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Ernest – Spiced Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Spiced Cherry
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Ernest Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mulled Cherry
Location of Brewing: Bond Head, ON
ABV: 8%
Website Link: ernestcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Limited – Ernest online store
Flavour: Cherry and spices
Colour:  Cloudy rusty red with brown particles
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Heavy cellaring notes, with some astringency. Gritty, dry cherry, Mild spices.
Initial Taste: Light bite with some quick, heavier astringency. Rustic & tart medium apple base. Aged dry cherries. Earthy, wood notes are primary over other elements.
After Taste: Apples diminish with cherries becoming slightly more forward. Mild spicing comes through that is cardamom focused. Woody barrel notes linger. Light smooth bourbon notes emerge.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Flavours are warmer, less harsh elements overall.

Additional Notes:  Ernest’s Spiced Cherry is not the cider we were expecting – a) because it’s far from Ernest’s other offerings and b) it’s very driven by the barreling process and not as much cherry, apple or spicing as you may anticipate. Aged in bourbon barrels for 6 months, you get a bit of the spirit astringency up front, with some smooth bourbon notes near the finish. The apple that is there is dry and rustic, with the cherries coming through near the finish, but are subtle and more diluted tasting than you may anticipate. Mild spicing from cardamon comes through. You get a lot of wood flavours from the barreling as well, so this would appeal to barrel-aging fans and dry cider fans alike in particular.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 4
Fruity – 2

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate
More Sour – Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry

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Farmgate – Mulled

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate – Mulled
Sampled February 2021

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Two Blokes – Wassail

Cider Profile:

Name: Two Blokes – Wassail
Sampled January 2021

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Slabtown – Cider House Rules

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Cider House Rules
Sampled January 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Bulwark – Winter

Cider Profile:

Name: Bulwark – Winter
Sampled October 2020

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

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



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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KW Craft – Chai Spiced Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: KW Craft – Chai Spiced Cider
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  KW Craft Cider
Type: Apple – Mulled
Location of Brewing: Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
ABV: 6.7%
Website Link: kwcraftcider.com
Ingredients: Freshly pressed Ontario apples, cane sugar, champagne yeast,
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: 2020 Holiday Package @ LCBO + KW Craft Online Website
Flavour: Chai
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Large, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Light, bittersharp apples. Roasted mulled chai spices.
Initial Taste: Light bite from spicing and carbonation. Clean, bright, crisp apples. Warming chai spices, in particular ginger and allspice.
After Taste: Apples start to dissipate and chai becomes more forward, and smoother. Light caramel hints. Spices linger awhile but is clean in the palate.
On ice: Carbonation reduced. Spices reduced + less ‘heat’.

Additional Notes:  KW Craft’s Chai Spiced is a delightfully clean, mulled cider featuring chai spices. A rather lighter bodied cider, the spices are warming and present throughout but not overpowering nor gritty. The apple base is crisp and slightly acidic and it works well in harmony with the spices. Great for cooler weather. Captures the unique chai spices well, defines itself against other mulled cider offerings as a result.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Spiced Apple
More Sour – County – Harvest Spice
More Dry – 401 – Apple Pie Cider
More Crisp – 

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County – Harvest Spice

Cider Profile:

Name: County Cider – Harvest Spice
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  County Cider Co
Type: Flavoured – Mulled
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: countycider.com
Ingredients: Cider and natural flavours. Sulphites
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottles)
Availability: Seasonal and limited – County Online + retail stores
Flavour: Mulled
Colour:  Transparent, golden yellow
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Brown sugar, cinnamon and clove amongst bright, sweet apples.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quickly brown sugar and spice forward, in particular clove and anise. Creamy dessert apples.
After Taste: Apple notes become more caramelized in nature. Brown sugar lingers while the cinnamon starts to shine. Slightly sweeter finish. Honey and nutty hints.
On ice: Less spice pungency. Slightly smoother.

Additional Notes:  The Harvest Spice by County Cider doesn’t skimp on the spicing and would appeal to most mulled drink fans, but still remains light and smooth to consume. Very clove, star anise and cinnamon focused, the spices are natural, even a touch pungent/earthy at times. The drink is not as sweet as one would expect it to be based on other Fall-spiced drinks. Brown sugar notes are present from start to finish to add a unique layer. Apple flavours are bright and delicate, having familiar County base cider notes. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Spiced Apple
More Sour – Ernest – Apple Strudel
More Dry – Heartwood – Wassail
More Crisp – 401 – Apple Pie Cider

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Ernest – Apple Strudel

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Apple Strudel
Sampled November 2019

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
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