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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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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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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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Revel – Mithras

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – Mithras
Sampled April 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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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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Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Apple – Dry
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 Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent, rustic yellow/orange
Carbonation: Large on glass,
small infrequently streaming bubbles 



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bittersweet apples. Hint of crab and tannic elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation, followed by strong, acidic, tannic and sour apples. Some earthy elements, pretty dry but still has a natural sweeter, slightly thicker-than-average cider base.
After Taste: Clears out quite quickly. Leaving just a dry mouth feel. Not much residual apple. 
On ice: Less apple forward, slightly less sweet.

Additional Notes:  The Bittersweet Symphony by Duntroon Cyder House is a unique, Ontario fusion take on combining elements from French and tannic, dry English cider styles. It’s got a strong acidic and tannic start, that quickly transitions to some earthy but sweet elements.  Somewhat thick, with a very short aftertaste leaving only a dry finish.  A lot going on in a short while, and defies what a typical dry cider is with the sweet elements still present.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Hounds of Erie – Best in Show
More Sour – West Ave – Spontaneity
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Hard Way – Renegade

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West Avenue – Spontaneity

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Spontaneity
Sampled February 2021

Brand: West Avenue Cider House
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Flamborough, ON
ABV: 7.8%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: West Avenue Online and Retail Store 
Flavour: Crab apple
Colour: Translucent, orange-yellow
Carbonation: Small, infrequently-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Tannic crab apple focused with some earthy notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Starts with a bright apple that quickly is overtaken by a strong sour and pungent wild tasting crab apple. Rather funky and earthy.
After Taste: Both sweet and crab apple notes dissipates, leaving more funky, earthy and almost grass-like elements. Some fermentation notes and lemon-like notes linger.
On ice: A little softer. Less forcefulness but similar flavour profile.

Additional Notes:  The Spontaneity by West Avenue Cider House has three distinct phases: 1) a quick, bright apple that is dramatically taken over by 2) a sour and tangy wild crab apple taste that is punchy and puckering (we winced). As the apple dissipates, it leaves 3) more funky and earthy fermentation elements, with hints of citrus like lemon.  A very funky sour and wild flavour. Not a beginner cider, something to progressively work towards in our opinion (worth the work though!).

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Two Blokes – Lost Orchard (2019)
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)

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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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Collective Arts – Blackberry & Peach

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Blackberry & Peach
Sampled January 2021

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Collective Arts – Hurricane Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Hurricane Cider
Sampled January 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Bulwark – Sour Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: Bulwark – Sour Cherry
Sampled October 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Revel – Maribelle (2020)

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – Maribelle (2020)
Sampled December 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Revel – Sonata

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – Sonata
Sampled October 2020

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

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Revel Online Store + Retail Store
Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Cloudy vibrant red
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Farmhouse apple with some tart cherry.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Quickly tart, somewhat puckering bold cherry flavour that is slightly candied. Farmhouse forward with some mild acetic notes.
After Taste: Cherry remains and becomes more maraschino-like. Creamy, green apple-esque notes make a brief appearance. Gritty, slightly tart finish. Lingers awhile, including in the throat.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Smoother mouthfeel and elements.

Additional Notes:  A unique take on a tart cherry cider, the Sonata from Revel is sour and funky. This cider doesn’t have a lot of traditional apple taste, it’s focused more on the cherry and fermentation process resulting in something a little different.  With some mild candied, maraschino-like flavours, it helps to balance the bold tart cherry flavours and other farmhouse elements. Imagine a fermented cherry jolly ranger and you’re close for this.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – West Avenue – Cherriosity
More Sour – 
More Dry – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
More Crisp – Collective Arts – Circling the Sun

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Steel Town – Session Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Session Cider
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Steel Town Cider Co
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.9%
Website Link: steeltowncider.com
Ingredients: Pressed apples, yeast, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Better beverage bars
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Hazy sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Funky, sour, pungent. Tannic apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quickly acidic. Punchy and funky apple notes. Some mild bitter undertones.
After Taste: Apples become smoother, somewhat creamy. Acidity noticeably diminishes. Buttery note to finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and acidity. Less forward elements.

Additional Notes:  The Session Cider by Steel Town is a noticeably different flagship cider than many Ontario Cideries offer as theirs. Sharing many elements with Spanish sidras, it is acidic, funky and punchy, with a bit of pungency (but don’t let that scare you, it adds a brilliant depth). One unique thing is the clean buttery flavour that emerges at the finish that lingers awhile. A satisfying dry cider. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 4
Crisp – 3
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Fielding – Dry Craft Cider
More Sour – County – Elderflower Sour
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Duxbury – Heritage 1650

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Farmgate – Wild Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate – Wild Apple
Sampled September 2020

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

Size(s) available: 500ml (Bottle)
Availability: Farmgate online store (local delivery)
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Cloudy, pale straw yellow
Carbonation: Mixed-size, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Earthy and pulpy apple with farmhouse funk.
Initial Taste:  Strong bite. Quickly acidic and funky apple with bitter-sharp apples. Tartness. Lemon and mild wood notes. Farmhouse undertones.
After Taste: Once the carbonation reduces, acidity drops and more apple flavours become present. Smoother mouthfeel with bright apple notes emerging.  Not overly long lingering. 
On ice: Very minimal change. A touch less acidic.

Additional Notes:  The Farmgate Wild Apple is funky and acidic, but not overpowering.  A mix of bitter-sharp apples with a lot of tannic elements in this full-bodied cider.  Mostly dry, and pretty apple forward.  A lot of flavour and pop, with some citric notes. Has both sophistication and wild farmhouse elements. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Crimson Cider – Crimson Crisp
More Sour – Steeltown – Northman Sour
More Dry – Fieldbird – Fledgings (Sur Lie)
More Crisp – Spy Cider – Never Say Never

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Slabtown – Legendary Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
Sampled October 2020

Brand: Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 5.8%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown Retail Store
Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Translucent, ruby-red
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Dry and tart cherry. Some sour apple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity, strong tart Montmorency Cherry-like notes with some sweet apple.
After Taste: Apple reduces. Cherry becomes drier and more tart, somewhat syrupy. Extremely long lasting.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and slight flavour. Thinner mouth feel but overall still very strong. 

Additional Notes:  The Legendary Cherry by Slabtown is a bold, dry cherry offering. Very tart and thick, it has a stronger cherry flavour than many others in the Ontario market. More cherry juice than apple based, it is not a traditional cider. Major cherry jolly rancher vibes. Depth of some red wine varieties.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Bonnieheath – Folkin’ Hard Cherry Bomb
More Sour – 
More Dry – Banjo – Rouge Cider
More Crisp – West Ave – Cherriosity

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Slabtown – Mint Cucumber

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Mint Cucumber
Sampled August 2020

Brand:  Slabtown Cider Co
Type: Flavoured – Mint and Cucumber
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link:  Slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Seasonal – Slabtown Retail Store
Flavour: Mint and Cucumber
Colour:  Transparent yellow/green hue
Carbonation: Large infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Very cucumber forward. Green apple-like notes. Hint of mint.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quick green, tart apple notes. Bold authentic cucumber taste takes over very quickly.
After Taste: Cucumber remains the same with the mint finally emerging. Crisp, tangy spearmint lingers awhile. Becomes cooling, and is refreshing.
On ice: Some tang reduced but minimal flavour disruption.

Additional Notes:  The Mint Cucumber by Slabtown is a boldly flavoured cider that has a very accurate cucumber taste that doesn’t shy away from the vegetal or earthy aspects of the produce. The mint isn’t initially noticeable but it comes out strong near the end, a spearmint-like flavour, and is rather cooling for the palate. The apple base seems to have tart green apple notes in it. Not a sweet cider but not too dry either.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Impeachmint
More Sour – Crimson Cider – Mint to Be
More Dry – Kings Mill – Ontario Mule
More Crisp – Brickworks – Mint and Basil

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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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Graft – Field and Flowers

Cider Profile:

Name:   Graft – Fields & Flowers
Sampled October 2019

Brand: Graft Cider
Type:
Apple – Sour
Location of Brewing: Newburgh, NY
ABV:
6.9%
Website Link:
graftcidery.com
Ingredients:  
Rose hips, hibiscus, rooibos, sea salt
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 12 oz
Availability:
New York Stores
Flavour:
Rosé
Colour: Cloudy, murky brown/yellow
Carbonation:
Infrequent, small streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Very salty with medium floral notes. Some creamy, sour and semi-sweet apple notes.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from acidity and carbonation. Quickly salty and rough on the tongue. Creamy dessert and heritage apple notes.
After Taste: Saltiness continues and lingers, being slightly brine-like. Rose and general floral flavours come through. Some passion fruit and lime flavours. Ends semi-dry with a film from the salt.
On ice: Reduced carbonation – including bite. Becomes watered down, much less salty.

Additional Notes: Graft’s Gose Rosé cider does not lie about being a salty, funky cider that delivers on the sour and the fruit notes as promised on the can. Full-bodied, it may not be for those who don’t like gose beers and/or margaritas. With a creamy apple base, it has many intricate layers of herbal, floral and fruit flavours. Not your standard infused cider by most definitions.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Somersby – Rosé

More Sour – 
More Dry – Strongbow – Rosé Apple
More Crisp – Angry Orchard – Rosé

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Muskoka – Cliff Jump Cranberry

Cider Profile:

Name:   Muskoka Lakes – Cliff Jump Cranberry
Sampled February 2020

Brand: Muskoka Lakes Farm and Winery
Type:
Flavoured – Cranberry
Location of Brewing: Bala, ON
ABV:
5.6%
Website Link:
muskokalakescider.ca
Ingredients:
Cider, cranberry juice
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 53g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (can)
Availability:
LCBO and Muskoka Lakes Retail Store
Flavour:
Cranberry
Colour:
Ruby red
Carbonation:
Small, very frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Very musty and earthy. Medium tart cranberry.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick acidity and sourness from cranberries.
After Taste: Cranberry flavour continues strongly but apples make a minor appearance. Ends on a slightly sweeter but mainly tart cranberry juice flavour. Leaves a residue in the mouth.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Slightly diminished acidity, tartness and flavour.

Additional Notes: Muskoka Lake’s Cliff Jump Cranberry is indeed a very strong cranberry influenced cider – dominating from start to finish – with a minor apple taste appearance near the end. Very tart, sour and acidic, this would only be recommended for true cranberry juice fans. With an earthiness to it, it is a very natural fruit flavour. Drink on ice for a much smoother experience. This is an offering right from the heart of cranberry country in Ontario so you may get transported to the serene Muskokas in thought while you drink this.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Cranberry Apple 
More Sour – 401 Cider – Cranberry Cosmo
More Dry – Heartwood Cidery – Currant Affair
More Crisp – Pommies – Cranberry

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Farmgate – Founders Reserve

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate Cider – Founders’ Reserve
Sampled February 2020

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability:
Direct from Farmgate Website and Ottawa Farmers Markets (Lansdowne or Carp)
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Mostly translucent. A rustic golden yellow.
Carbonation:
Large bubbles, semi-streaming.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Semi-strong aroma. Pretty sweet, a slightly earthy and caramelized apple.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Starts off semi-sweet and quickly turns to a Normandy-like rustic apple blend  with the thickness of a standard Normandy cidre.  Apples similar to a semi-juicy crab-apple.
After Taste: Becomes tarter and slightly sour. Finishes very acidic and dry at the end. Long lingering flavour.
On ice: Thinner but more acidic and puckering. Less carbonated.

Additional Notes:  The Farmgate Cider – Founders’ Reserve is similar to a Normandy cider from Europe, but with more acidity.  It’s pretty sour and full flavoured, almost tastes like you’re eating dry crab-apple but that is juicer than the apple itself. Long lingering, and definitely from an older orchard and aged trees compared to most others in Ontario.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Windswept – Crimson Crisp
More Sour – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Dry – Settlers Cider – Golden Russet 
More Crisp – Niagara Cider – #1 Dry Apple Cider

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Brickworks – The Burgundy Effect

Cider Profile:

Name:   Brickworks Cider – The Burgundy Effect
Sampled November 2019

Brand: Brickworks Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Black Currant
Location of Brewing:
Toronto, ON
ABV:
5.0%
Website Link:
theciderhouse.ca
Ingredients:
Apple juice, sugars (from apple juice), black currant puree, carbon dioxide, yeast
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:16 g/L

Size(s) available: 473 mL (cans)
Availability:
LCBO (2019)
Flavour:
Black Currant
Colour:
Deep violet and burgundy
Carbonation:
Small, lots of streaming bubbles. Less on ice.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet and creamy dark berries.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity.  Slightly tangy apple and black currant are evenly balanced to start.
After Taste: Both black current and apple sour elements become more prevalent in the long lasting aftertaste.  Quite tangy and a little syrupy. Lots of black currant flavour without the bitterness you can get with eating the fruit raw.
On ice: Less carbonation and less tangy.

Additional Notes: The second in the Ciderhouse Series (First was Mint & Basil), the Brickworks Ciderworks “The Burgundy Effect” is a full bodied cider, which you could mistake for a black current juice cocktail.  A lot of elements, quite tangy and carbonated, it’s not a beginners drink, and not very apple forward overall.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2
Sour – 4
Crisp – 2.5
Dry – 3
Fruity – 5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Pinot Noir
More Sour – 401 – Black Currant
More Dry – Heartwood – Currant Affair
More Crisp – West Ave – Cherriosity

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Clafeld – Rose Hip

Cider Profile:

Name:   Clafeld – Rose Hip
Sampled June 2018 (Updated May 2021)

Brand: Clafeld Fruit Winery and Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Rose Hip
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 8%
Website Link: clafeldciderhouse.com
Ingredients: Fermented apple, grape and cranberry juice, sugar, dried rosehips, dried rose petals, sulphites, potassium sorbate.
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (cans)
Availability:
Retail store and online store
Flavour:
Rose Hip
Colour:
Rosé pink/red.
Carbonation:
Large, non-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, dry apple with hints of rosé wine. Also floral and musty in nature.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Slightly puckering sour with strong floral flavours. Dry apple base.
After Taste: Remains slightly sour and astringent. Rose flavour becomes more defined and stronger. Dry finish with many rosé wine features.
On ice: Carbonation and acidity slightly reduced. Rose flavour remains the same.

Additional Notes: Clafeld’s Rosehip Cider is a good rosé wine alternative. This cider features a strong bouquet of floral flavours – with rose notes being predominant but overall quite a light and smooth cider. A dry cider, it is a mature offering that would also appeal to wine drinkers.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 3.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 4
Fruity – 3

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Rosé Cider
More Sour – Pommies Cranberry Cider
More Dry – Spirit Tree – Pear with Lavender Cider
More Crisp – Collective Arts – Local Press

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401 Cider Company – Apple Pie Cider

Cider Profile:

Name:  401 Brewery – Apple Pie Cider
Sampled April 2018

Brand: 401 Cider Brewery
Type:
Flavoured – Spiced
Location of Brewing:
Colborne, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link:
401cidercompany.com
Ingredients:
Fermented apple juice, mulling spices, brown sugar, caramel colour, sulphites, potassium sorbate
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability:
At retail store and online
Flavour:
Apple and spices
Colour:
Golden rusty brown
Carbonation:
Medium, semi-frequently streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma of sweet apples and baking spices. Caramel notes
Initial Taste: Light bite from slight acidity and apple elements. Quick cinnamon and baking spice flavours come out strongly. Vanilla, crust-like flavours also there.
After Taste: All initial flavours continue with sweet apple flavours become more obvious. Long lingering. Very smooth and sweet finish.
On ice: Carbonation is cut. Spices are reduced – including the heat from the spices. Creamy apple flavours remain.

Additional Notes: 401’s Apple Pie Cider is spot on to the dessert it’s named after. A very accurate medley of flavours, it starts as more of the vanilla-like crust flavours, moving towards more of the apple pie filling flavours as it progresses. With strong baking spices (especially cinnamon), this is a perfect dessert drink for any cider fan. Smooth, creamy and rich, it is well-balanced overall.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Blood Orange Cider
More Sour – Thornbury Spiced Apple Cider
More Dry – Spirit Tree Pumpkin Cider
More Crisp – Collective Arts Pear Saison Cider

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Forbidden Artisanal Cider

Cider Profile:

Name:  Forbidden Artisanal Cider
Sampled August 2016

Brand: Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Annan, Ontario
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: coffinridge.ca/
Ingredients: Fermented apple juice, sugar, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 31 g/LSize(s) available: 473mL (cans)
Availability: All year – LCBO, select bars, online, retail shop
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Pale golden yellow
Carbonation: Mild carbonation
 forbidden400

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong acidic smell with earthy and musty tones. Apple peel notes.
Initial Taste: Tart and sour. Very dry and bitter. Astringent, musty and earthy in flavour.
After Taste: Long-lingering bitter notes. Lemon peel and raw citrus flavour notes and feel with a semi-dry finish
On ice: Carbonation is weaker and watered-down. Milder tasting on ice – sweet flavours develop and it makes the beverage smoother to consume.

Additional Notes: Forbidden is an apple cider that features the flavours of the production and fermentation processes more than the apples it is made with – as the cider is quite astringent, bitter, musty and earthy. A very old-world and primitive tasting semi-dry style cider.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –Ernest Dry Cider
More Sour –
More Dry – KW Craft Cider
More Crisp – 

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