The Cider Crate

Archives

Archibald’s – Hard Cherry

CIDER PROFILE:

Name:   Archibald’s – Hard Cherry
Sampled September 2021

Brand:  Archibald’s Estate Winery
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Bownmanville, ON
ABV: 7.5%
Website Link: archibaldswinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Archibald’s Estate Winery and retail
Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Transparent rose gold
Carbonation: Small to medium, semi-streaming bubbles


CIDER CRATE TASTING NOTES:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet apple with a hint of cherry. Some farm, funky apple notes and acidity.

Initial Taste:  Light bite from carbonation. Mix of semi-tart apple and lightly puckering cherry that quickly dissipates.

After Taste: Becomes sweeter and more candied.  Some dryness like a rosé wine, with a bit of maraschino cherry finish. Some tanginess and thicker mouth feel with a bit of a gritty elements.

On ice: Much thinner and carbonation reduced.

Additional Notes:  Archibald’s Hard Cherry, is not as hard as the name implies.  It has a nice, smooth cherry profile on top of a standard, semi-tart apple base. Still crisp and clean, it’s a medium-sweet offering with a bit of a thinker finish.  A very concentrated cherry flavour – Jolly Rancher energy here.

Rated on a scale of 1-5

Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 3.5
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 2.5
Fruity – 3.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –
More Sour – Slab Town – Legendary Cherry
More Dry – Apple Falls – Cherry Crush (2018)
More Crisp – KW Craft – Wild Cherry

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

East Street – Aprés Blueberry Black Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: East Street – Aprés Blueberry Black Cherry Cider Seltzer
Sampled September 2021

Brand: East Street Cider Co
Type: Cider Seltzer – Flavoured
Location of Brewing: Goderich, ON
ABV: 4%
Website Link:
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 0g/L

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: East Street Retail and Online stores
Flavour: Black cherry and blueberry
Colour:  Translucent white freezie
Carbonation: Large streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Candied mild black cherry. Earthy light blueberry. Dank and tonic notes with a hint of dessert apple.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Medicinal cherry. Tonic note forward. Generic berry notes.
After Taste: Light dessert apples peak through. More blueberries become obvious but rather earthy. Remains candied and long lingering with some grittiness.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and mouthfeel. Tonic notes seem more amplified.

Additional Notes:  East Street’s Aprés Blueberry Black Cherry cider seltzer definitely leans more on the seltzer side than a cider. Tonic note heavy, it has a thin mouthfeel and is not juicy as a result. The black cherry comes across as medicinal and candied. The blueberry is more obvious near the finish, with some mild dessert apples. A very light and somewhat dank offering for a spritzer to consume and not a standard cider experience so don’t expect it. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – The Purple Road
More Sour – Ernest – Cranberry Cherry Rosé Cider Spritzer
More Dry – Hard Way – Catawampus Black Cherry Cider
More Crisp – Duxbury – Pomme D’Eau

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

Howell Road – Raspberry Lemonade

Cider Profile:

Name: Howell Road – Raspberry Lemonade
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Howell Road Cider Co
Type: Flavoured – Raspberry & Lemonade
Location of Brewing: St. George, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: brantviewapples.com/howell-road-cider-co
Ingredients: Ontario apples, Ontario raspberry
lemon juice. Sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Howell Road online and retail store
Flavour: Raspberry lemonade
Colour:  Transparent deep red
Carbonation: Medium infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Juicy, tart raspberry dominant. Hints of lemon zest.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from tartness, acidity and carbonation. Quick muddled ripe raspberry. Mild pulpy apple that includes green apple characteristics.
After Taste: As raspberry slowly weakens, more apple notes appear. Lemon juice becomes more obvious and sour. Long lingering tart notes. Earthy hints. 
On ice: Cuts a lot of body and tartness. Smoother. Much less raspberry.

Additional Notes:  Howell Road’s Raspberry Lemonade screams summer in a can. Very tart, sometimes sour, it draws from both the lemon and raspberry for a semi-puckering experience. It starts off very raspberry dominant, with the lemon becoming more clear in the finish. Not much apple, it appears slightly at first, a bit more in the finish, but you could definitely fool people for this not being a hard apple cider if they didn’t know.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Lemonade Radler
More Sour – Clafeld – Disco Lemonade
More Dry – Ernest – Blue Lagoon
More Crisp – Kings Mill – Raspberry (Carbonated)

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

Slabtown – Lemon Tea

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Lemon Tea
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Slabtown Cider Co
Type: Flavoured – Tea
Location of Brewing: Uxbirdge, ON
ABV: 5.3%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown retail and online
Flavour: Lemon + tea
Colour:  Hazy bright yellow, with suspended particles
Carbonation: Medium infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Black tea. Lemon zest. Mild apples peak through.
Initial Taste: Sharp, semi-sour sensation that’s almost tingly on the lips and tongue. Smooth black tea that tastes sweetened but not sugary. Lemon zest and juice notes that are not acidic. Mild semi-sweet bright apples.
After Taste: Apples dwindles but black tea remains. Some light tannins. Ends mostly dry. Average length in mouthfeel.
On ice: Weakened body. Apple and lemon are reduced. Black tea remains the same.

Additional Notes:  Slabtown’s Lemon Tea Cider stands out in a crowd. They did a very good job at replicating the sweet black tea with lemon commonly consumed in the lower United States, especially. A very unique start to this cider – instead of the carbonation or acidity greeting you like most ciders, its a sharp sensation that is almost tingly and sour, maybe from the lemon addition. The black tea tastes sweetened and remains consistent throughout. Lemon juice and zest appear, mostly upfront but are not acidic. The apple is mild but bright. Pretty flavour forward overall even with the lower numbers on our scale below.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 2
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 3
Fruity – 3

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Clafeld – London Fog
More Sour – Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – Ernest – Tea and Cookies
More Crisp – Busl – Quran-TEA-ne

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

West Avenue – CRUSH!

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – CRUSH!
Sampled August 2021

Brand: West Avenue Cider House
Type: Perry – Flavoured
Location of Brewing: Freelton, ON
ABV: 7.2%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: West Avenue Retail and Online Store
Flavour: Pear and Cab Sauv
Colour:  Cloudy grapefruit pink with dark trub
Carbonation: Almost still, random large bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Funky pear. Acetic. Mild red grapes.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Smooth red grapes that are quick. Some funk, some astringency. Tannins.
After Taste: Becomes smoother, more plum notes come out. Juicy yellow pear emerges here. Very dry finish that clears out well.
On ice: Thinner body, less carbonation. Flavours watered down.

Additional Notes:  West Avenue’s CRUSH! is a perry made with cab sauv skins. Unlike some of West Avenue’s other offerings made with red grapes, this is grape flavour focused and doesn’t come across red wine-like. Juicy, it tastes very different than anticipated. Very hazy with some particles, it starts off more funky and astringent with some tannic red grape skin flavours and mouthfeel. It then becomes smoother and the juicy pear notes emerge. Very dry, especially in the finish. It becomes very watered down on ice so it is not recommended.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Niagara Cider – Rose Gold
More Sour – Shale Ridge – Cabernet Funk
More Dry – County – Legacy Series Rosé 
More Crisp – Crimson – Rosé Cider

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

Shale Ridge – Cherry Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Cherry Apple
Sampled August 2021

Brand:  Shale Ridge Hard Cider
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: shaleridgeestatewinery.com
Ingredients: Cider, tart cherries, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Shale Ridge retail + online stores
Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Transparent vivid red
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Semi-tart, candied cherries. Sweet, pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Some acidity. Quick sweet apple that is very fleshy. Mostly dry cherry that is tangy and mildly tart.
After Taste: Cherry becomes slightly sweeter, very cherry blaster candy-like. Off dry finish.
On ice: Slightly less acidic. More cherry and less apple are noticeable.

Additional Notes:  Shale Ridge’s Cherry Apple is one of their more dry options we’ve had from them. With a mostly dry cherry flavour, it is still candied and reminds us of cherry blasters. The mild sweetness in this seems to come from the apples, which are fleshy and bright. A lighter, very crisp and refreshing option. The cider seems to be more cherry-forward on ice.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Puddicombe – Cherry
More Sour – Banjo – Rouge
More Dry – Apple Falls – Cherry Crush (2018)
More Crisp – West Avenue – Cherriosity

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

 

Chill St – Wild Thing

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill St – Wild Thing
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Chill Street Cider
Type: Flavoured – Mixed fruit
Location of Brewing: Elmsdale, NS
ABV: 7%
Website Link: chillstreetcraftbeverageco.com
Ingredients: N/A 
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill St. Retail and online store
Flavour: Blueberry & Sangria
Colour: Translucent dar burgundy
Carbonation: Appears almost still. Lightly carbonated. 



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Extra sweet candied blueberries. Some red wine elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite – somewhat like a wine. Thick and heavy blueberry.  Some dessert apples that are light.  Red wine astringent elements are there but not as dry.
After Taste: Red wine lingers and is very noticeable on the breath. Blueberry becomes more gritty in the finish.  No apple residue. 
On ice: Reduced carbonation and thinner mouthfeel.

Additional Notes:  The Wild Thing by Chill Street is a wine/cider blend with lots of blueberry elements that are sweet and thick (but not candied tasting like it smells). Its blueberry forward with light apple flavour and elements pulled from the red wine, but without the harshness and astringency of a straight red wine.  If you find red wine too harsh, this might be a great option for you as it has the base profile of a cider. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – No Boats on Sunday – Mixed Berry
More Sour – Annapolis – Earl Blue
More Dry – York County – Like an Academic Blueberry Cider
More Crisp – Ernest – Wild Blueberry

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

Duxbury – Honey Rose Petal

Cider Profile:

Name: Duxbury – Honey Rose Petal
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Duxbury Cider Co
Type: Flavoured – Rose and Honey
Location of Brewing: Meaford, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: theduxburyciderco.ca
Ingredients: Ontario apples, honey,
organic apples, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 25 g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Duxbury Cider online store
and select farmers markets

Flavour: Rose and honey
Colour:  Transparent, bright yellow
Carbonation: Large infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Astringent and floral rose. Tannic, acidic apples. Mild honey undertones.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick tannic apples and acidity that are sharp and gripping. Thick honey flavour and mouthfeel. Some fermentation notes here.
After Taste: Apples become smoother, cleaner. Delicate rose notes come through. Long lingering apple and honey flavours.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Smoother overall. Apples come across sweeter. Less acidity.

Additional Notes:  Duxbury’s Honey Rose Petal Cider is a cider with a lot of depth. Starting off with strong and gripping apples, tannins and acidity – with some fermentation – it becomes smoother and cleaner in the finish, but without a lessening of flavour or complexity. The honey is particularly strong upfront, but balanced to the other elements, making the cider very flavoured and with a heavier mouthfeel. The rose petals come through once some of the heavier acidity and sharp apple notes soften, being delicate and mildly floral.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Cowbell – Rose Cider
More Sour – Clafeld – Rose Hips Cider 
More Dry – Ernest – Rose Cider Spritzer
More Crisp – 

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

Apple Falls – Cherry Crush (2018)

Cider Profile:

Name: Apple Falls – Cherry Crush (2018)
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Apple Falls Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Carrying Place, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: applefallscider.ca/
Ingredients: Honeycrisp apples, hand-picked cherries,
(may contain sulphites).
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Apple Falls retail + online
Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Transparent pale peach
Carbonation: Small infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Crisp, sweet apples. Hints of cherry tartness.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Cherry skin notes. Semi-dry honeycrisp apples. Herby/earthy notes.
After Taste: Apple reduces. Cherry becomes slightly tart and more prominent. Ends on a dry cherry note with pepper/saison hints.
On ice: Lighter body. Slightly less cherry and apple.

Additional Notes:  Apple Falls Cherry Crush is a light and sessionable cherry cider that stands out from other cherry-flavoured ciders we’ve had. Tasting like it’s infused on cherry skins rather than juice added at the finish like many on the market, as it’s smoother with a lighter cherry experience overall. We anticipated it to be sweeter upon seeing there were honeycrisp apples, but it’s mostly off-dry, becoming more dry in the finish. Unique notes of herbs and earthiness come through initially, with it changing to more of a pepper and saison note in the end. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – KW Craft – Wild Cherry
More Sour – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
More Dry – Banjo – Rouge
More Crisp – Busl – Cerasus Cherry Cider

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

Puddicombe – Peach Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Puddicombe – Peach Cider
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Puddicombe Cider Company
Type: Flavoured – Peach
Location of Brewing: Winona, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: puddicombecider.com
Ingredients: Fermented peach juice, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Puddicombe online and retail store
Flavour: Peach
Colour: Translucent golden peach
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Slightly funky peach pit.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Sweet and syrupy peach elements. Clean to start, slightly sugary amongst an aged peach juice. Some fermentation and funk notes.
After Taste: As carbonation reduces, it becomes a bit more syrupy with a long lasting, slightly earthy finish.  Peach is overripe.
On ice: Slightly reduced carbonation and body.  Smoother.

Additional Notes:  The Peach Cider by Puddicombe is rather unique Ontario peach cider as it does not contain apples.  Sweet and syrupy, it’s somewhat clean and it finishes slightly earthy. The peach itself is not a traditional or candied peach – it’s thick and slightly dank, tasting aged and with fermentation notes present. Between the sweet elements and the funk/dank notes, its a contrasting cider with a lot happening on the palate.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 2
Dry – 1.5
Fruity – 4

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

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

Kings Mill – Black Currant

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Black Currant
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Kings Mill Cider
Type: Flavoured – Black Currant
Location of Brewing: Stirling, ON
ABV: 8.5
Website Link: kingsmillcider.company.site/
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottles)
Flavour: Kings Mill online + retail stores
Colour:  Translucent deep ruby red
Carbonation: Small streaming bubbles,
very foamy when poured


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fruity black currant with some astringency.
Initial Taste: Tingly bite from carbonation. Quick juicy black currant with some grit from berry skins. Bitters harp apples are noticeable. Very black currant dominate. Earthy hints.
After Taste: Black currant becomes slightly weaker, apples come out a touch more. Dry finish with some fermentation notes present.
On ice: Slightly less carbonation. Tastes a bit less alcoholic.

Additional Notes:  Kings Mill Black Currant is a very berry dominant cider – with the black currants leading the way the entire journey, with a secondary presence from the apple base. This is a very gritty and authentic black currant flavour – you can almost taste the berry skins in this one. Mostly dry, it’s elevated and is almost wine-like at times. It’s 8.5% and it definitely tastes alcoholic as well. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 2
Dry – 4
Fruity – 4.5 

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Archibalds – Hard Currant Cider
More Sour – Heartwood – Currant Affair
More Dry – 
More Crisp – 401 Cider – Black Currant

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

Howell Road – Tropical

Cider Profile:

Name: Howell Road – Tropical
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Howell Road Cider Co
Type: Flavoured – Mixed Tropical
Location of Brewing: St. George, ON
ABV: 5.8%
Website Link: brantviewapples.com
Ingredients: Ontario apples, guavas,
pineapples, oranges, mangos, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Seasonal – Howell Road retail
and online store

Flavour: Mixed tropical
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow with peach hues
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet tropical notes, with pineapple and orange specifically. Banana hints.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Semi-sweet medley of bright dessert apples with creamy pineapple, orange, mango coming through. Banana hints among the balanced, mixed fruits.
After Taste: Apple weakens quickly. Slightly tart guava comes through. Cleans from the palate quickly.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Thinner apple flavour and base.

Additional Notes:  Howell Road’s Tropical Cider is a light, semi-sweet medley of exotic fruit flavours that is still somehow clean to consume. The cider starts off more orange, pineapple and mango focused – and weirdly with some banana notes though it’s not an ingredient. The apples are also stronger in the front, quickly weakening. A bright flash of tart guava comes out in the finish, but it empties out quickly and smoothly. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Blood Orange
More Sour –  Steel Town – Vay Kay
More Dry – Collective Arts – Hurricane Cider
More Crisp – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped

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

 

Shale Ridge – Strawberry Mojito

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Strawberry Mojito
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Shale Ridge Estate Winery
Type: Flavoured – Strawberry and Mojito
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: shaleridgewinery.ca
Ingredients: Cider, strawberries & mojito mint
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Shale Ridge Retail Store and Online
Flavour: Strawberry & mint
Colour: Transparent dark peach
Carbonation: Mixed, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet muddled strawberry. Slight hint of herb notes.  Light dessert apples.
Initial Taste: Light sensation from mild carbonation and some acidity. Followed by a pulpy sweet strawberry and balanced semi-bright and tart dessert apple. 
After Taste: Apple reduces, as more earthy/herby mint becomes noticeable. Strawberries become less tart and more faded. Semi-long lingering.
On ice: Thinner body. Slightly less sweet.

Additional Notes:  The Strawberry Mojito by Shale Ridge smells like it will be an extra sweet, mixed cocktail; however, its a balanced semi-tart strawberry and bright dessert apple cider with a bit of acidity and tang.  Mint is more earthy/herby than being cooling. It’s overall, very light and easy to consume, with the strawberry lingering the longest.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Archibalds – Strawberry Lime
More Sour – Steel Town – Planet of the Pies
More Dry – Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb
More Crisp – Heritage Estates – Eden’s Apple Strawberry

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

East Street – Nature Study

Cider Profile:

Name: East Street – Nature Study
Sampled August 2021

Brand: East Street Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing:  Goderich, ON
ABV: 5.9%
Website Link: eaststreetcider.com
Ingredients: Apples, lavender, peach,
butterfly pea powder, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: East Street Retail and Online Store
Flavour: Lavender, peach
Colour: Cloudy, purple with blue hue
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Pungent and earthy lavender. Some peach sweetness.
Initial Taste: Mild bite. A strong earthy and fresh lavender, with a small hint of peach and apple in the background.
After Taste: Lavender becomes fully dominant, with some slight astringent notes.  Earthy and herbed tasting. Muddled finish with floral bouquet notes lingering.
On ice: Lighter, but not much change.

Additional Notes: Nature Study by East Street Cider Co. is a heavily lavender focused cider, and is more of a lavender drink than anything else. Some hints of peach and apple emerge in the base, but it’s very focused on the pungent floral aspects.  You have to like lavender for this one as it gives you an authentic flavour throughout. Earthy and herby at times. The peach is smooth and semi-sweet but is many times dominated by the lavender.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Lavender Earl Grey
More Sour – County – Elderflower Sour
More Dry – Crimson – Lavender Buds
More Crisp – Brickworks – The Purple Road

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

Seagram – White Peach

Cider Profile:

Name: Seagram – White Peach
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Seagram Premium (Waterloo Brewing)
Type: Flavoured – Peach
Location of Brewing: Waterloo, ON
ABV: 5.3%
Website Link: waterloobrewing.com
Ingredients: Cider, carbonated water, natural flavours
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 47 g/l

Size(s) available: 437ml (can)
Availability: LCBO and Waterloo Brewing retail
and online stores

Flavour: Peach
Colour: Straw Yellow
Carbonation: Large streaming bubbles 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, fresh, candied peach.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Sweet, white peach and slight apple elements to start the cider off. Clean and bright. Slightly creamy in nature.
After Taste: Apple reduces leaving a sweet, syrupy and candied peach.  Fresh tasting and also sugary in nature. Long lasting body that coats the mouth.
On ice: Less carbonation. Slightly sweeter.

Additional Notes:  The Seagram’s White Peach by Waterloo Brewing is a light, upbeat and commercial white peach flavour, that is unique amongst other peach ciders for being the white variety. Very sweet, it’s clean with only a hint of apple base. Long lasting with pretty much no acidity (typically like a white peach over a traditional darker fleshed peach). Drinks very much like a mixed drink. Very candied, almost doesn’t taste like real fruit.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4.5
Sour – 2
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 1.5
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –
More Sour – Chill Street – Afternoon Delight
More Dry – Niagara Cider – Peach Chardonnay 
More Crisp – County – Peach Cider

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

 

Chill St – All Night Long

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill St – All Night Long
Sampled July 2021

Brand: Chill Street Cider
Type: Flavoured – Blackberry
Location of Brewing: Elmsdale, NS
ABV: 5.2%
Website Link: chillstreetcraftbeverageco.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill St. retail, online store and locally in Nova Scotia
Flavour: Blackberry
Colour: Translucent, straw yellow
Carbonation: Small, frequently streaming bubbles. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Candied and sweet artificial-like blackberry. Light dessert apple
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Semi-sweet dessert apple with some blackberry elements that are tart and very different than the smell.
After Taste: Apple dissipates and a semi-dry and slightly astringent blackberry becomes more present – and it lingers a long time in the aftertaste.  Some tonic notes.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and sweetness. Overall, a bit muted.

Additional Notes:  Chill Streets’ blackberry dry offering called All Night Long smells very sweet, commercial and upbeat, however the taste is more muted, tart and tonic-like.  The first sips will throw you off a bit, as it is slightly dry and semi-sweet apples with only a hint of blackberry.  As the apple drops out in the aftertaste, you’re left with a semi-tart and artificial-tasting blackberry pulp finish.   

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – No Boats on Sunday – Mixed Berry
More Sour – Annapolis – Earl Blue Cider
More Dry – Bulwark – Blush
More Crisp – Howell Road – Blackberry Pear

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

Duxbury – Hopped On Honey

Cider Profile:

Name: Duxbury – Hopped On Honey
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Duxbury Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: Meaford, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: theduxburyciderca.ca
Ingredients: Ontario apples, Ontario hops, honey, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Duxbury Online Store, select bars
Flavour: Hopped + honey
Colour:  Translucent, pale sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently steaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Semi-sweet apples. Smooth citra-hops and honey.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Sweet and creamy bright apples that are slightly soft.  Smooth, somewhat citrus-like hops with a balanced medium honey flavour. Hints of astringency and earthiness.
After Taste: Apple dissipates, leaving more hops and honey elements. Becomes drier with some acidity notes. Long lingering honey once the apple is fully gone.
On ice: Reduced overall flavour. Removes most honey elements.

Additional Notes:  Hopped on Honey by Duxbury Cider Co. is a re-imagination of their Tilted Barn hopped cider for 2021.  The addition of Makwa honey makes this very smooth and is easy to drink.  The hops are not overpowering, but provide a bit of edge to match the bright, sweet and creamy apples.  This one tastes much lighter than 6.5%, and is exceptionally balanced with its three main flavours – hops, honey and apples.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heeman’s – Ambrosia Cider
More Sour – West Avenue – Honey Monster
More Dry – Banjo – Doppelganger
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honey Crisp Apple Cider

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

Steel Town – Planet of the Pies

Cider Profile:

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

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Slabtown – Ginger Spritz

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Ginger Spritz
Sampled June 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Crimson – Cherrific

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson – Cherrific
Sampled June 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

County Cider – Legacy Series Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: County Cider – Legacy Series Rosé
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Shale Ridge – Peach Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Peach Apple
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Ernest – Rosé Cider Spritzer

Cider Profile:

Name: Ernest – Rosé Cider Spritzer
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Chill Street – Squeeze The Day

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill Street – Squeeze The Day
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Chill Street Brewing
Type: Flavoured – Guava
Location of Brewing: Elmsdale, NS
ABV: 5.9%
Website Link: chillstreetbrewing.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill St retail + online store
Flavour: Guava
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Punchy and juicy sour guava with some sweet apple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Semi-strong sour acidic guava with apple blend. Slightly tart and earthy.
After Taste: Becomes drier and more earthy.  Less apple and slightly reduced guava overall.  Finishes dry.
On ice: Reduced carbonation.

Additional Notes:  The Squeeze The Day by Chill Street is unique as the Guava really dominates, instead of the apple. It means it’s a surprising taste, as the guava has a lot of similar characteristics to a very dry and earthy apple.  One of the least sweet of the Chill Street offerings we’ve had. Slightly earthy and a little bit acidic and decently sour.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Pineapple Agave
More Sour – Steel Town – Guava AF
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped

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

Slabtown – Sweet Maple Heat

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Sweet Maple Heat
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Archibalds – Strawberry Lime

Cider Profile:

Name: Archibalds – Strawberry Lime
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

 

West Avenue – Rosie

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Rosie
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Loch Mór – Lagan’s IPC

Cider Profile:

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

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Lost Craft – Dry Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: Lost Craft – Dry Rosé
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Brickworks – Pineapple Agave

Cider Profile:

Name: Brickworks – Pineapple Agave
Sampled April 2021

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Crimson Cider – Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson Cider – Rosé
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Niagara – Beekeeper’s Botanical

Cider Profile:

Name:  Niagara – Beekeeper’s Botanical
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Slabtown – Ciderita

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Ciderita
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Chill St – It’s A Vibe

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill St – It’s A Vibe
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Chill Street Cider
Type: Flavoured – Pineapple and Wine
Location of Brewing: Elmsdale, NS
ABV: 7%
Website Link: chillstreetcraftbeverageco.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill St. Retail, Online Store and locally in Nova Scotia
Flavour: Pineapple + Pinot Grigio
Colour: Translucent, Dark yellow
Carbonation: Large, frequently streaming bubbles.  More on ice. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Candied pineapple on top of a slightly astringent white wine.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. A sweet fruity pineapple with some creaminess. Candied and not a particularly natural pineapple flavour.
After Taste: Pineapple reduces and pinot notes surface, though remaining still very “fruit wine like” in nature.  Some floral elements, finishing soft.
On ice: Dramatically reduced flavour.

Additional Notes:  The “it’s a vibe” by Chill Street is a light, fruit wine inspired blend. With only a little bright apple, it’s much more of a cooler than a cider option. Pineapple is sweet but not sugary, balanced well with the Pinot Grigio. Easily crushable but still somewhat sweet. Quite watered-down when on-ice. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – No Boats on Sunday – Peach
More Sour – Revel – Mithras
More Dry – Slabtown – Pineapple Mimosa
More Crisp – 7 Shores – Peach Vanilla

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

 

No Boats on Sunday – Peach

Cider Profile:

Name: No Boats on Sunday – Peach
Sampled May 2021

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 44g/l

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Shale Ridge – Pear Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Pear Apple
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Steel Town – Vay Kay

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Vay Kay
Sampled April 2021

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

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Brickworks – Lime Margarita

Cider Profile:

Name: Brickworks – Lime Margarita Cider
Sampled April 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Slabtown – Honey Habanero

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Honey Habanero
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Niagara – Peach Chardonnay

Cider Profile:

Name:  Niagara – Peach Chardonnay
Sampled April 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Chill Street – Afternoon Delight

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill Street – Afternoon Delight
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Chill Street Craft Beverage Co.
Type: Apple – Wine-Infused
Location of Brewing: Elmdale, NS
ABV: 7.2%
Website Link: chillstreetcraftbeverageco.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Chill Street retail + online store
Flavour: Peach
Colour: Transparent yellow
Carbonation: Mixed size bubbles, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium bright aroma. A candied peach with some astringent notes. White grape and slight sweet dessert apple.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Smooth, juicy and sweet peach, some light white grape notes and a touch of dessert apples.
After Taste: Apple dissipates, leaving a bright, white grape/peach fruit wine element (minimal traditional riesling notes, even though it is a blend of that).  Non-apple elements linger. Slightly astringent but mild compared to a typical riesling aftertaste. 
On ice: Very little, if any change.

Additional Notes:  Chill Street’s Afternoon Delight is a blended cider/wine drink.  Smooth and more fruit-like than a typical riesling, its got some white grape notes, smooth and juicy peach along with a touch of sweet, dessert apples.   Blended so it remains soft and does not pick up any strong distinct notes from the wine or cider.  Easily could be confused for a Peach fruit wine. Light and easy to drink.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Peach
More Sour – Brickworks – Stadium Island Peach
More Dry – Ernest – Impeachmint
More Crisp – 

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

 

Kings Mill – Jalapeño

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Jalapeño
Sampled April 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Crimson Cider – Cranberry Sage

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson Cider – Cranberry Sage
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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 

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

Shale Ridge – Cabernet Funk

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Cabernet Funk
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Shale Ridge Hard Cider
Type: Flavoured – Grape
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: shaleridgeestatewinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Shale Ridge retail + online stores
Flavour: Red grape
Colour: Cloudy pink grapefruit
Carbonation: Small, very frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Red grape. Fermentation notes. Aged/funk aspects.
Initial Taste: Very tingly bite from carbonation. Once carbonation reduces, funky red grape come through. Hints of tart berries. Mild heritage apple notes.
After Taste: Grape notes linger but become smoother. Astringency appears briefly. Fermentation notes stay awhile, including some minerality.
On ice: Reduced flavour and mouthfeel. Very watered down.

Additional Notes:  Shale Ridge’s Cabernet Funk is a unique spin on a wine-inspired and infused cider. It strongly features red grape notes and leans more like a thin red wine than a rosé wine as we thought may be and is more standard. It features a lot of funky and fermentation notes that add to its depth but maybe are not for everyone. Slight hint of tart generic berry flavours and some mild heritage apples, but this is very much driven by the red grapes and funk notes throughout. Very carbonated, exploded on us upon opening and has a very tingly mouthfeel as a result. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Rose Cider
More Sour – Steel Town – Daga Carmesi
More Dry – Duntroon – Sumac
More Crisp – Stock & Row – Cold Tea

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

Grey & Gold – Highlander

Cider Profile:

Name: Grey & Gold – Highlander
Sampled February 2021

Brand:  Grey & Gold Cider Company
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: Clarksberg, ON
ABV: 6.8%
Website Link: greyandgoldcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Grey & Gold online + retail stores
Flavour: Hops
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Juicy hops with bright, heritage apples. Some funk.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity. Strong funk notes. Bright apples. Juicy citra hop notes that are lemony and sharp.
After Taste: Apple base slowly dwindles. Woody, earthy and acetic. Unique nuttiness. Ends dry with lingering wild notes.
On ice: Reduced flavours except it is slightly more hopped forward. Less sour.

Additional Notes:  The Highlander by Grey & Gold is a hopped cider but with a wild twist. Starting off with some strong funk notes, it makes way for some citra hopped notes that quickly come and dissipate. There is a bright apple base that remains the same the entire journey. Near the finish, the funkiness accelerates with woody and nutty notes appearing that linger awhile into and past the finish. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Ardiel – Big John Hopped

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