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By in Best of 0

Our Top 5 Strawberry-Forward Ciders for Spring 2021

Strawberry season is a mood of its own, but always too short of a season overall. With June promising juicy berries, we thought to shine some light on our favourite strawberry-forward ciders!

Heritage Estate – Eden’s Apple Strawberry

We aren’t sure how Heritage Estate got a strawberry shortcake in a can, but this cider is a creamy and dreamy treat! With sweet strawberries and delightful creamy vanilla notes, its incredibly smooth and goes down a bit too quick. The apple notes are slightly crisp, but the strawberry is the true star here.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/heritage-estate-edens-apple-strawberry/

Buy it: LCBO & Heritage Estates Retail

Heeman’s – Berry Blush Cider

One sip of this and it will transport you to spring, no matter the season you are in! With a hint of tart raspberry, the Berry Blush is mostly a strawberry focused experience to us, with the fruit being very balanced and prominent throughout the flavour journey.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/heeman-berryblush/

Buy it: Heeman’s Retail Store

Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb

Kings Mill loves to use ingredients grown in their garden so the produce is always fresh and responsibly grown. This is again true with their Strawberry Rhubarb cider that is labeled as a ‘live’ cider so keep it cold to maintain it at its best before consuming. A very fun cider, its balanced, light and with creamy strawberries and a hint of tartness from the rhubarb. Summer in a glass? Yes, please!

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/kings-mill-strawberry-rhubarb/

Buy it: Kings Mill Retail Store

Reinhart’s – Strawberry Hibiscus

A ingredient that screams spring to us is hibiscus. The hibiscus is nicely paired with the strawberry here, with the sweet and the tangy elements being rather complimentary to one another. As well, the strawberries taste a bit muddled and thick, making this stand out from other offerings. Overall, Reinhart’s made a very approachable cider perfect for carefree sunny sipping.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/reinharts-strawberry-hibiscus/

Buy it: LCBO

Archibalds – Strawberry Lime

Archibald’s is bringing the strawberry juiciness with this dessert-focused cider! Great on its own or after a meal as a sweet treat, it delivers on the promised strawberry and lime titular flavours. The strawberries taste incredibly fresh like they were just picked and pressed today! The lime adds a nice tang at the finish to help define and add layers to the cider. A true treat for those with sweet teeth!

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/archibalds-strawberry-lime/

Buy it: Archibald’s Retail Store 

By in Best of 0

Our Top 5 Floral Infused Ciders for Spring 2021

Ah Spring… warming weather, cute animals and of course, the flowers are blooming all around! One of the more unique type of ingredients we’ve seen being added to ciders – especially lately – are flowers! We picked our top 5 floral infused ciders to celebrate the rebirth that Spring can bring.

Duntoon Cyder House – Sumac

Sumac is a very common flavouring ingredient in Middle Eastern food but it hasn’t really made it much to North America in food or cider yet. With Duntroon’s Sumac, you are introduced to this flavour and flowering plant in a thoughtful and brilliant manner. Very dry, it has a unique lemony forwardness to it, with touches of tannins and floral notes that intrigue and satisfy. Bonus points for the sumac originating on the Duntroon Estate as well.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/duntroon-sumac/

Buy it: https://my-site-102138-100343.square.site/product/sumac/207?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false

Grey & Gold – Wildflower

Made with organic chamomile, wild chamomile and other wildflowers foraged at the Grey & Gold estate, this is a very mellow and chilled cider – maybe one to drink right before bed to get the calming effects of chamomile! It’s a very smooth cider overall and the softest cider we’ve had from Grey & Gold so far. A great and unique offering!

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/grey-gold-wildflower/

Buy it: https://greyandgoldcider.com/products/

Clafeld – Rose Hip

One of the more original floral offerings here in Ontario, Clafeld’s Rose Hip has been a staple offering of theirs for a few years now. With a bouquet of rose and rose hips flavours, its a rather dry offering, as it is also has some wine infused into it as well. Its a sort of romantic cider if you ask us!

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/clafeld-rose-hip/

Buy it: https://www.waupooswinery.com/product/rose-hip/

Crimson – Lavender Buds

There is just something about lavender that can put you in a good mood. This is exactly what its like to drink the Lavender Buds by Crimson Cider. Made with locally sourced lavender, the Crimson team did not skimp out on this ingredient when they made this cider. Bold and unapologetic, you definitely have to be a lavender fan to enjoy this, but if you are, its going to become a mild obsession.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/crimson-cider-lavender-buds/

Buy it: https://www.crimsoncidercompany.com/shop-1

Thornbury – Blueberry Elderflower

This one has developed a bit of a cult following and we see why! A creamy blend of blueberries with a soft but natural elderflower taste make for easy springtime consumption. It recently made its return back to the LCBO after a bit of a hiatus so grab it quick if you see it!

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/thornbury-blueberry-elderflower-apple-cider/

Buy it: https://thornburycraft.com/shop-cider/

 

By in Best of 0

Our Top 5 Ciders for a Festive Cinco de Mayo 2021

Mexico is a wondrous country of great beauty and great people who are kind, friendly and with a good sense of humour. Cinco de Mayo is only one of their colourful celebrations every year and any observance of it must be respectful to the culture and country.

We rounded up our top 5 ciders we feel embrace commonly used Mexican ingredients well so you can enjoy a festive – and respectful – day.

Kings Mill – Jalapeño

Jalapeño peppers are commonly used in Mexican cooking and while they do add some spice to dishes, they are still more on the tame side. Kings Mill made a cider with jalapeño’s grown in their own garden, and the cider does not skimp on natural pepper flavour. With some spice, it still isn’t too overpowering so we feel most people could tolerate this cider.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/kings-mill-jalapeno/

Buy it: https://kingsmillcider.company.site/JALAPE%C3%91O-Carbonated-355mL-Six-Pack-p300752425

Hard Way – Loco Blanco

Naturally a list about Mexico wouldn’t be complete with mention of tequila! Hard Way Cider Co has a strong focus on barrel-aged ciders and many include aging in spirit barrels. Their tequila aged offering, Loco Blanco, is bone dry and has a considerable amount of pure tequila flavour to it. Its a strong one with a bunch of astringency from the tequila but its a very strong representation of the spirit itself.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/hardway-loco-blanco-dos/

Buy it: https://www.hardwaycider.com/collections/cider-1/products/cider-loco-blanco

Steel Town – Vay Kay

Steel Town also has a tequila barrel-aged offering called Vay Kay and its a tropical Caribbean escape in a can! With a strong tequila flavour and astringency that comes through in the aftertaste, you are pleasantly greeted with forceful pineapple, mango and coconut flavours to start. These fruit notes are very juicy and reminiscent of the agua fresca drinks beloved by Mexicans. There is also some lime and sea salt in this to give it a margarita flair.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/steel-town-vay-kay/

Buy it:  https://www.steeltowncider.com/

Slabtown – Honey Habanero

Another pepper commonly used in Mexican cuisine is the habanero, and it sure does deliver a lot more punch and spice than a jalapeño! Slabtown used this pepper in their cider and added some soothing honey to balance the elements out. Its a bit spicy but its more about the pepper flavour here. A fun treat that is very smooth and refreshing overall!

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/slabtown-honey-habanero/

Buy it: https://www.slabtowncider.com/store

Brickworks – Lime Margarita

Of course, many associate Cinco de Mayo and Mexico with the classic margarita and Brickworks has attempted to recreate the experience here with their Lime Margarita cider that can be found within their 2021 Summer Mixpack at the LCBO. This is a very crisp cider with a decent amount of tartness from the limes coming through. You also get a bit of cooling mint and of course the anticipated salt comes through in the finish and lingers a bit. It’s a light interpretation of the cocktail but overall very refreshing for a sunny day.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/brickworks-lime-margarita/

Buy it: https://www.lcbo.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/lcbo/brickworks-ciderhouse-mix-pack%09-19980#.YI23DGZKjAM

By in Best of 0

Spring 2021 LCBO Cider Releases to Look For

Spring always promises many new cider releases at the LCBO. Here are some of the most promising releases heading to shelves across Ontario soon (but you can buy most of these already from thier respective online + retail stores)

If there are two trends we see, peach and rosé ciders will once again rule the summer!

Ernest – Rosé Cider Spritzer

Via Ernestcider.com: We refer to this new cider as our ‘guiltless pleasure’. Our NEW Rosé Light Cider Spritzer is handcrafted with our dry cider, a splash of local cranberry and cherry juice, sparkling water and a kiss of Niagara Cab Franc Rosé wine with no added sugar or honey. This cider is perfect for anyone watching their sugar intake. We consider this a ‘bone dry’ cider as it has less than 5 g of sugar per litre (naturally derived from pure cranberry and tart cherry fruit juices). With only 4% alcohol per can, Ernest Rosé Light Cider Spritzer is sessionable, easy-drinking and very refreshing!

Buy it now: https://www.ernestcider.com/

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/ernest-rose-cider-spritzer/

Stock & Row – Slow & Low Dry Cider

Via stockandrow.com: Our flagship dry cider, made from 100% Ontario apples is crisp, fresh and sessionable! With only 5g of sugar per can, it’s as clean as they come. Orchard fruit and mineral flavours combine with brisk acidity for a purely refreshing every day drink.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/stock-row-slow-low/

Buy it now: https://stockandrow.com/

Seagrams – White Peach Cider

Via waterloobrewing.com: All-natural and 100% gluten-free, this lip-smacking cider tastes of sweet fuzzy peach, with a crisp, dry finish. May inspire visions of strolling through an orchard or lazing on a porch knowing you’re right where you’re supposed to be.

Buy it now: https://waterloobrewing.com/collections/all

No Boats on Sunday – Peach

via The Wine Shop: This juicy Peach flavoured cider is made with carefully selected apples sourced from southern Ontario Orchards. The refreshing mouthfeel has plenty of peach and sweet apple flavours. Enjoy Chilled.

Buy it now: https://www.thewineshops.com/

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/no-boats-on-sunday-peach/

KW Craft – Wild Cherry Cider

Via kwcraftcider.com: Our bold WILD CHERRY is made with premium fruit sourced from the renowned Niagara region of Ontario.  It pours a beautiful amber colour with a fresh fruity taste and crisp cherry finish.

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/kw-craft-wild-cherry/

Buy it now: https://kwcraftcider.com/

Collective Arts – Cranberry Blood Orange Cider

Via collectiveartsontario.com: The combination of tart and sweet combine beautifully in our new limited release cider. The nose is of fragrant candied blood orange with a slight apple twist. Tart cranberries shine on the palette, making the cider dry and refreshing.

Buy it now: https://collectiveartsontario.com/

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/collective-arts-blood-orange-cranberry/

Lost Craft – Dry Rosé Cider

Via lostcraft.ca: Our English inspired Apple Cider is made in small batches entirely from apples grown in Ontario . Our cider is tart with a subtle sweetness than blends for a refreshing honey crisp apple like finish. Our Apple Cider pairs well with creamy pastas, mild curries, and roasted meats.

Buy it now: https://lostcraft.ca/collections/beer-cider

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/lost-craft-dry-rose/

Liberty Village – Peach

Via Liberty Village PR: Liberty Village Cider is excited to announce their brand new flavour, Peach! The extra dry taste you love, now with a punch of Peach. Liberty Village Ciders have no sugar and are also crisp, refreshing, and local. Could you ask for more?! The Liberty Village Peach Cider is coming to the LCBO in May.

Duntroon Cider House – Empire Extra Dry Cyder

via duntrooncyderhouse.com: Empire is an all-natural extra dry cyder that is completely dry, light, clean and pleasantly refreshing. The cyder is polish filtered giving you light straw colour and light appley notes with a fine pétillante carbonation and smooth satisfying dry finish. The cyder is produced from our Empire heritage apples and aged for over 6 months to produce a balanced acidity for enjoyable freshness. This cyder is amazingly refreshing and clean and made for sharing and connecting you and yours with the natural beauty of our environment, earth, mind and body. 5.5% abv. 0 grams sugar, 1 gram carbs and 186 calories per 473ml can

Buy it now: duntrooncyderhouse.com

Our review: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/duntroon-empire-extra-dry/

By in Best of 0

The Cider Crate Top 5 New Ciders We Tried Winter 2021

We are starting a new thing here at The Cider Crate – we try dozens of new ciders every month, but want to start sharing our top 5 every season/3 months going forward. There are so many great ciders and cideries in Ontario and beyond so this is our way to given special recognition to those that really stood out to us.

  1. Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate
  2. Duntroon – Sumac 
  3. Slabtown – Cider House Rules
  4. Heeman’s – Berry Blush
  5. West Avenue – Spontaneity

Shale Ridge – Cherry Chocolate

Right in time for Valentines Day, Shale Ridge released a beautiful Cherry Chocolate Cider that is sure to make you feel very romantic! Chocolate may sound like a weird idea in cider, but trust us, it works well! It reminded us of the cherry-filled milk chocolates you get in mixed boxes of chocolates at holidays, with the cherry being very jammy and candied – with the creamy chocolate coming through at the finish.

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/shale-ridge-cherry-chocolate/

Buy it: Currently sold out

Duntroon – Sumac

Sumac is a flower that is well used in cooking – in particular in Middle Eastern Dishes – but hasn’t been used too much in cider thus far. In fact, this is the first cider we’ve had with sumac added. Being a very dry cider, it actually has a lot of lemony notes within from the sumac, as well of course being floral. Very zippy and peppy, its an intriguing shock to the senses and a strong deviation from ciders we’ve had before. A very unique and well executed cider.

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/duntroon-sumac/

Buy it: https://my-site-102138-100343.square.site/

Slabtown – Cider House Rules

Winter may be a challenging time of year for most, but one thing that helps us get through is a good mulled cider to warm the palate and the soul. Slabtown has created a magnificent spiced cider that is creamy and yet still with a satisfying mulled punch to it. To sum up this cider, is basically an apple pie in a glass as there are bright vanilla and crust notes we could detect in this. Very cinnamon forward and just a pure delight.

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/slabtown-cider-house-rules/ 

Buy it: Currently sold out

Heemans – Berry Blush

Continuing with our theme of pastries in a glass, the Berry Blush by Heeman’s gives us some serious strawberry shortcake vibes with enough tartness from the raspberries to give it a bit of an edge. It’s very smooth and sweet, but not sugary at all. Very refreshing, bright and uplifting – perfect for Spring!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/heeman-berryblush/

Buy it: https://store.heeman.ca/product/hard-cider-berry-blush/

West Avenue – Spontaneity

Made with crab-apples, West Avenue pulls out all of the punches for this bold and strong cider. Very sour, it doesn’t hold back – being gritty, tannic and very dry. Funky, pungent, and cellared tasting – just what fans of Spanish Sidras and heritage styles want to hear!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/west-avenue-spontaneity/

Buy it: https://www.westavenue.ca/store#!/Spontaneity-7-8-355ml/p/242621109/category=0

By in Best of, Comparisons, News 0

Top Dry Hopped Cider Picks for a Hoppy Easter 2021

While hops are mainly associated with beer, dry-hopped ciders are increasingly growing in popularity. When infused into cider, they typically add fruity-like notes, such as lemon, citrus, lychee and more – but can also be bitter, floral and more. Dry hopping works well for both sweet and dry ciders, and everything in between.

As Easter is right around the corner, and the Easter Bunny may be hopping into your backyard with goodies, its a great time to hop to a hopped cider for a refreshing experience!

The Cider Crate’s Top Hopped Ciders:

Duxbury – Tilted Barn

Duxbury Cider always delivers a refreshing cider experience, and their dry-hopped cider Titled Barn is no different. Made with locally grown hops, this cider runs on the dry side and is rustic, tannic and gripping for the senses. The hops are a bit gritty and bitter, but overall this cider is very smooth and easy to drink. Our strongest recommendation for a beer fan interested in trying a hopped cider.

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/duxbury-tilted-barn/

Buy it: https://www.theduxburyciderco.ca/product-page/tilted-barn-dry-hopped-cider

Peele Island – Hopping Apple Cider

Pelee Island Winery’s focus is first and foremost wine of course, but they make a very stellar cider as part of their regular lineup! The Hopping Apple is a sweeter offering, that is effervescent and bright. With a lot of unique notes presumably from the hops including bubble gum and lychee, it stands out in the field of hopped cider offerings in Ontario. Light and breezy, this has a wide appeal, especially to those who may not like hops as it doesn’t really taste like its hopped at all, but more so tropical and fun!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/pelee-island-hopping-apple/

Buy it:  https://www.peleeisland.com/product/hopping-apple-sparkling/

Loch Mór – Hopped

Loch Mór is known for making very traditionally-based, earth-oriented ciders, and this hopped offering does deviate a bit from their other offerings – coming across as more modern influenced – but it still has familiar elements, like a tannic heritage apple base. We found this Hopped Cider to be more on the floral side of things, with a hint of citrus notes. Very crisp, it has a lighter mouthfeel, meaning its easy to knock a few of these back!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/loch-mor-hopped/

Buy it: https://www.lochmorcider.com/product-page/hopped-500ml

Kings Mill – Hopped (Still)

Want something a bit stronger? Kings Mill has a 9% still offering that can make holiday gatherings with families a bit easier if needed! With floral notes, its a very apple forward offering that allows you to get a full flavoured experience without having the carbonation to distract (but you can also get a carbonated version of this!). Very smooth, we see this being paired well with food so consider it for your Easter Ham or Turkey!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/kings-mill-hopped-still/

Buy it: https://kingsmillcider.company.site/HOPPED-Still-750mL-p190125486

 

Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped

Who said that dry-hopped ciders couldn’t be flavoured with other fun stuff as well? Considering certain types of hops give off fruit notes, it pairs very well with added fruit juices. Coffin Ridge created a wonderful cider here, bursting with tropical fruit flavours, including orange, pineapple, mango and more. This cider does contain a decent amount of hops, so it is more bitter than the standard offerings, but it balances so well with the sweetness of the fruits inside. A full flavoured, fresh fruit-punch experience, it will make you think of the sunny Spring days ahead!

Tasting notes: https://thecidercrate.com/cider-type/coffin-ridge-tropical-hopped/

Buy it: https://www.coffinridge.ca/collections/cider/products/tropical-hopped

By in News 0

NW Cider Symposium March 16-18th

As we move into the 2nd full year of COVID-19 restrictions, many groups have reorganized to online learning.  The NW Cider Symposium for 2021 has done the same.

March 16-18, 2021

The Symposium is a virtual event to learn, grow, connect and celebrate our vibrant industry and will feature:

  • Educational workshops for orchardists, marketers, cidermakers, and executives covering the hottest topics for our region.
  • A trade show specifically for cidermakers with products, services, and partners to help grow your business.
  • Networking opportunities with the strong Pacific Northwest cider sector including British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
  • Affordable registration prices and a virtual location so your entire team can attend.
Learn more and register at https://www.nwcider.com/symposium-2021/.

Agenda

All times are Pacific!

March 16
9:00 AM – 9:20 AM Welcome & Opening Session
9:20 AM – 9:40 AM Round Table Discussion Groups
9:45 AM – 10:30 AM Workshop Sessions A
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM Trade show
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM Workshop Sessions B
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM Trade show
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM NW Cider Club Virtual Tasting

March 17
9:00 AM – 10:15 AM Keynote: Tom Oliver
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM Networking
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM Trade show
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM Workshop Sessions C
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM Trade show
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Cider Cocktails & Happy Hour

March 18
9:00 AM – 9:45 AM Collective Power and Progress: NWCA in 2021
9:45 AM – 10:30 AM Workshop Sessions D
10:30 AM – 12:00 AM Trade show
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Tours
12:00 PM – 12:15 PM Symposium Closing

Tickets are $250 and available via registration

By in Non-Alcoholic 0

Mayador – Sidra Asturiana [Non-Alcoholic]

Apple Drink Profile:

Name: Mayador – Sidra Asturiana (Non-Alcoholic)
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Mayador
Type: Apple Drink
Location of Brewing: Spain
ABV: Less than 0.5%
Website Link: mayador.com
Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Apple Juice 35%, Apple Vinegar, Sugar, Citric Acid,
Preservatives E-202, Potassium Sorbate, Antioxidant E-300 L, Ascorbic Acid, Colour E-163, Sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml Bottle
Availability: Dollarama Canada
Flavour: Apple & Berry (Rose)
Colour:  Translate Dark Pink/Peach with Metallic Hues
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium, sweet apple some floral notes
Initial Taste: light bite from carbonation, sweet apple with medium berry notes. Some tanginess upfront that dissipates
After Taste: Apple reduces leaving only a semi-long lingering sweet red-berry flavour with some stryp notes.  More apple vinegar notes as it warms up.
On ice: Reduced carbonation, less sweet

Additional Notes: This non-alcoholic offering called Mayador – Sidra Asturiana comes from Spain but is also sold in the dollar store chain in Canada.  For a 35% apple juice, it’s got a lot of elements and could pass as real apples, with an almost age to them. It’s quite flavourful, not as sweet as some actual ciders and is a nice offering for the price point in all honesty. 

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

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

Links to Other Stories
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

 

By in Best of, News 0

The Cider Crate – Best of 2020

Fortunately there were still some bests’ in 2020!  Here are our favs.

~Bethany and Barry

Top 5 Overall

  1. Cold Creek – Cuvée Madeline
  2. FieldBird – 2018 Perry Sur Lie
  3. Banjo – Rouge
  4. East Street – Harvest Botanical
  5. Farmgate – Mulled

Top 5 – Apple

  1. Cold Creek – Cuvée Madeline
  2. Banjo – Dueling Banjos
  3. Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider
  4. Front Road – Lakeside Cider
  5. Steel Town – Salvaje

Top 5 – Fruit Flavoured / Perry

  1. FieldBird – 2018 Perry Sur Lie
  2. Banjo – Rouge
  3. Revel – Pom Lam (Perry)
  4. Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb
  5. Hard Way – Catawampus

Top 5 – Herbed/Spiced/Hopped

  1. East Street – Harvest Botanical
  2. Farmgate – Mulled
  3. Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice Cider
  4. Slabtown – Watermelon Thyme
  5. Loch Mór  – Hopped

Top Fortified Ciders

  1. Loch Mór – Pommeau
  2. West Avenue – North by West Ice Cider
  3. Georgian Hills – Frozen to the Core Bartlett (2014)
  4. County Cider – Prince Edward County Ice Cider

Top Wines

  1. Hinterland – Ancestral 
  2. Pelee Island – Mousseux de Pomme
  3. Garland Sugar Shack – Maple Wine

Top 5 – Beers (Bethany)

  1. Bellwoods – Battenberg Cake Stout
  2. Short Finger – Fargo
  3. Fair Weather – Fonso
  4. Blood Brothers – Razzle Dazzle
  5. Dominion City – Small Imperial Stout w/ Pistachios

Top 5 – Beers (Barry – No order)

  • Bellwoods – Battenberg Cake Stout
  • Blood Brothers vs. Collective Arts – Feed Your Gods
  • Fairweather – Beki
  • Blood Brothers – Angelo Della Morte
  • Farmery – Pink Lemonade

Cidery of the Year

  • Banjo Cider

Runners Up 

  • Bulwark Cider
  • East Street Cider Co.
  • Slabtown Cider 

Top Ciders Outside of Ontario

  1. Bulwark (NS) – Winter
  2. Fleuri Cidres Biologiques (QC) – Hyslop 
  3. Cidrerie Milton (QC) – Première Station No. 1

Top LCBO Releases

  1. KW Craft Mixpack 
  2. Pommies – Mimosa
  3. Brickworks – The Purple Road

The Gingerbread Jingle

Time for a festive cocktail! 🥂

🎄The Gingerbread Jingle 🎄

This one is for the ginger and spice fans.

Ingredients
⭐️ ice & spiced bitters (we used @tsdistillers all-spice)
⭐️ Ginger beer (here we used @fevertreecanada)
⭐️ a dry apple cider (@hardwaycider’s Renegade is an excellent choice for this)
⭐️ @drinkwillibald Gingerbread Gin (available at @lcbo)

Directions
1. Put as much ice as you wish in the glass
2. A few dashes of bitters to your preference
3. 1.5-2 oz of the Gingerbread Gin
4. Add 100ml of ginger beer
5. Top close to the rim with cider
6. Stir and enjoy

Description:  Leans very gingery but it’s very warming at the same time. Gingerbread cookies optional but a highly recommended pairing.

By in News 0

Ways to Help Cideries during the COVID-19 Crisis

Obviously these are uneasy times with the COVID-19 pandemic that will see every person and industry affected in varying ways, and our thoughts are with everyone during these challenging and unpredictable times.

One of the main economic victims so far has been and will continue to be small businesses – many of which include your favourite small craft cideries – through the loss of sales, canceling various planned events, amongst other factors.

While not everyone may be able to support these cideries at this time because of economy worry and strain, we wanted to provide a list of ways you can help support your cidery during these weeks and months to ensure their continued longevity if you are able:

  1. Don’t visit them if you are sick! As they are local hubs, they can see many people during a day, so they could be a source of spread.
  2. If you plan to visit in person, call/check online to see if your cidery is even open. Many are not open for the season yet and some have restricted hours in response for social distancing
  3. Order online if they have a virtual store. Check out our cidery services listing at cidersofontario.com to see who will ship directly to you!
  4. Don’t expect free samples at this time if you do visit. Many cideries and businesses have temporarily suspended sampling programs to avoid cross-contamination
  5. Wash/sterilize your hands before you make a purchase from them at their retail store or farmers market – and if you just go to a local bar for a pint.
  6. Some cideries offer growler pours of their product from their retail store. As the use of reusable containers/bags are being suspended at many businesses at this time, don’t bring in your own growler. Rent a new container for the time being if they are still offering these services.
  7. If applicable, buy gift cards! You may not want product now, but maybe after the dust settles for this pandemic, you can use the cards while the business gets the money now.
  8. Promote your favourite ciders on social media! Keep the chatter going about these brands and provide reviews.
  9. Don’t hoard! It may be tempting to buy cases of products from retail and grocery stores and the LCBO but you aren’t the only cider fan and maybe we all need a cold cider to get through these long, challenging days at home!
  10. If you’re stuck inside, it might be a good time to review your cider collections. Consider drinking canned ciders that may have a ‘best drank by’ date coming up soon (or even if they are past, still totally safe to drink!) and maybe if you’re like us, drink some vintages that are a few years old (we have too many years-old ice ciders ourselves!)
  11. Email/comment to your favourite cideries how much you appreciate their product! Cidermakers and their staff are not immune to the emotional strain of these uneasy times, so your comments could make their day
  12. Plan a trip to visit many of these cideries when the crisis has settled regardless. And plan your trip using cidersofontario.com!

Always follow the latest advice from local, provincial and national health care agencies, and visit Canada.ca/coronavirus for the latest news.

Stay safe fellow cider lovers! We want to continue our discussions and love of cider for many years to come with you all!

 

BONUS: See some of the ciders that offer shipping!

The Tepeche

Warning: this one is strong! 🍍🍍The Tepeche🍍🍍 inspired from the excellent – and many times home brewed – Mexican drink, this cocktail is nicely spiced and very fruit forward.

⭐️2-3 cubes of ice.
⭐️.5 shot of @captainmorganca Pineapple Rum
⭐️1-1.5 shot of a spiced rum (we also used the @captainmorganca one)
⭐️1/2 can of straight apple cider – we chose @niagaracider as its bold and a lot of tannins
⭐️ 10-15 drops of all spice bitters from @tsdistillers
⭐️dash of cinnamon
⭐️topped with pineapple juice

Stir well and enjoy! (The cinnamon doesn’t sink well so it may partially float at the top but it seems to make it even creamier this way!)

By in Best of, News 0

The Cider Crate – Best of 2019

As we come to the end of the decade (and half of it, us doing cider stuff), we have a chance to share some of our favourite moments of the past 365 days!

~Bethany and Barry

Cider Crate Combined: Top 5 Bottles/Cans

  1. Cider 101 – Dr Peppercorn With Cherry
  2. Niagara Cider Company – No. 1 Dry Apple Cider
  3. County Cider – Blackberry Peach
  4. Burst Cider – Atoca (Cranberry)
  5. Archibald’s – Hard Ginger

 

Bethany’s personal preferences (In order)

  1. Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped
  2. Farmgate – Founders Reserve
  3. Duntroon – Raindance
  4. Niagara Cider – Dry No. 1

Barry’s personal preferences (In no order)

  1. Revel – Coral
  2. Thornbury – Blueberry Elder flower
  3. East Street – Harvest Botanical
  4. Sulkers – Equinox

Cidery of the Year-

Niagara Cider Company
Runner Up –
Hardway Cider Co.

 

Favourite Non-Ontario

Rootstock Cider Co – Belgian (Rochester, NY)

Beers!

Bethany (In no order)

  1. Fairweather – Drift
  2. Bench – Henry On Cherries
  3. Blood Brothers – Presto Change-O

Favourite Brewery – Fairweather

Barry (In no order)

  1. Bellwood – Jellyking Blackbery Raspberry
  2. Whitewater – Pineapple Pomegranate
  3. Whitewater – Dawn Partrole
  4. Founders – Green Zibra

Favourite Brewery – Whitewater / Les Brasseurs du Temps (Tie)

Favourite Bar

Elgin Beer Project
Runner Up: Her Fathers Cider Bar

 

So that was 2019.  We also have our Map of Ontario!  Check it out and where/how you can sample our favourites!

By in Other Apple Drinks 0

Dixon’s – Vodka Fusion (Apple Cranberry)       

Apple Drink Profile:

Name: Dixon’s – Vodka Fusion (Apple Cranberry)
Sampled November 2019

Brand: Dixon’s Distilled Spirits
Type:
Mixed Drink
Location of Brewing:
Guelph, ON
ABV:
5%
Website Link:
dixonsdistilledspirits.com
Ingredients:
Apple Juice Concentrate, water, cranberry juice from concentrate, vodka, sodium benzoate
Gluten Free
: N/A
Sugar Content: 76g/lSize(s) available: 473ml can
Availability:
LCBO (2019)
Flavour:
Apple Cranberry
Colour:  
Dark Apricot
Carbonation:
appears still, similar to standard mixed drinks


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: similar to a standard vodka, little other elements.
Initial Taste: little bite from carbonation, some sweet cranberry. Slightly dank.
After Taste: Apple present in aftertaste, some cranberry notes.  Filmy finish, lingers a while.
On ice: reduced carbonation.

Additional Notes:  Overall, a very watery focused vodka drink with some elements of apples in the aftertaste. The Dixon’s Vodka Fusion (Apple Cranberry edition) is a very basic and lackluster offering with some elements of apple juice in the aftertaste.  Think apple juice with a splash of cranberry and a shot or two of vodka. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 1.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 2

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

Links to Other Stories
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

 

By in Other Apple Drinks 0

Les Vergers Villeneuve – Apple Wine

Apple-Drink Profile:

Name: Les Vergers Villeneuve – Apple Wine
Sampled November 2019

Brand:  Les Vergers Villeneuve & Blueberry Farm
Type:
Apple Wine
Location of Brewing:
St.-Pascal Baylon, ON
ABV:
11.2%
Website Link:
vergersvilleneuve.com
Ingredients:
N/A
Gluten Free:
N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml glass bottle
Availability
: Via winery & at Ottawa Lansdown Market (2019)
Flavour:
Apple
Colour
:  Light, translucent yellow
Carbonation:
Appears still, some bubbles after pouring.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: strong, white-wine like with a hint of earthy apple
Initial Taste:  minimal bite, starts off very wine-like with some apple notes. Some astringency
After Taste: lasts a long time, becomes even more wine like with some earthy apples flavours.
On ice: N/A

Additional Notes:  The apple wine by Les Vergers Villeneuve & Blueberry Farm is very much a mid-ground semi-dry white wine, with very little apples.  With a lot of body, it has hints of apple that give it a slightly different taste then other white wines. Easily appeals to most white-wine drinkers.

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

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

Links to Other Stories
Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
Links to Comparisons

By in Knowledge 0

Get to Know the Ontario Cider Industry

Like a growing number of Ontarians, you may regularly enjoy a crisp craft cider from a local producer. But what you may not realize is you’re drinking a product that represents a notable slice of the provincial economy and, increasingly, a valuable export outside of Canada.

Craft cider in Ontario

The economic contribution of cider in Ontario is nothing to sneeze at: craft cider alone generated $73.5 in economic activity in 2017 and contributed $12.7 million to the province’s GDP.

As of now, there are 99 producers in the province. Much of this economic contribution comes from the approximately 60 Ontario cidermakers active in 2017, three-quarters of whom call rural Southern Ontario home. In 2017, these producers turned 23 million pounds of Ontario apples into cider. 

In 2017-2018, sales of Ontario craft cider at the LCBO grew by 42 percent over the previous year, topping out at over $11.5 million in sales. Incredibly, Ontario craft cider represents only 11.5 percent of total cider sales at the LCBO, which is indicative both of cider’s overall popularity and the incredible potential for growth craft cider has in this province. Looking at Canada as a whole, Ontario is a top province for both the production and sale of cider.

What makes a cider “craft”? 
It must be produced in Ontario, using exclusively locally-grown apples or pears. However, there is also some debate as to the size of the organization producing the product, and if the product is the primary offering of the company, or something branded to fill that organizations portfolio] 

 

Growth in popularity

Why has the cider sector taken off? There are many reasons for its incredible growth, including its status as a gluten-free alternative to beer and consumers’ increasing desire for unique products and flavours. Craft cider in particular is seen as a premium product; one that piques the interest of drinkers who are looking for local production and authentic experiences.

But many people still don’t know exactly what cider is, or have impressions of the product that may no longer be accurate (e.g. that it is very sweet, high in sugar, or is a seasonal product – of which all of these can be true but are typically not). With greater consumer education and increased marketing, there is likely more room for converting the cider-curious into the cider-serious.

Exporting cider

As of 2017, almost all – 98.8 percent! – of Canadian cider exports went to the United States. That corresponds to sales of approximately $61 million. In comparison, we exported less than $40,000 CAD to the United Kingdom, another major cider market. 

First in flight and first in cider 
As of 2017, North Carolina was the most valuable destination for Canadian cider exports – worth over $13 million or 22.6 percent of the total value of cider exports to the United States.

Cider has seen tremendous growth over the past five years, but sales in the US have decreased for the past two. Fortunately for Ontario craft cider, that decline has been driven by national brands. According to the United States Association of Cider Makers, local and regional ciders continue to see double-digit growth, presenting a continued opportunity for our craft brands.

 

Canadians appear to be the most enthusiastic cider consumers compared to our closest neighbours. By 2022, we are expected to drink more than 92 million litres of cider, an increase of approximately 10 percent over 2018. As a result, sales are forecast to grow 13.6 percent between 2018 and 2022, far faster than in the US or the UK. While there is strong potential for exports, the greatest opportunity for Ontario craft cider appears to be right here at home.

 

Author: Ashley Challinor

When Ashley isn’t drinking her way through Ontario’s cideries, she works in public policy.

By in BookReview 0

[Book Review] Uncultivated: Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living

Uncultivated: Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living
by Andy Brennan
Chelsea Green Publishing, June 2019
9781603588447

275pp
Main Subjects: Personal Memoir – American Agriculture – Wild Orchards & Cider Making
Audience: Mainly US-based; Potential Cidermakers; Potential small farm owners; those interested in pre-Modern farming and food connections.

Read and reviewed by Tan Light, August 2019
Andy Brennan is the Cidermaker and owner of Aaron Burr Cidery and the author of Uncultivated: Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living. Both charming and informative, Uncultivated follows Andy’s journey into wild cider making in New York State. The book is divided into 3 sections: the first takes a look at Andy’s love affair with wild apple trees and buying land; the second, how he developed his cider and craft; and, the third is about the cider business itself. You’ll learn more about his personal production philosophy, his triumphs and failures in trying to establish traditional orchards and a “forchard” (a forest orchard), and his deliberate choice to remain a micro business – The Aaron Burr Cider only produces about 2000 gallons each season. (A “small” operation will make close to 10x that!)
The Aaron Burr Cidery primarily produces what they call Locational Ciders, ciders made from wild apples grown in one of the 7 distinct geological bands of the local valley. Unlike a varietal cider, which focuses on using only one apple type, like Golden Russet, locational ciders focus on the distinct terroirs of his valley, so that “the drinker can then taste the ciders … and experience the trees’ acclimation (or struggle) in each location” (p212). The ciders are crafted in small batches using traditional cidermaking techniques – those that require the least intervention from the cider maker – so that the apples and terroir-related flavours are able to shine through. The cider is bottle conditioned for a slight, natural carbonation.
Andy is very connected to his land and the local trees, and believes that we should all reinvest in our own connections as well, by learning more about the foods native to our areas, natural cultivation techniques that pre-date Morden Agriculture, and the small, local businesses that can decentralize our food supply, allowing for better biodiversity. Uncultivated is full of calls to consumers and producers alike to consider what they want as the future of food and drink in North America and to spend and consume in a way that aligns with our intentions. In other words, he challenges us to put our money where our mouth is, quite literally.
As a Cider enthusiast who dreams of someday producing a little of my own, this book was as interesting and informative as it was motivating and eye-opening. There are many challenges that face craft cider makers today, and many of the cultural issues Andy describes in New York State are also faced by craft producers here, just North of the border: a similar history with prohibition disrupting the cider culture of yester-years; big beer makers jumping on, and perhaps commandeering, the cider bandwagon in the past 5 years, using economies of scale to price out the craft-maker; and, government licencing & “support” that doesn’t fully understand how Cider is different than either wine or beer making. In my opinion, any current or potential cidermaker who is looking to create a more natural cider program and/or is concerned with our Modern Agriculture practices should pick up a copy.
Or, read an excerpt on the publisher’s website.
And hey! If you are wondering what a wild apple cider program looks like in Ontario, why not check out Windswept Cider’s Lost Orchard Project

Toronto Cider Festival 2019 Recap

The 5th edition of the Toronto Cider Festival brought with it a few lovely days to sample over 30 cideries from across Ontario, Canada and France!  We were lucky enough to start the weekend off early at Her Fathers Cider Bar, joined by Niagara, Duntroon and returning, Duxbury Cider for a meet the maker and sample night.  

Barry’s Review:

Friday, a busy day personally so we were unable to make the event.  However, Saturday, here is our reviews.

In comparison to previous years, the venue filled up and a was pretty cider-drinker focused during the day-drinking session.  A lot of people were interested in chatting with the makers and learning more about their craft. We were able to chat with a few new participants and hope to have the interviews on our website shortly.  We also were lucky enough to spend time chatting with a most of the Ontario based cidery staff to see how the event was going and what is new. I’m excited that the optimism of the sector is upbeat, though still very tough to make a living at.

Barry’s Selections (In no order)

Duntroon – Black Cherry
East Street – Nature Study
Calvados – 5year Special
County – Root Beer
Ironwood – Strawberry Ciderita

Tan’s Review:

This was my second year attending the Toronto Cider Festival. The Day Drinking session of Day 2 was warm and sunny, perfect weather for cider tasting.

Tan’s Selections

If you are going to day drink, why not dive right into the barrel? I started the day at Hard Way Cider Co, with the just-launched Catawampus. Aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, with a hint of black cherry juice, at 9%abv., followed by the slightly more agreeable Ramboozle, a blend of 5 different local apples, 100% Ontario raspberries and amazing tasting notes from Caribbean Rum barrels. We circled back later in the day to discover Loco Blanco, aged in tequila barrels, was available, which was also quite nice. 

Next I took in 2 of the offerings from Ironwood: Prince Zero, a super dry cider which was nice and light in the middle of my flavour parade; and the Strawberry Ciderita, which was exactly opposite. If you’ve ever tried a can of Tempt’s No 9 cider, it’s along the same vein, though a smidge drier.

On to East Street, who really brought their flavour game. I’ve had the Watermelon Mint a few times, so I opted for the new-to-me Nature Study and Harvest Botanical. I love how East Street layers in several flavour adjuncts to give you a complex but well-balanced cider. 

Having missed the Meet the Maker event Thursday prior, I had to stop by Duxbury’s tent to try the Scumpy from their Back 50 Acres project. It’s a nice example of the style and I look forward to what comes up next.

On to Thornbury to try the Let’s Get Tropical. What a delight – juicy without being over-sweet. I really wish I’d gotten my hands on some sooner because this is a Summer cider if there ever was one, and would be killer in a sangria. 

Brickworks had a lot on offer at the festival with the new cocktail bar, but I chose just the Sour-brate.  With a base of fresh-pressed ontario apples with local blackberries, peaches and a touch of earl grey, it was a nicely balanced, medium sour cider. Hoping to find it at their Ciderhouse soon.

Finally, after picking up a sample of the rather enjoyable Berry Mint on an earlier pass, I ended the day at Forbbiden Cider, lovingly exchanging my last token for their Hopped Cider. Sour and Tart (just like me) and oh so good, it was the perfect way to end the day.

Event wise, the community based painting was really neat and homage to the Toronto Raptors.  The Flairtending, as always was spot on as was the music all weekend.  

Interviews:

Calvados Boulard

The only non Cider pouring at the Toronto Cider Fest  2019, Calvados Boulard Rep Stan Zelek chats with us about the unique apple product offered to the attendees.

Download episode Play in new window | File size: 19.8MB

Malus Cider

Malus cider, one of the new cideries on the block, sat down with Barry at the Toronto Cider Fest, 2019 to chat about how they came to be and what challenges they have faced,so far.

Download episode Play in new window | File size: 14.5MB

Hard Way Cider

Chatting with Hard Way Cider, at their first Toronto Cider Festival.  Defiantly one of cideries of the weekend at the 2019 edition.

Download episode Play in new window | File size: 11.6MB

Magnotta Cider

We talked with Magnotta briefly as the Saturday opened up at the 2019 edition of the Toronto Cider Festival.

Download episode Play in new window | File size: 4.8MB

Next years tickets are already available, happening August 28th and 29th, 2020.

By in News, Toronto Cider Fest 0

5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts for the Toronto Cider Festival – 2019

With the festival less than a week away, here is our top 5 remember to dos, and top 5 please do not do’s this list for the 2019 festival.

Do:

  1. Charge your phone in advance, and track us down when your there.
  2. Put on sunscreen, lots of it!
  3. Bring your ID! You need it at the door to get in (and your ticket too)
  4. Try to ask one of the cider makers a unique question about their product
  5. Look out for these, which we really have liked in 2019 and/or were last years big ciders:
    1. Thornbury Blueberry Elderflower
    2. Rood Apples from Creekside
    3. Anything from Shiny Cider
    4. Niagara Cider Company (New in town and WOW)
    5. County Cider Co flavoured ciders

Don’t:

  1. DRINK AND DRIVE!
  2. Try to drink all the ciders…
  3. Wear fancy shoes, it might get messy/muddy.
  4. Forget a raincoat or umbrella, it might rain
  5. Bring a pet, its not a good space for them (And well, you can’t)

You can find out more from our official preview!

Tickets are available here

Oh, and don’t forget Thursday is our special ‘Meet the cider makers’ second-annual event.  Location TBA, Watch our social media for the info on Tuesday!

By in Tours 0

Niagara – 2019 (2 Day Tour)

For our second extended tour, we are taking on the Niagara Region.  Fortune led us to the area for a wedding, so its possible to do the whole tour in a single day, however, it would be unwise to try to push it.  Enjoy our trip along the photos and interviews, as available.

 

Map of our travels:

Podcasts recorded:

Each individual page on our tours section:

 

Cidery Tour: Ironwood Cider, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Shiny Cider, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Niagara Cider Company, Niagara, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Niagara Teaching College, Niagara ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Rood Apples, Jordan Station, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Cidery Tour: Tall Post, Hamilton, ON (July 2019) -Pictures and Podcast

Photos: