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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

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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

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Carlisle Cider – Tally Ho Valley

Cider Profile:

Name: Carlisle Cider – Tally Ho Valley
Sampled August 2021

Brand: The Carlisle Cider Company
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Carlisle, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: carlisleciderco.com
Ingredients: Apples, sulfites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Carlisle retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent light straw yellow
Carbonation: Fine streaming bubbles
with large still on the glass


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fermented, sulfur and funky notes. Medley of apples. Buttery notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from carbonation. Fermentation note forward. Bright, crisp apples that seem bitter-sharp dominate. Some earthy/funky/dank hints
After Taste: Apple characteristics remains the same but the intensity disappears quickly. Cleans out mostly with mild fermentation and dank notes lingering. Cucumber/vegetal aspects.
On ice: Carbonation and apple are cut. Funky notes more forward.

Additional Notes:  Carlisle’s Tally Ho Valley is a very rudimentary cider in nature, that is bold with fermentation, funk and dank notes. It’s a very front-flavour heavy cider that clears out quickly, with only small lingering vegetal notes in the finish. The apples for when they are noticeable are bright and bitter-sharp tasting. Has a very dark aspect to it, so maybe more for farmhouse cider lovers.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Clafeld – Smashed Apple
More Sour – West Avenue – Legend of the Fall
More Dry – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)
More Crisp – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry

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Cox Creek – Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: Cox Creek – Dry
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Cox Creek Cider (Cox Creek Cellars Estate Winery)
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Guelph, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: coxcreekcellars.on.ca
Ingredients: Apples, yeast
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Cox Creek Estate Retail and Online Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Large infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Dank, semi-sweet apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Smooth, semi-creamy apples with some bright and juicy elements.  Acidity is its main feature. Tart but not puckering or sour. Semi-thick with hints of stone fruit.
After Taste: Acidity dissipates becoming drier – including the apple flavours – with a slight film.  Long lingering with a full body.
On ice: Thinner and less apple/stone fruit elements.

Additional Notes:  Cox Creek Cellar Estate Winery offers their Dry Cider, which is more of a traditional cider and not overly winery-inspired in taste.  Full-flavoured, its punchy, semi-dry and juicy – also has unique hints of a stone fruit pit like a nectarine.  Clean but with a little film in the long lingering aftertaste. A hearty pub-drinking experience. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Apple Cider
More Sour – Pommies – Farmhouse Cider
More Dry – Sprit Tree – Draught
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honey Crisp

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Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Scrumpy

Cider Profile:

Name: Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Scrumpy
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Twin Pines Orchards and Ciderhouse
Type: Apple – Scrumpy
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: twinpineorchards.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 1L (bottle)
Availability: Twin Pines Retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent straw yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fermentation and funk. Creamy fleshy apple.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from carbonation. A semi-crisp and acidic apple that is naturally bright and fleshy that comes out quickly. Tonic notes and astringency. Bitterness.
After Taste: Apple dissipates rather quickly, leaving some fermentation notes that lingers.
On ice: Little reduction in carbonation. Not much difference for flavour, less harsh elements overall.

Additional Notes:  Twin Pines’ Hammer Bent Scrumpy is a very dry, authentic scrumpy experience that features bright apples amongst the prevalent bitter and harsher elements (like fermentation notes). The apple is also slightly creamy – which we think is unique for a scrumpy – but does not linger long. Semi-heavy on the fermentation process, it adds acidity, astringency and bitter notes. A good representation of the British style that’s not as overpowering as other scrumpies we have had in the past. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 2
Crisp – 3
Dry – 4.5
Fruity – 2.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Crisp Apple
More Sour – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Cowbell – Original Cider

Links to Other Stories

Bar review: Twin Pines – Scrumpy at Her Fathers Cider Bar (2016)

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Fieldbird – Sing Song (2018)

Cider Profile:

Name: Fieldbird – Sing Song (2018)
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Fieldbird Cider
Type: Apple – Traditional
Location of Brewing: Bloomfield, ON
ABV: 10.5%
Website Link: fieldbirdcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Fieldbird Retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent, Pale Yellow
Carbonation: Medium, Frequently Streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Cellared, earthy and slightly pulpy apple. Some astringency.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Followed by earthy and pulpy dry but bright apple notes. Some acidity and fermentation notes. Effervescent.
After Taste: Apple flavour reduced with more fermentation elements, becoming drier and then cleaning out, leaving little residual taste.
On ice: Heavily reduced carbonation, smoother and flavour

Additional Notes:  An original offering from Fieldbird Cider, the 2018 Sing Song is a dry, pulpy and earthy cider that’s easy to consume. A lot of elements with these bright apples, and one of the more crisp offerings. Complex but not confusing for the palate. Remember to let it breathe a bit as it does foam greatly when poured – even though it’s not overly carbonated when consumed. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Duxbury – Side Road
More Sour – Ironwood – Original Cider
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Heritage Estates – Dragon’s Gold

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Cowbell – Original Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Cowbell – Original Cider
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Cowbell Brewing
Type: Apple – Commercial
Location of Brewing: Blyth, ON
ABV: 5.0%
Website Link: cowbellbrewing.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Cowbell Brewery retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Hazy, rustic straw yellow
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell:  Light smell. Slightly funky and earthy/grassy
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Light, but fleshy unfiltered pulpy apple.  Sweet and smooth with slight green apple notes. Slight baking spice notes
After Taste: Becomes slightly pulpy and thicker. Very little peel notes that linger with clean elements.
On ice:  Less spiced and slightly more watered down.

Additional Notes:  Cowbell Brewing’s Original  Fresh Pressed Cider is a unique offering, that’s pulpy, slightly thicker, and with a little bit of green apple notes.  It has a nice, smooth apple that’s very fresh and fleshy.  Smooth comes to mind, with almost a bit of bright citrus notes in the aftertaste. Sweet but not sugary and a concentrated apple flavour. Drinks like a lager a bit. Commercially-oriented with a broad appeal to some cider enthusiasts as well. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Somersby – Apple
More Sour – Duxbury – Heritage 1650
More Dry – Spirit Tree – Draught Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury – Road Apples

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Steel Town – PORRO!

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – PORRO!
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Steel Town Cider Co.
Type: Apple – barrel-aged
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 6.2%
Website Link: steeltowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Steel Town online and retail store
Flavour: Apple and Pear
Colour:  Cloudy neon yellow
Carbonation: Medium frequently streaming.
Foams greatly upon pouring


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Very strong aroma. Heavy funk and cellaring. Acidity and astringency. Mature apples, including crab apple notes.
Initial Taste: Heavy bite from carbonation and acidity. Quickly astringency and harsh note forward. Bittersharp apples that taste aged.
After Taste: Once acidity weakens, some dank pear comes through. Cellar notes linger.
On ice: Carbonation reduced. Slightly smoother overall.

Additional Notes: Steel Town’s PORRO! is a very old-world inspired sidra made with both apple and pear. A very fermentation, barreling-focused cider, it’s about the processes and not as much the fruits which act mostly as a canvas to showcase these harsher, funkier flavours. Heavy on carbonation, it will probably foam over on you as it did us. The apples taste aged and mature, while the pear comes through rather dank and farmhouse near the finish. A funky, sour and intense offering, it’s a niche crowd cider. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Pear Apple Cider
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Twin Pines – Traditional Apple-Pear Cider

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Walkerville City – Argyle Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Walkerville City – Argyle Apple
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Walkerville City Cidery (Brewery)
Type: Apple – Traditional
Location of Brewing: Windsor, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: walkervillebrewery.com
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 19g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO 2021, Walkerville Brewery
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent, pale yellow
Carbonation: Large, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild aroma. Semi-sweet. Bright apples with slight sulphur notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Smooth, creamy, fleshy and pulpy apple notes. Clean with some brightness. Some bitter notes and some fermentation aspects.
After Taste: Apple drops out and becomes a little more like a crisp lager in taste.  More bitter and fermentation notes enter and it lingers a long time with a slight sulphur finish.
On ice: Little changes. Slightly less apple.

Additional Notes:  The Argyle Apple Cider by Walkerville City Cidery /Brewery is a medium bodied, apple forward offering that’s pretty clean but has a bit of sulphur and fermentation notes in the end.  It drinks a lot like a crisp lager and a standard pub cider, which makes sense with the brewery background.  Not too sweet, with a bit of peel and fleshy notes, its a  middle of the road cider all around, which isn’t a bad thing!

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Queen Street 501
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Artisinal Cider
More Dry – County – Waupoos Premium
More Crisp – Pommies – Farmhouse Cider

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Thornbury – Road Apples

Cider Profile:

Name: Thornbury – Road Apples [The Tragically Hip Cider]
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Thornbury Village Cider House
Type: Apple – Traditional
Location of Brewing: Thornbury, ON
ABV: 5.1%
Website Link: thornburycraft.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: 2021 – most provinces in Canada
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent straw yellow
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Slightly acidic and bright apples. 
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Bright apples with some tannin and acidic notes but extra clean. Slightly tart. Some peel grit and flavour.
After Taste: Becomes drier and slightly less apple focused. Some fermentation notes add depth. Semi-long lingering with a clean finish. Slight nut-like hints.
On ice: Much thinner on ice. Reduced flavour overall.

Additional Notes:  In collaboration with the iconic Canadian Rock Band, The Tragically Hip, the Road Apples by Thornbury is a very crisp, clean cider with some tannic and acidic elements. A little drier and brighter than their original, it finishes dry, clean and with some rather unique nutty notes. Smooth just like the music of the hip with some grit and depth like the songs as well. Fits well into the emerging definition of what an Ontario cider is, though it is rolling out to be available across Canada.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Apple Cider
More Sour – Revel – Time and Place
More Dry – Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Old World
More Crisp – Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry Cyder

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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 

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Loch Mór – Harrison

Cider Profile:

Name: Loch Mór – Harrison
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Loch Mór Cider Co
Type: Apple – Single varietal
Location of Brewing: Hillier, ON
ABV: 8.3%
Website Link: lochmorcider.com
Ingredients: Harrison apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Loch Mór online and retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Hazy rusty orange
Carbonation: Fine foam/bubbles that are still at top


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Caramelized and astringent apples. Funk and earth.
Initial Taste: No bite. Pulpy, caramelized apple notes with acidity on the nose. Orange/citrus hints. Thick with orange wine elements.
After Taste: Acidity continues, with apples becoming slightly drier, leaving your mouth pretty dry. Slight wood/earth hints that linger. Mild smokiness at the finish. Somewhat long lasting.
On ice: Much thinner body. Less harsh notes. More juice-forward.

Additional Notes:  Loch Mór’s Harrison is a part of their Danforth Road series that makes elevated offerings with rare and unique apples. This cider smells and tastes very different from one another. While it smells strong, astringent and funky, it’s actually much smoother to consume. A caramelized, pulpy apple flavour drives this throughout. While it smells decently alcoholic – and is 8.3% – it tastes much lighter. With some skin contact wine-like notes, its almost like a hybrid with an orange wine and an ice cider in flavour. Acidic, pulpy apples make this taste very juice forward – almost tastes like fresh pressed, unfiltered high quality juice.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heritage Estates – Dragon’s Gold
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Farmgate – Founders Reserve

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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

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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

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Archibald’s – Hard Core

Cider Profile:

Name:   Archibald’s – Hard Core Dry Cider
Sampled June 2021

Brand:  Archibald’s Estate Winery
Type:
Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing:
Bownmanville, ON
ABV:
8%
Website Link:
archibaldswinery.com
Ingredients:
N/A
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability:
Archibald’s online + retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  
Transparent Light-Yellow
Carbonation:
Large, infrequently-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Semi-musty, slightly earthy, mature apple.  Some effervescence.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Some tartness and acidity that shows up right after carbonation reduces. Dry, somewhat apple forward and quite naturally astringent. Red-peel notes.
After Taste:  Becomes more acidic and less apple focused, less sour, with more bitterness. Finishes with a slight film. Fermentation elements are present at the finish.
On ice: Less carbonation and overall intensity and apple elements reduced.  Less sour.

Additional Notes:  Archibald’s Hard Core Cider at 8% packs a punch.  It is very unique for an Ontario dry cider and is slightly earthy and astringent. Its a very element and fermentation note forward cider, with apple almost being secondary. Finishes dry and lingers a long time, where the more you drink the more you notice the red apple peel flavour and tannic grit.  Not a beginner cider, but one for an experienced cider drinker.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Loch Mor – Savvy Pomme
More Sour – Farm Gate – Hyslop
More Dry – Windswept – Northern Spy
More Crisp – Kings Mill – Russet Heritage

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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

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Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Old World

Cider Profile:

Name: Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Old World
Sampled August 2021

Brand: Twin Pines Orchards and Cider House
Type: Apple – Traditional
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 6.3%
Website Link:
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 1L (bottle)
Availability: Twin Pines retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Golden yellow
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Rich caramelized and crisp apples. Slightly tart and earthy.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Off-dry apples. Tannins and acidity. Red peel notes. Fermentation and alcohol notes present.
After Taste: Apple remains the same but becomes smoother and slightly more peel focused. Bitter/ fermentation elements reduces.
On ice: Carbonation almost eliminated. Less apple-forward.

Additional Notes:  Twin Pines’ Hammer Bent Old World Cider is a traditional, rudimentary cider to the maximum. Rich in apple flavours from start to finish, it has a lot of red peel notes that become more present near the end. Tannins, acidity, fermentation and astringency all greet you throughout the sipping journey to add depth and complexity. A cider connoisseurs dream but could also be loved by new cider drinkers looking to try something as traditional as possible in Ontario with no additives.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Duxbury – Side Road Cider
More Sour – Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry Cyder
More Dry – 
More Crisp – 

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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

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Heemans – Ambrosia

Cider Profile:

Name: Heemans – Ambrosia
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Heemans Cider
Type: Apple – Sweet
Location of Brewing: Thorndale, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: heeman.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Heemans retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent pale yellow
Carbonation: Large semi-streaming bubbles,
with a lot on the glass


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright, clean and rustic apple.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from carbonation. A quick thick and sweet honey and apple that is slightly pulpy, but bright. Floral essences.
After Taste: Apple continues, becomes slightly less sweet. Some underlying bitter hints. Honey comes out strong here. Lingering finish that is mostly clean except for some coating honey.
On ice: Slightly thinner mouthfeel. No flavour change.

Additional Notes:  Heeman’s Ambrosia Cider is a sweeter than anticipated cider, but it’s not sugary, and it is very driven by the Carolinian Honey added – in terms of sweetness, flavour and mouthfeel. The apple base is soft and uplifting, complimenting the heavy honey presence (that is most noticeable in the finish). The cider has some floral and bitter hints, adding to its complexity. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Dry Cider
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honey Crisp Cider

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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

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Carlisle Cider – Progreston Falls

Cider Profile:

Name: Carlisle Cider – Progreston Falls
Sampled June 2021

Brand: The Carlisle Cider Company
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Carlisle, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: carlisleciderco.com
Ingredients: Apples, sulfites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Carlisle retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent light straw yellow
Carbonation: Fine streaming bubbles with large still on the glass


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Heavy fermentation notes. Punchy, semi-pungent apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Thick medley of apple flavours. Heavy fermentation notes. Carbonation adds tonic notes. A touch of funk.
After Taste: As fermentation notes clear out, it becomes slightly brighter and sweeter.  Tannins coat the mouth, also lingering with some flavour. Mild maple and earthy notes.
On ice: Becomes thinner, slightly reduced flavour and carbonation.

Additional Notes:  Carlisle’s Progreston Falls is a fermentation flavour driven cider, with a medley of apple flavours noticeable. The carbonation adds a lot of mouthfeel and some tonic flavour, but doesn’t last long. Once the fermentation notes clean out, the apples become brighter and sweeter. Throughout there are mild alternative flavour notes, including some funk and some earthiness. A decent amount of tannins in this one. A refreshing farm-cider option. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Hounds of Erie – Best in Show
More Sour – Steel Town – Session Cider
More Dry – West Avenue – Frequin Rouge
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honey Crisp Apple

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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

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Loch Mór – Savvy Pomme

Cider Profile:

Name: Loch Mór – Savvy Pomme
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Loch Mór Cider Co
Type:  Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Hillier, ON
ABV: 8.5%
Website Link: lochmorcider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Loch Mór Retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent, sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Mixed, lightly streaming bubbles.
Heavy carbonation when first opened.


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet pulpy and bright apple with hints of pineapple.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Sweet and smooth apple that’s creamy with some acidic notes. Bright pineapple-like notes. Rich fermentation flavours.
After Taste: Apple reduces and becomes a little more dry and acidic. Some long lasting tannic notes. 
On ice: Carbonation is slightly reduced. A little more acidic and less apple forward

Additional Notes:  Loch Mór’s Savvy Pomme is a uniquely smooth cider that is is off-dry yet still higher in tannic elements and acidity.  Even being as delicate as it appears, it’s much higher in alcohol than you would think at 8.5. Rich in fermentation notes and depth. It is easy to drink with a long lingering aftertaste.  Has a unique pineapple flavour to it, although it is a single varietal offering.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Slab Town – Pineapple Mimosa
More Sour – Steel Town – Salvaje (Pet Nat)
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – Kings Mill – Russet Heritage

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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 

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Stock and Row – Lime Crush

Cider Profile:

Name: Stock and Row – Lime Crush
Sampled June 2021

Brand: Stock and Row Inc.
Type: Flavoured – Lime
Location of Brewing: Bloomfield, ON
ABV: 4.5%
Website Link: stockandrow.com
Ingredients: Apples, key lime juice concentrate,
sugar, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Stock and Row online store and
select licensees

Flavour: Lime
Colour: Hazy limeade hue
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. A tangy and punchy lime. Some mild dank, funky, fermentation notes
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Sharp tangy lime with other citrus hints. Some dessert apples are present, along with a little funk.  
After Taste: Apples and funky notes dissipate, leaving a simple lime juice finish with a hint of sweetness that smoothes out the lime punch.
On ice: Minimal change

Additional Notes:  Stock & Row offers their 3rd offering, the Lime Crush, which is a very lime juice forward offering with a light, crisp, dessert apple base.  Although slightly funky and with fermentation note to start, it finishes clean and almost like a limeade drink. Strong overall in flavour, enhanced by a lower (if any) filtration. Decently tangy/sour but should not be puckering for most. You have to like lime to enjoy this one.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 4
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 3
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Lime Margarita
More Sour – 
More Dry – Kings Mill – Mojito
More Crisp – Slabtown – Mojito de Manzana

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Kings Mill – Arrested Development (Carbonated)

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Arrested Development (carbonated)
Sampled June 2021

Brand:  King’s Mill Cider
Type: Apple – Off-dry
Location of Brewing: Stirling, ON
ABV: 10%
Website Link: kingsmillcider.ca
Ingredients: Ontario heritage apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Kings Mill retail + online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent semi-bright yellow
Carbonation:  Small, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Mostly dry apples with hints of floral and must.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quickly followed by a semi-sweet apple base that is slightly tangy and acidic. Mild honey and floral hints. Effervescent. 
After Taste:  Acidity and tanginess grow, lingers a long time.  Very clean finish, sweeter as time goes on but no grittiness.
On ice: Smoother on ice, less tangy, less crisp and thinner. 

Additional Notes:  Arrested Development by Kings Mill Cider is a  clean, crisp and slightly acidic cider.  Made with heritage apples, its mostly dry with a hint of sweetness, making it an off-dry selection.  A traditional, easy to drink cider, you would almost think it’s a “light cider offering, but it’s 10% and it will sneak up on you. It gets tangier as the bottle warms with a long lasting aftertaste. A very good traditional cider that refreshes.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Apple Cider
More Sour – Stock & Row – Slow & Low
More Dry – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)
More Crisp – 

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Farmgate – Hyslop

Cider Profile:

Name: Farmgate – Hyslop
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Farmgate Cider
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Carp, ON
ABV: 9.5%
Website Link: farmgatecider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability: Farmgate online store
+ select Ottawa farmers markets

Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Rusty orange
Carbonation: Large streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet apple, with vanilla hints. Unique pear smell.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Initially a very clean and bright bittersharp apple. Then it builds in acidity and tannic properties, with some sour crab apple-like notes emerging. Vanilla and pear hints.
After Taste: Becomes less clean, more apple peel focused. More dry and gritty. Some acidity that lingers.
On ice: Thinner mouthfeel. Weakened flavours. Less tannic.

Additional Notes:  The Hyslop by Farmgate will surprise you – it smells somewhat sweet but it is a very dry cider. Starting off very clean and bittersharp forward, it becomes acidic, tannic and gritty from the hyslop apples. But they are slightly countered with unique vanilla and pear like notes that emerge. Towards the end it becomes very peel oriented and even drier. Being very different in smell than taste and with a unique apple flavour we cannot recall tasting anywhere else, it is a unique journey worth taking. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Waupoos Premium Cider
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose (2019)
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Clafeld – Spy

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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

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Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Empire Extra Dry Cyder
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Duntroon, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: duntrooncyderhouse.com
Ingredients: Apples
Gluten Free: yes
Sugar Content: 0g/L 

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO and Duntroon Cyder House
retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet and pulpy apple with slight acidity
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Punchy bright apples that are semi-sweet (naturally so) and very crisp. Extra clean. Honey essences.
After Taste: Apple dissipates becoming drier but leaving most of the other elements the same.  Somewhat long lingering.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and some sharp elements.

Additional Notes: The Empire by Duntroon Cyder House is a strong example of an extra clean and crisp single varietal.  Very apple focused, it has a strong flavour and body from start to finish. Empire flavour is naturally semi-sweet and very bright but its a dry cider – with no added sugar. Not as sweet and juicy as it smells, but very crisp and refreshing with a bit of a kick from the apples. Lots of flavour and character for having just 1 type of apple and only apples as an ingredient. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Original Apple Cider
More Sour – Duxbury – Heritage 1650
More Dry – Liberty Village – Extra Dry Cider
More Crisp – 

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Spirit Tree – Estate Reserve (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – Estate Reserve (2019)
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Spirit Tree Cider Co. 
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Caledon, ON
ABV: 8.5%
Website Link: spirittreecider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Spirit Tree online + retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent sunshine yellow
Carbonation: Small, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright apples amongst tannic, funky apple notes. Earthy hints.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from carbonation and acidity. Bright, slightly acetic apples that are tannic and rustic. Some bitterness and a mild astringency. Medley of apple varieties. Effervescence.
After Taste: Apples remain the same but become slightly more funky in nature. Earthy notes with hints of oak. Mostly clean finish with some mild tannic residue. 
On ice:  Carbonation reduced. Harsher elements reduced, becomes slightly more smooth.

Additional Notes:  The 2019 Vintage of Spirit Tree’s Estate Cider is a milder than expected cider drinking experience that still has a lot of the expected estate cider elements. Tannic and mostly dry, there is a bright medley of apple varieties present here, but they present lighter than you many anticipate. Its a good starter cider into estate ciders that have tannic/heritage/estate varieties. Would pair well with food as it would not interrupt the flavours much. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Busl – Aurum Apple Cider
More Sour – West Avenue – Spontaneity
More Dry – FieldBird – 2018 Sur Lie Perry
More Crisp – Duxbury – Five Metre Scrum

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Steel Town – Guav AF

Cider Profile:

Name: Steel Town – Guav AF
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Steel Town Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Guava
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: steeltowncider.com
Ingredients: Pressed apples, guava, vanilla, milk sugar, yeast
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: Steel Town online and retail store
Flavour: Guava
Colour:  Cloudy orange/peach
Carbonation: Fine, frequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Funky and sour guava.  Some juicy and lactose bitterness is noticeable.  Not many apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity and semi-soft carbonation.  Sour guava that is thick and funky – and somewhat punchy.  Some bitter-sharp and bright apples in the background. Creamy yet slightly bitter lactose.
After Taste: Intensity reduces overall as flavour mellows. Apple pulp makes a brief appearance.  Not overly long lasting and is less punchy, but some dry and earthy elements remain.
On Ice: Thinner, less punch.  Slightly more creamy. Cuts off aftertaste dramatically.


Additional Notes:  Steel Town’s Guav AF won a nod for one of our favourite ciders in 2017 at the Toronto Cider Festival and now it’s available in cans.  It’s a sour barrel-aged cider that could be puckering to some but too overly sour offering for us, with a lot of earthy and funky elements that are balanced to the semi-sharp apples. Thick but not gritty. Creamy and tart guava adds a unique dynamic to it. Lactose adds creaminess and some milk sugar bitterness. Very much fermentation forward, its a unique offering that fits very well into the Steel Town repertoire   Contains lactose = allergy alert.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Slabtown – Cucumber Mint

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Rosewood – Pomme D’or

Cider Profile:

Name: Rosewood – Pomme D’or
Sampled May 2021

Brand: Rosewood Winery Estates
Type: Cyser  – Apple Spirit
Location of Brewing: Beamsville, On
ABV: 20%
Website Link: rosewoodwine.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Rosewood online and retail
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent rust
Carbonation: Still


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Caramelized sweet apples with a light astringency
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Sweet thick and syrupy caramelized apple with a slightly burnt honey note
After Taste: Elements from the barrels become more noticeable (woody and earthy) as the apples reduce. Lingers a while but with little apple elements.
On ice: Watered down and much less flavourful

Additional Notes:  The Pomme D’Or by Rosewood Estate Winery is a Cyser (apples with honey) that has been fortified into a dessert-style spirit at 20%.  It’s sweeter than many other apple spirit offerings yet still has a nice kick.  Honey provides a unique element, along with the barreling notes that are not overpowering.  

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

From Rosewood Winery: The cyser-Bochet (Cyser being honey wine made with apple and bochet being a honey wine made of burnt hone) is bone dry, all sugar was consumed during ferment or the forced caramelization of the honey prior to ferment. Wild fermented. It was aged for 1.5 years in French oak prior to 1.5 years in freshly emptied calvados barrels (French apple brandy barrels, very rare to get). It was bottled without filtration or fining. It’s a one of a kind production

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Kings Mill – Ice Cider
More Sour – Calvados Boulard – Pays ‘dauge
More Dry – Loch Mor – Pommeau
More Crisp – County Cider – Prince Edward County Ice Cider

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Clafeld – Spy

Cider Profile:

Name: Clafeld – Spy
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Clafeld Cider House
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Picton, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: waupooswinery.com/cider-house
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 5g/L

Size(s) available: 500ml & 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Waupoos Winery Online Store
+ Clafeld retail store

Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent mustard yellow
Carbonation: Large infrequently bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet aroma of bright apples. Cotton candy notes. Mild acidity.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Quick acidic and semi-dry apple. Naturally sweet, bright apple notes. Cotton candy elements. Extra crisp.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues with its acidity slowly dwindling. Clean finish. Semi-long lasting.
On ice: Less carbonation and less acidity. Flavour less prominent.

Additional Notes:  Clafeld’s single varietal Spy Cider is a very crisp cider that grasps the palate with natural acidity from the apple. A dry cider but with naturally sweet and bright apple flavours, its got a clean flavour but somewhat coating of the mouth. Unique cotton candy-esque flavour notes detected. Very apple forward with not too many alcohol fermentation flavours or other flavour notes present.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Front Road – The Spy
More Sour – FieldBird – Northern Spy (2017)
More Dry – Windswept – Northern Spy (2018)
More Crisp – 

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Busl – Aurum

Cider Profile:

Name: Busl – Aurum
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Busl Cider
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Mallorytown, ON
ABV: 6.0%
Website Link: buslcider.com
Ingredients: Apple cider
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Busl online + retail stores
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent, light yellow
Carbonation: Mixed, semi-frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Smooth, sweet, pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Light carbonation. Smooth and semi-creamy, slightly sweet apple that is light. Soft apple that dances with the carbonation for a bit.
After Taste: Sweet apple reduces and becomes slightly earthy and a touch musty. Long lingering aftertaste that is slightly thick.
On ice: Less bright apples and carbonation.

Additional Notes:  Busl Cider’s straight apple offering the Aurum, is an apple-forward, simple and sweeter apple cider that is bright and pulpy in nature. Aftertaste is pretty minimal, but slightly earthy/natural and musty with some elements that are somewhat herby and tonic-like.  A lot of classic apple juice elements in this soft but refreshing offering. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Honeycrisp
More Sour – Duxbury – Five Metre Scrum
More Dry – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Crisp – Spy Ciderhouse – Golden Eye

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Kings Mill – Russet Heritage

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Russet Heritage
Sampled April 2021

Brand:  Kings Mill Cider
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Stirling, ON
ABV: 8.8%
Website Link: kingsmillcider.company.site
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Kings Mill retail + online
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent pale yellow
Carbonation: Large streaming bubble


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Thick, juicy golden russet. Some fermentation notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from carbonation. Quickly juicy from bright golden russet apples. Heavy tannins and acidity add layers. Some earthy hints.
After Taste: Golden russet notes remain the same. Acidity weakens with some more fermentation notes appearing. Dry but bright finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation, acidity and tannins. Slightly sweeter.

Additional Notes:   Kings Mill Russet Heritage is a wonderfully forceful offering that can satisfy everyone from longtime cider connoisseurs to new cider fans. Very juicy, it is tannic and acidic, delighting the taste buds with a lot to dissect, and yet somehow still very smooth to drink. The apple notes are bright and clear. A dry cider with a lot of heritage fruit grit. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Two Blokes – Golden Mile
More Sour – Duntroon – Two Parish Perry
More Dry – FieldBird – Northern Spy (2017)
More Crisp – Hoity Toity – 283 Cider

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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

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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

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Duxbury – Five Metre Scrum

Cider Profile:

Name: Duxbury – Five Metre Scrum
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Duxbury Cider
Type: Apple – Oaked
Location of Brewing: Meaford, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: www.theduxburyciderco.ca
Ingredients: Ontario apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 10 g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Duxbury online store
Flavour: Apple + oak
Colour:  Transparent light yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright, tannic apples.  Nutty and oak notes. Mild astringency.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity. Quick bright and tannic apples. Oak and wood notes. Crisp and tart.
After Taste: Apples become slightly drier. Mild astringency undertones come out. Clean, dry finish with lingering apple tannins that tickle the palate.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Thinner mouthfeel and less tannins.

Additional Notes:  Duxbury’s Five Metre Scrum is a dry cider offering with a nice oak/wood note twist, being double oaked. Very crisp, acidic and tannic, this is a very satisfying traditional cider to consume. The apples are bright, but dry, and it has a mild astringency that is more prevalent near the finish. A rich but smooth cider with a lot of depth, and on par for Duxbury portfolio of offerings.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – East Street – Landmark Dry
More Sour – Steel Town – Salvaje (Pet Nat)
More Dry – West Avenue – Frequin Rouge
More Crisp – Hoity Toity Cellars – 283 Cider

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Heeman’s – Dry Empire

Cider Profile:

Name: Heeman’s – Dry Empire
Sampled May 2021

Brand:  Heeman’s Cider
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Thorndale, ON
ABV: 7%
Website Link: heeman.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Heeman’s retail and online store
Flavour: Empire Apple
Colour:  Transparent pale-golden yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright and slightly dry apples with some tannic elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite followed by slightly tangy/tart and tannic apples that are bright and punchy. Balanced but tantalizing acidity.
After Taste: Becomes slightly drier and a little earthy in the long lasting aftertaste. Cleans out of the mouth well.
On ice: Slightly thinner, but no real flavour change.

Additional Notes:  Heeman’s Dry Empire is a single varietal that really captures how crisp and clean an Empire Apple can be. It’s bright and uplifting with some tannic elements. Clean all the way though with a somewhat long aftertaste. Not many fermentation notes here, as such it is very crushable. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 4.5
Dry – 3.5
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet
More Sour – Revel – Time and Place
More Dry – Kings Mill – Russet Heritage Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Apple

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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

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Carlisle – Chapel on the Twelve

Cider Profile:

Name: Carlisle – Chapel on the Twelve
Sampled April 2021

Brand:  Carlisle Cider Company
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Carlisle, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: carlisleciderco.com
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Carlisle online + retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent marigold
Carbonation: Medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright, baked apple. Molasses and brown sugar notes. Minerality.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Quick earthiness and bitter notes. Unique mineral notes. Baked apple with peel notes. Grittiness. Spruce/foliage undertones.
After Taste: Apple becomes more peel and caramelized. Pepper and wood notes. Semi-sweet finish some molasses hints.
On ice: Slight reduction in carbonation and flavour but overall very similar to off ice.

Additional Notes:  Carlisle Cider Co’s Chapel on the Twelve is a unique cider that stands out in a large Ontario cider industry with different flavour notes that appear throughout the journey. You get a baked apple flavour that is somewhat caramelized in nature, with earthiness, wood/forest like notes and some soft pungency. There are also unique mineral notes that add depth and intrigue. A rustic, almost ‘backwoods’-tasting offering that is very rudimentary in taste and experience.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Apple Cider
More Sour – Revel – Time and Place
More Dry – Kings Mill – Russet Heritage
More Crisp – Hoity Toity Cellars – 283 Cider

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West Avenue – Honey Monster

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Honey Monster
Sampled April 2021

Brand:  West Avenue Cider House
Type: Apple – Cyser
Location of Brewing: Freelton, ON
ABV: 9.5%
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: Apple + honey
Colour:  Transparent sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Large, infrequently streaming


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

 Smell: Strong aroma. Pungent honey and tannic apple. Some acidity and sourness.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick earthy, pungent honey that is rustic and aged. Barrel oak notes. Tannic but bright apples. Astringency.
After Taste: As harsher elements weaken, honey becomes smoother. Funk notes. Dry, dank finish.
On ice: Becomes thinner and harsher elements weakened. More apple forward.

Additional Notes:  West Avenue’s Honey Monster is a bold cider that doesn’t hold back on the natural flavours from fermenting honey and cider together. A very rustic and aged tasting offering, the cider really shines in the initial moments, with a pungent/earthy/natural honey taste that has notes of oak and barreling, with some harsher astringency. The honey becomes smoother in the aftertaste, being bright but also very dry overall. Apples are also bright but decently tannic. A large departure from other honey cysers/ciders available in Ontario. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Niagara Cider – Beekeepers Botanical
More Sour – Slabtown – Honey Habanero 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Ernest – Original Dry Cider

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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

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Collective Arts – Blood Orange & Cranberry

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Blood Orange & Cranberry 
Originally sampled April 2021
Updated June 2021 (w/ LCBO version)

Brand: Collective Arts Cider
Type: Flavoured – Cranberry and Blood Orange
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.8%
Website Link: collectiveartsontario.com
Ingredients: Apples, blood orange concentrate, cranberry juice
concentrate, orange flavour, yeast, orange oil, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 7g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Collective Arts Online & Retail Store, LCBO (2021)
Flavour: Blood Orange and Cranberry
Colour: Transparent peachy orange
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Creamy citrus with some cranberry tartness. Slight dry apple
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Semi-strong blood orange and citrus notes. Some cranberry tartness. Mild creaminess a mild apple base.
After Taste: Blood orange becomes stronger, with cranberry hanging on but weakening. Clean finish that is slightly sharp with lingering citrus notes.
On ice: Slightly reduced flavour and carbonation but little difference.

Additional Notes: The Blood Orange & Cranberry Cider by Collective Arts is a citrus -forward offering that has some slightly funky and dry apple notes.  Sour and blended citrus to start, the blood orange elements become more defined in the aftertaste. Cranberry is very mild and seems to only add a slight tartness. The LCBO version is obviously filtered, as its cleaner and not cloudy like the brewery original version. Not that much traditional apple. Blood orange + citrus are the defining elements in this cider – may not know its a cider if you were not told.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pommies – Mimosa
More Sour – Steel Town – Vay Kay
More Dry – Rice Lake – Cranberry
More Crisp – Thornbury – Blood Orange

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Revel – Mithras

Cider Profile:

Name: Revel – Mithras
Sampled April 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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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

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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 – 

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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

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Windswept – Northern Spy (2018)

Cider Profile:

Name: Windswept Orchard Cider – Northern Spy (2018)
Sampled April 2021

Brand: Windswept Orchard Cider
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Meaford, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: windsweptcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Windswept retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent rustic orange
Carbonation: Large, frequently streaming with some foam.
Heavily carbonated. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet pulpy and thick apples (ice cider-like aspects).
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation, Sweet, pulpy and thick apples that have some rustic and slightly earthy elements. Caramelized and bright apple.
After Taste: Somewhat clean finish, slightly less bright and sweet.  Finishes drier with a lot of peel notes. Some trub in the bottom.
On ice: Less sweet and bright, similar carbonation levels. More fermentation notes.

Additional Notes: The Northern Spy (2018) by Windswept Orchard Cider is a thick, caramelized apple-focused wild pet-nat cider.  Slightly rustic, with a lot of flavour – has a bunch of ice-cider elements without the astringency.  A lot of carbonation and tingle.  For us, this one gets better at time as it ages in the bottle (bottle conditioned as well).  A bit of trub, but be mindful of shaking it before opening as there is a chance of a foam-over.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Original Apple Cider
More Sour – West Avenue – Legend of the Fall
More Dry – FieldBird – Northern Spy (2017)
More Crisp – Farmgate – North Road

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Pierre Huet – Cidre Bouché Brut

Cider Profile:

Name: Pierre Huet – Cidre Bouché Brut
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Calvados Pierre Huet
Type: Apple – French Cidre
Location of Brewing: Cambremier, France
ABV: 4.5%
Website Link: calvados-huet.com/gb
Ingredients: Apples, yeast, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: LCBO Vintages + LCBO online store
(Chalk, Slate Gravel import)

Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent, rustic orange
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet, caramelized, pulpy bittersweet apples. Cellar/musty notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite, but quickly thick. Heavy and rich bittersweet apples that are caramelized. Underlying astringency that is dull. Syrupy golden apples with some mild tart notes.
After Taste: Apple remains similar, becomes slightly more dry. Cellar/aged/musty notes come through. Long lingering elements.
On ice: Much thinner. Reduced flavour. Less sweet.

Additional Notes:  Pierre Huet’s Cidre Bouché Brut is a rustic, aged beauty that can mentally transport you to an old world cellar. Very rich, it’s got a thick mouthfeel that is syrupy and leaves a film. Heavy bittersweet apples define this with caramelized notes, amongst some mild crab apple hints. Tastes very aged, with sharp cellar notes that taste like damp wood but trust us, if you’re a fan like us, its very delicious. Dry mouthfeel that is gritty and long lingering.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 2.5
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 3
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Kupela -Bizia Semi-Dry
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose 2019
More Dry – Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony 
More Crisp – Heemans – New Traditions

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