxbury – Five Metre Scrum

Cider Profile:

Name: Duxbury – Five Metre Scrum
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Duxbury Cider
Type: Apple – Oaked
Location of Brewing: Meaford, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: www.theduxburyciderco.ca
Ingredients: Ontario apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 10 g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Duxbury online store
Flavour: Apple + oak
Colour:  Transparent light yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright, tannic apples.  Nutty and oak notes. Mild astringency.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Quick bright and tannic apples. Oak and wood notes. Crisp and tart.
After Taste: Apples become slightly drier. Mild astringency undertones come out. Clean, dry finish with lingering apple tannins that tickle the palate.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Thinner mouthfeel and less tannins.

Additional Notes:  Duxbury’s Five Metre Scrum is a dry cider offering with a nice oak/wood note twist, being double oaked. Very crisp, acidic and tannic, this is a very satisfying traditional cider to consume. The apples are bright, but dry, and it has a mild astringency that is more prevalent near the finish. A rich but smooth cider with a lot of depth, and on par for Duxbury portfolio of offerings.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – East Street – Landmark Dry
More Sour – Steel Town – Salvaje (Pet Nat)
More Dry – West Avenue – Frequin Rouge
More Crisp – Hoity Toity Cellars – 283 Cider

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Heeman’s – Dry Empire

Cider Profile:

Name: Heeman’s – Dry Empire
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Heeman’s Cider
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Thorndale, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: heeman.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Heeman’s retail and online store
Flavour: Empire Apple
Colour:  Transparent pale-golden yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright and slightly dry apples with some tannic elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite followed by slightly tangy/tart and tannic apples that are bright and punchy. Balanced but tantalizing acidity.
After Taste: Becomes slightly drier and a little earthy in the long lasting aftertaste. Cleans out of the mouth well.
On ice: Slightly thinner, but no real flavour change.

Additional Notes:  Heeman’s Dry Empire is a single varietal that really captures how crisp and clean an Empire Apple can be. It’s bright and uplifting with some tannic elements. Clean all the way though with a somewhat long aftertaste. Not many fermentation notes here, as such it is very crushable. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet
More Sour – Revel – Time and Place
More Dry – Kings Mill – Russet Heritage Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Apple

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No Boats on Sunday – Peach

Cider Profile:

Name: No Boats on Sunday – Peach
Sampled May 2021

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 44g/l

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Shale Ridge – Pear Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Pear Apple
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Carlisle – Chapel on the Twelve

Cider Profile:

Name: Carlisle – Chapel on the Twelve
Sampled April 2021

Brand:  Carlisle Cider Company
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Carlisle, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: carlisleciderco.com
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Carlisle online + retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent marigold
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright, baked apple. Molasses and brown sugar notes. Minerality.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Quick earthiness and bitter notes. Unique mineral notes. Baked apple with peel notes. Grittiness. Spruce/foliage undertones.
After Taste: Apple becomes more peel and caramelized. Pepper and wood notes. Semi-sweet finish some molasses hints.
On ice: Slight reduction in carbonation and flavour but overall very similar to off ice.

Additional Notes:  Carlisle Cider Co’s Chapel on the Twelve is a unique cider that stands out in a large Ontario cider industry with different flavour notes that appear throughout the journey. You get a baked apple flavour that is somewhat caramelized in nature, with earthiness, wood/forest like notes and some soft pungency. There are also unique mineral notes that add depth and intrigue. A rustic, almost ‘backwoods’-tasting offering that is very rudimentary in taste and experience.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Apple Cider
More Sour – Revel – Time and Place
More Dry – Kings Mill – Russet Heritage
More Crisp – Hoity Toity Cellars – 283 Cider

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Duntroon – Two Parish Perry

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Two Parish Perry
Sampled April 2021

Brand:  Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Perry – Dry
Location of Brewing: Duntroon, ON
ABV: 6.6%
Website Link: duntrooncyderhouse.com
Ingredients: N/A 
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Duntroon Bottle Shop and Retail Store
Flavour: Pear
Colour: Hazy, light yellow
Carbonation: Fine, infrequently-streaming bubbles.   


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Acetic and dry, but semi-sweet pear. Slightly earthy
Initial Taste: Light bite. Smooth but dry pear. Then it moves into a quick build of sour and bright pears that are very acetic. Strong pear dominate.
After Taste: Finishes slightly dry, with a sweeter pear that it starts and has a lot of peel notes.  Somewhat long lingering, but is cleaner than it starts.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and flavour.

Additional Notes:  The Two Parish Pear by Duntroon Cyder House is a uniquely bright and punchy pear that is very sour and acetic.  More elements than many perrys we’ve had and it has a dry peel finish.  A lot of intensity in the first few sips but it mellows as you consume the bottle. Becomes slightly sweater the more you drink.  A lot of nose as well in this very element driven cider. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Pear Flavoured Cider
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – Fieldbird – 2018 Perry Sur Lie
More Crisp – Ardiel – Victoria Pear Cider

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West Avenue – Honey Monster

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Honey Monster
Sampled April 2021

Brand:  West Avenue Cider House
Type: Apple – Cyser
Location of Brewing: Freelton, ON
ABV: 9.5%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: West Avenue Retail + online store
Flavour: Apple + honey
Colour:  Transparent sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

 Smell: Strong aroma. Pungent honey and tannic apple. Some acidity and sourness.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick earthy, pungent honey that is rustic and aged. Barrel oak notes. Tannic but bright apples. Astringency.
After Taste: As harsher elements weaken, honey becomes smoother. Funk notes. Dry, dank finish.
On ice: Becomes thinner and harsher elements weakened. More apple forward.

Additional Notes:  West Avenue’s Honey Monster is a bold cider that doesn’t hold back on the natural flavours from fermenting honey and cider together. A very rustic and aged tasting offering, the cider really shines in the initial moments, with a pungent/earthy/natural honey taste that has notes of oak and barreling, with some harsher astringency. The honey becomes smoother in the aftertaste, being bright but also very dry overall. Apples are also bright but decently tannic. A large departure from other honey cysers/ciders available in Ontario. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Niagara Cider – Beekeepers Botanical
More Sour – Slabtown – Honey Habanero 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Ernest – Original Dry Cider

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Steel Town – Vay Kay

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Vay Kay
Sampled April 2021

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Brickworks – Lime Margarita

Cider Profile:

Name: Brickworks – Lime Margarita Cider
Sampled April 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Collective Arts – Blood Orange & Cranberry

Cider Profile:

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

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 7g/L

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Slabtown – Honey Habanero

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Honey Habanero
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Niagara – Peach Chardonnay

Cider Profile:

Name:  Niagara – Peach Chardonnay
Sampled April 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Kings Mill – Jalapeño

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Jalapeño
Sampled April 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Crimson Cider – Cranberry Sage

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson Cider – Cranberry Sage
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Windswept – Northern Spy (2018)

Cider Profile:

Name: Windswept Orchard Cider – Northern Spy (2018)
Sampled April 2021

Brand: Windswept Orchard Cider
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Meaford, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: windsweptcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Windswept retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent rustic orange
Carbonation: Large, frequently streaming with some foam.
Heavily carbonated. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet pulpy and thick apples (ice cider-like aspects).
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation, Sweet, pulpy and thick apples that have some rustic and slightly earthy elements. Caramelized and bright apple.
After Taste: Somewhat clean finish, slightly less bright and sweet.  Finishes drier with a lot of peel notes. Some trub in the bottom.
On ice: Less sweet and bright, similar carbonation levels. More fermentation notes.

Additional Notes: The Northern Spy (2018) by Windswept Orchard Cider is a thick, caramelized apple-focused wild pet-nat cider.  Slightly rustic, with a lot of flavour – has a bunch of ice-cider elements without the astringency.  A lot of carbonation and tingle.  For us, this one gets better at time as it ages in the bottle (bottle conditioned as well).  A bit of trub, but be mindful of shaking it before opening as there is a chance of a foam-over.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Original Apple Cider
More Sour – West Avenue – Legend of the Fall
More Dry – FieldBird – Northern Spy (2017)
More Crisp – Farmgate – North Road

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FieldBird – Sparkling Sur Lie Perry (2018)

Cider Profile:

Name: FieldBird – Sparkling Sur Lie Perry (2018)
Sampled March 2021

Brand: FieldBird Cider   
Type: Perry – Dry
Location of Brewing: Bloomfield, ON
ABV: 9.5%
Website Link: fieldbirdcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: FieldBird Retail and Online Store
Flavour: Pear
Colour: Hazy straw-yellow
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles.  Trub noticeable


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Cellared, punchy fermentation with some astringency.  Mild sulphur notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation and acidity, Charred yet semi-creamy pear with smoke and earthy notes. Smooth with a heavier mouthfeel
After Taste: Becomes smokier and with some buttery notes. Astringency reduced as does earthy notes – leaving it slightly cleaner overall. 
On ice: Carbonation reduced, elements overall weakened.

Additional Notes:  The 2018 Sparkling Perry by FieldBird Cider is a Sur Lie offering (meaning kept in contact with the dead yeast cells and are not racked or otherwise filtered).  It’s thick, smoky and starts off astringent and acidic.  Those elements reduce leaving a buttery finish that is cleaner. Not a lot of pear, but a lot of fermentation characteristics. If you’re expecting traditional “fruit” flavours, you will be surprised with the focus being almost entirely on other elements instead.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Pear Flavoured Cider
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Beaver Valley – Pear Cider

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Clafeld – Russet Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Clafeld – Russet
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Clafeld Cider House 
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 8.5%
Website Link: waupooswinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 5g/L

Size(s) available: 500ml & 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Clafeld Retail or Waupoos Winery
Online Store

Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent light golden yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright and clean apple. Semi sweet smelling with some smokiness.  Juicy.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Bitter sharp and bright Russet apple. Clean to start but gets smokier. A lot of alcoholic and tannic peel notes. 
After Taste: Becomes less apple focused in the aftertaste.  Slightly drier. Semi-clean finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation, less apple.

Additional Notes:  Part of the single varietal series put out by Clafeld Cider House, the Russet is a bright, bitter sharp offering that has a slight smokiness to it (as is somewhat common with single varietals from the Russet).  Grippingly tannic (slightly sour with peel elements), it’s still a little smoother and easier to consume than other russet offerings we’ve enjoyed. Balanced and apple forward, though it still tastes rather alcoholic at 8.5%.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Windswept – Crimson Crisp (2017)
More Sour – Farmgate – Wild Child
More Dry – Loch Mor – Golden Russet
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Cider

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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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Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose 2019
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Two Blokes – Golden Mile

Cider Profile:

Name: Two Blokes Cider – Golden Mile (Golden Russet)
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Two Blokes Cider
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Port Perry, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: twoblokes.ca
Ingredients: Cider, honey, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Two Blokes Online and Retail Shop
Flavour: Golden Russet
Colour:  Transparent, light-golden yellow.
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Pulpy, semi-acidic and tart apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Gritty, semi-sweet, pulpy apples with some bitter notes.  Very crisp with some nutty, honey and pear hints. A forward but balanced acidity.
After Taste: Becomes slightly drier as time passes with a long lingering aftertaste. More peel notes in the aftertaste. Honey additives become more obvious.
On ice: Watered down and less sweet.

Additional Notes: The Golden Mile by Two Blokes Cider Is an unfiltered single-varietal Golden Russet offering. It is dry, nutty and very crisp.  With a lot of peel notes, it’s got some pear-like elements and is long lasting.  A lot of flavour overall, though watered-down on ice.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet
More Sour – West Avenue –Spontaneity
More Dry – Windswept – Cyser
More Crisp – East Street – Landmark Dry

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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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