The Cider Crate

Author: Bethany

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://staging.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://staging.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://staging.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://staging.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://staging.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://staging.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://staging.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://staging.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://staging.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://staging.thecidercrate.com/cider-type/coffin-ridge-tropical-hopped/

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

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!

Baked Caramel Apple Pie

Baked Caramel Apple Pie

Apple PieIngredients
4 parts apple cider (Recommended: Thornbury Cider)
1 shot Galliano vanilla liqueur
1 shot butterscotch liqueur
1/2 shot cinnamon whiskey
Ice
Optional: a cinnamon stick or a dash of cinnamon powder

Substitutions
More dry cider: Pommies Dry Cider
More crisp cider: Angry Orchard Hard Cider
More sweet cider: Brickworks Queen Street 501
Swap Galliano for Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka

Description
If you are looking for a dessert in a glass, this is a stellar cocktail. A cider reminiscent of the pie your grandma makes for special occasions, it is a warming, very sweet concoction that has all the flavours you’d find in an apple pie – including the vanilla ice cream scoop on the side!

The Cherry Berry Orchard

cherryberrycocktail2

The Cherry Berry Orchard

Ingredients
2 or 3 parts Cider (Recommended: A dry cider)
1 part Shock Top Raspberry Wheat Beer
1 shot cherry brandy (recommended: McGuinness Brand)
Ice

Substitutions
More crisp cider: Brickworks Batch 1904
More sweet cider: Magnotta Small Batch Cider
Any raspberry wheat beer

 

Description
This beer-cider cocktail is perfect for a warm, sunny day. It is fizzy, foamy and very refreshing. Bursting with many different fruit flavours, its sweet, sour and fully delicious.