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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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Steel Town – Barrique

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Barrique
Sampled November 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Georgian Hills – Bartlett (2014)

Cider Profile:

Name: Georgian Hills – Frozen to the Core Bartlett (2014)
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Georgian Hills Vineyards
Type: Iced – Perry
Location of Brewing: The Blue Mountains, ON
ABV: 9.6%
Website Link: georgianhillsvineyards.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Georgian Hills Vineyards retail
and online store
Flavour: Pear
Colour:  Transparent golden orange
Carbonation: Still


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Syrupy and sweet pear.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from astringency. Thick mouthfeel with some quick, sharp alcohol notes. Bitter sweet, caramelized pear.
After Taste: Becomes more pear-like and less sweet.  Does not linger overly long. Slight syrup aftertaste. Almond and smoky notes.
On ice: Thinner, and not as bitterly sweet but similar overall.

Additional Notes:  The Georgian Hills Bartlett from 2014 is sweet and very Bartlett pear focused fortified offering. Almost juicy at times with some mild minerality hints. Caramelized notes come about amongst a thicker mouthfeel that has almond and smoky undertones to it. A mild astringency in the base but overall smooth and it has a smooth silky mouthfeel. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ardiel – Victoria Pear 
More Sour – Kings Mill – Ice Cider
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Dry Pear
More Crisp – Loch Mor – Pommeau

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Revel – Prosthetic Conscience

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
Sampled October 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Howell Road – Blackberry Pear

Cider Profile:

Name: Howell Road – Blackberry Pear
Sampled January 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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West Avenue – Barrett Fuller’s Secret

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Barrett Fuller’s Secret
Sampled January 2021

Brand: West Avenue Cider House
Type: Apple – Barrel Aged
Location of Brewing: Flamborough, ON
ABV: 9%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability: West Ave Retail Store
Flavour: Apple + bourbon
Colour: Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Infrequently streaming bubbles 



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Heavy bourbon + astringency. Almond + pastry notes. Light bright apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation with some acidity. Heavy barrel-aging elements including wood/oak, astringency and a smooth but forceful bourbon. Mild heritage apples. 
After Taste: Becomes smoother as astringency weakens. Apples peak through more so. Ends very dry, with bourbon notes lingering. Earthy and wood hints remain.
On ice: Carbonation reduced, along with flavour and forcefulness. Smoother and cleaner.

Additional Notes: West Ave’s Barrett Fuller’s Secret is a force to be reckoned with – it has smooth but full bourbon barrel-aging flavour and presence. Heavy bourbon notes right from the start give you a punch of flavour and astringency that can seriously take the edge off. With mild to medium bright heritage apples, the apples act as a canvas for the spirit aging process elements to shine.  On ice, it makes a very large difference, being much less harsh but with also less flavour and initial intention. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Hank’s Spiced Cider 
More Sour – Loch Mor – Bootlegger (Whisky)
More Dry – Hard Way – Whisky Rebellion
More Crisp – Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider

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Beaver Valley – Dry Pear Cider

Cider Profile:

Name:  Beaver Valley Dry Pear Cider
Sampled: August 2020

Brand: Beaver Valley Winery Ltd.
Type: Perry – Dry
Location of Brewing: Kimberley, Ontario
ABV: 7.5%
Website Link: bvcider.ca/
Ingredients: Pears, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability: At Beaver Valley Retail Store + better beverage bars
Flavour: Pear
Colour: Pale yellow
Carbonation: Medium sized, semi-streaming bubbles


 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild earthy and musty pear aromas with some fleshy notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite but carbonation dissipates very quickly. Mild pear flavour with some bitter and earthy notes. Some lemon hints.
After Taste: Some fleshy Bartlett pear flavours. Mild smokiness. Unique cotton candy and tonic notes. Short aftertaste. Wine-like finish.
On ice: Not much change in flavour or carbonation. Taste becomes slightly diluted and more flat.

Additional Notes: The Beaver Valley Dry Pear is a simple, straightforward perry that has a lighter body and flavour profile. With a few different flavour notes detectable, it’s a little musty and earthy with a unique cotton candy note in there too. A mix between tonic spritzer and wine elements, would pair well with fish or chicken. Authentic pear flavour, and its not a sweet cider at all. Would appeal to fruit wine enthusiasts.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Pear
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Pear with Lavender
More Dry – Fieldbird – 2018 Sparkling Perry
More Crisp – Ardiel – Victoria Pear

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Links to Cocktails
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Fruktstereo Cider Revolution (2018)

Cider Profile:

Name:   Fruktstereo Cider Revolution (2018)
Sampled June 2020

Brand: Frukstereo
Type:
Apple and Pear – Sparkling
Location of
Brewing: Malmo, Sweden
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link:
fruktstereo.com
Ingredients
: Water, apple, pear, sulphites
Gluten Free
: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability:
Specialty – Better Beverage Bars
Flavour:
Apple & Pear
Colour:  
Hazy straw yellow
Carbonation:
Small, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Punchy, earthy and acetic.
Initial Taste: Strong bite from acidity and carbonation. Pungent apple and light pear notes.  Puckering to start, almost makes you wince. Acetic/vinegar.
After Taste: When carbonation dies, flavour remains almost unchanged.  Pulpy, muddled apples are very minimum. Acidity is the key element here.
On ice: Almost the same, mouth-feel is slightly more tonic-like.

Additional Notes:  The Fruktstereo Cider Revolution from Sweden is really a funk-stereo of flavours.  Very acetic, puckering and dry, it’s an aggressive cider that is not for the faint of heart.  One of the sourest ciders we’ve have, it would pair very well with food (as its not sessionable and food flavours might tame the elements). Very unfiltered so you’ll have to swirl the sediment well; and open with care and patience as it has a lot carbonation. The apple and pear notes are very muddled, funky and dank.

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

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

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Ardiel – Victoria Pear Cider

Cider Profile:

Name:   Ardiel – Victoria Pear Cider
Sampled October 2019

Brand: Ardiel Cider House
Type:
Perry – Dry
Location of Brewing:
Blue Mountains, Ontario
ABV:
6%
Website Link:
ardielciderhouse.ca
Ingredients:
Fermented pear juice, pear juice, sugar, sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 22 g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability:
LCBO (Fall 2019)
Flavour:
Pear
Colour:  
Pale, translucent straw-yellow
Carbonation:
Medium, infrequently streaming bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell:  Light aroma. Musty notes among fresh pear flavours.
Initial Taste: Light bite, some acidity. Natural pear flavour that is sweet but not surgery.
After Taste: Remains pear focused, becomes slightly bitter and astringent.  Lingers a long time with a dry, gritty finish.  Some woody and oak notes.
On ice: Less carbonation. Slightly less sweet and flavourful (minimal change)

Additional Notes:  This very traditional tasting Victoria Perry by Ardiel is a nice change from the sugary and candied commercially-available perrys.  It is not overly complex but offers some unique woody notes to a semi-crisp, semi-dry finish. Sweet but not sugary, very true to the fruit.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Strongbow – Dry Pear
More Sour – 401 – Pear Cider
More Dry – Lowrey Bros – Pear Cider
More Crisp – County – Pear Cider

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