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Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – Crabapple Rose 2019
Sampled March 2021

Brand:  Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Type: Apple – Crabapple
Location of Brewing: Caledon, ON
ABV: 7.5%
Website Link: spirittreecider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Spirit Tree Retail and Online Stores
Flavour: Crabapple
Colour:  Transparent rust
Carbonation: Small, frequently-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Syrupy notes, with tart crab apple and lots of maple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Starts with a blend of bittersweet apple, with some acidic notes and sour elements. Thick, syrupy mouthfeel and flavour.
After Taste: Sour intensity builds and builds and becomes puckering + wincing.  Any sweetness is removed by this point. Long lingering.  The sour elements are dry and tannic. Rosé elements are more present in the finish. Gritty mouthfeel.
On ice: Waters it down.

Additional Notes:  The Spirit Tree Crabapple Rose is an intense cider.  It starts semi-sweet and builds to extremely sour, tannic and dry.  This offering has both sour and rosé elements, being very apple forward.  On-ice helps to cut some of the intensity, but still very strong.  Red peel notes are very dominant. Very puckering and sour, it builds in intensity for a long time, every sip. However, you do become accustomed to the sourness, but absolutely one of – if not the most – sour cider we’ve had.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shiny – Rosé Cider
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Heeman’s – Berry Blush

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Two Blokes – Golden Mile

Cider Profile:

Name: Two Blokes Cider – Golden Mile (Golden Russet)
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Two Blokes Cider
Type: Apple – Single Varietal
Location of Brewing: Port Perry, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: twoblokes.ca
Ingredients: Cider, honey, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Two Blokes Online and Retail Shop
Flavour: Golden Russet
Colour:  Transparent, light-golden yellow.
Carbonation: Small, infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Pulpy, semi-acidic and tart apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Gritty, semi-sweet, pulpy apples with some bitter notes.  Very crisp with some nutty, honey and pear hints. A forward but balanced acidity.
After Taste: Becomes slightly drier as time passes with a long lingering aftertaste. More peel notes in the aftertaste. Honey additives become more obvious.
On ice: Watered down and less sweet.

Additional Notes: The Golden Mile by Two Blokes Cider Is an unfiltered single-varietal Golden Russet offering. It is dry, nutty and very crisp.  With a lot of peel notes, it’s got some pear-like elements and is long lasting.  A lot of flavour overall, though watered-down on ice.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet
More Sour – West Avenue –Spontaneity
More Dry – Windswept – Cyser
More Crisp – East Street – Landmark Dry

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Heeman’s – Berry Blush

Cider Profile:

Name: Heeman’s – Berry Blush
Sampled March 2021

Brand: Heeman’s Hard Apple Cider
Type: Flavoured – Mixed berry
Location of Brewing: Thorndale, ON
ABV: 5.0%
Website Link: heeman.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Heeman retail and online store
Flavour: Mixed Berry
Colour: Transparent vivid-red
Carbonation: Infrequent large streaming bubbles.  


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell:  Mild aroma. Juicy mixed berry with strawberry and semi-tart raspberry.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Strong, juicy strawberry and soft, smooth dessert apple – with creamy raspberry.
After Taste: Raspberry dissipates and apples slightly reduced. Strawberry becomes more predominant and lingers a long time. 
On ice: Strawberry reduced a lot for a more balanced flavour profile.  A lot weaker overall.

Additional Notes:   The Berry Blush Hard Apple Cider by Heeman’s is a light but flavourful offering. It’s strawberry forward, with lots of juicy and creamy strawberry elements.  Softer, pulpy dessert apples make a flavourful base that’s accompanied by some tart raspberries that leave it balanced and not overly sweet.  A lot of flavour that lasts a long time. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heritage Estates – Eden’s Apple Strawberry
More Sour – Spy Cider – Crimson Tide
More Dry – Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb
More Crisp – Reinhart’s – Strawberry Hibiscus

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Shale Ridge – Crisp Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Crisp Apple
Sampled November 2020

Brand: Shale Ridge Estate Winery
Type: Apple
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: shaleridgewinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Via Shale Ridge retail and online store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent Yellow
Carbonation: Medium, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fresh juicy, bittersharp apples
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Medium apple with some bitter-sharp notes. Crisp and slightly tangy.
After Taste: Carbonation exits rapidly. Some stone fruit elements in aftertaste.  Becomes more dry, but cleans out somewhat quickly. Some banana-ester-like notes.
On ice: Less carbonation. Little other change.

Additional Notes:  The Crisp Apple by Shale Ridge, is very crisp and pleasantly simple. Very clean, and mostly bittersharp-apple focused (not too sweet, slightly tangy) with some acidic notes, the offering is a great example of a very refreshing cider. A fizzy pour but a lighter mouthfeel overall.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Queen Street 501
More Sour – Pommies – Farmhouse Cider
More Dry – Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp

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Chill St – Berry Naughty

Cider Profile:

Name: Chill St – Berry Naughty
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Chill Street Cider
Type: Flavoured – Strawberry and lime
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 and online store
Flavour: Strawberry lime
Colour: Transparent, light orange/peach
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet strawberry and candied dessert apple.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Light mouthfeel with sweet candied strawberry and supporting dessert apples.
After Taste: Apple dissipates with a slight film. Strawberry remains awhile. Some sweet lime present in the aftertaste.  Somewhat long lingering.
On ice: Reduced carbonation

Additional Notes:  The Berry Naughty by Chill Street Ciders is a light and sweet offering that is very strawberry forward with candied notes.  It’s bright, lightly carbonated and lingers a while in the mouth.  Comparable to some international brands like Rekorderlig & Kopparberg Strawberry Lime ciders.  

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 – Annapolis Cider – Sour Cherry
More Dry – Bulwark – Blush
More Crisp – No Boats on Sunday – Dry Rosé

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Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Bittersweet Symphony
Sampled February 2021

Brand: Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Duntroon, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: duntrooncyderhouse.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Duntroon Retail and Online Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Transparent, rustic yellow/orange
Carbonation: Large on glass,
small infrequently streaming bubbles 



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bittersweet apples. Hint of crab and tannic elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation, followed by strong, acidic, tannic and sour apples. Some earthy elements, pretty dry but still has a natural sweeter, slightly thicker-than-average cider base.
After Taste: Clears out quite quickly. Leaving just a dry mouth feel. Not much residual apple. 
On ice: Less apple forward, slightly less sweet.

Additional Notes:  The Bittersweet Symphony by Duntroon Cyder House is a unique, Ontario fusion take on combining elements from French and tannic, dry English cider styles. It’s got a strong acidic and tannic start, that quickly transitions to some earthy but sweet elements.  Somewhat thick, with a very short aftertaste leaving only a dry finish.  A lot going on in a short while, and defies what a typical dry cider is with the sweet elements still present.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Hounds of Erie – Best in Show
More Sour – West Ave – Spontaneity
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Hard Way – Renegade

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West Avenue – Spontaneity

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Spontaneity
Sampled February 2021

Brand: West Avenue Cider House
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Flamborough, ON
ABV: 7.8%
Website Link: westavenue.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: West Avenue Online and Retail Store 
Flavour: Crab apple
Colour: Translucent, orange-yellow
Carbonation: Small, infrequently-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Tannic crab apple focused with some earthy notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Starts with a bright apple that quickly is overtaken by a strong sour and pungent wild tasting crab apple. Rather funky and earthy.
After Taste: Both sweet and crab apple notes dissipates, leaving more funky, earthy and almost grass-like elements. Some fermentation notes and lemon-like notes linger.
On ice: A little softer. Less forcefulness but similar flavour profile.

Additional Notes:  The Spontaneity by West Avenue Cider House has three distinct phases: 1) a quick, bright apple that is dramatically taken over by 2) a sour and tangy wild crab apple taste that is punchy and puckering (we winced). As the apple dissipates, it leaves 3) more funky and earthy fermentation elements, with hints of citrus like lemon.  A very funky sour and wild flavour. Not a beginner cider, something to progressively work towards in our opinion (worth the work though!).

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Two Blokes – Lost Orchard (2019)
More Sour – 
More Dry – 
More Crisp – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)

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Collective Arts – Blackberry & Peach

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Blackberry & Peach
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Collective Arts Brewing Co.
Type: Flavoured – Blackberry and Peach
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.7%
Website Link: collectiveartscider.com
Ingredients: Apples, blackberry concentrate, natural peach flavour,
natural blackberry flavour, lime oil, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Collective Arts Online and retail stores
Flavour: Blackberry & Peach
Colour: Translucent, purplish-red
Carbonation: Medium, infrequent bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet blackberries with some tart notes. Some peach pit notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite carbonation. Some tart blackberry and a hint of sweet peach and dessert apples that dissipate quickly.
After Taste: Apple removed leaving tangy blackberry with mild peach pit note. Most of the experience is in the aftertaste.  Some sticky notes in the mouth from blackberry. Mild underlying notes from lime oil.
On ice: Carbonation greatly reduced, much more juice like.

Additional Notes: The Blackberry & Peach by Collective Arts Cider is a cider without much apple elements.  Dominated by tart and then tangy blackberries, it’s supported by fresh peach elements and are noticeable especially when you think of them. Little apple, it reminds us more of a mixed cocktail, especially due to the soft carbonation.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Blackberry Peach
More Sour – Beaver Valley – Bumbleberry
More Dry – Howell Road – Blackberry Pear
More Crisp – Hard Way – Ramboozle

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Two Blokes – Lost Orchard (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Two Blokes – Lost Orchard (2019)
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Two Blokes Cider Co.
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Port Perry, ON
ABV: 6.7%
Website Link: twoblokes.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Two Blokes Online Store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Still



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Smooth, creamy pulpy and bright apple notes. Thick aroma. Sweet aspects.
Initial Taste: No bite. Crisp, tangy, caramelized apples that take a few moments to appear. Semi-sweet apples.
After Taste: Apples remain almost the same with some more natural and earthy tones appearing. Apple peel flavour and grit with mild vanilla/floral essences. Off-dry finish that is clean.
On ice: Mouthfeel reduced. Zip and elements weakened.

Additional Notes:  Two Blokes’ 2019 Lost Orchard still (not carbonated) cider is as straight-forward of an apple cider as you will come by. The journey is pure apple with no residual or off flavours, but rather just different apple aspects and tones. A zippy, tangy, crisp cider, it will refresh and awaken. Ice takes away a lot of the cider’s natural beauty so drink it straight. Medium dry, its sweetness is very natural and not coating. There are enough fermentation elements to know it’s not straight apple juice though. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Spirit Tree – Winter Bliss
More Sour – Hard Way – Renegade
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Cider

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Spirit Tree – Applelager

Cider Profile:

Name:  Spirit Tree – Applelager
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Type:
Apple – Sweet
Location of Brewing:
Caledon, ON
ABV:
4%
Website Link:
spirittreecider.ca
Ingredients:
N/A
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability:
Spirit Tree retail and online stores
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Transparent, sunflower-yellow
Carbonation:
Big, infrequent bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild aroma. A sweet musty single baking apple smell.
Initial Taste: Mild bite. Quickly sweet apple with a heavier mouthfeel. Some acidity and dewy earthiness. Orange-like notes.
After Taste: Apple peel taste. Light pear and honey notes compliments the apples. Not a strong aftertaste but earthy and apple notes linger. Lager beer-like crispness and cleanness.
On ice: Cuts most of the carbonation and also some acidity. Sweetness remains.

Additional Notes: Spirit Tree offers a light and sweet but not sugary cider with their Applelager. A clean and crisp cider with some musty/earthy elements that reminds us of fresh apples but still with a little something more than a juice.  Tastes naturally sweet. Carbonation is well balanced, try it on ice to make it even more like an unfermented apple juice. Is slow fermented in their cellars, similar to lager style beers – as a result, it has a similar crispness and cleanness to it.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Somersby – Apple
More Sour – Pommies – Farmhouse Cider
More Dry – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Artisanal Original Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honey Crisp Cider

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Duntroon – Sumac

Cider Profile:

Name: Duntroon – Sumac
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Duntroon Cyder House
Type: Flavoured – Floral
Location of Brewing: Duntroon, ON
ABV: 5.8%
Website Link: duntrooncyder.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Duntroon retail and online store
Flavour: Sumac
Colour: Transparent rose red
Carbonation: Very infrequent, medium bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fleshy red apple with floral elements. Some lemon notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Semi-sour peppy sumac flavour that is authentic. Tannic red apple peel notes.  Once the apple is removed, it becomes more floral. Slight wood hints.
After Taste: Becomes much drier in the aftertaste with some earthy elements that blends with the floral notes. Some lemon and floral elements. Dry finish.
On ice: Watered down and smoother.

Additional Notes:  The Sumac by Duntroon Cyder House is the first cider we have come across of its kind, made with the sumac flower. Floral but woody – with some lemon elements and is somewhat close to a thick rose wine – the offering goes quickly from a burst of semi-sour apple to become very sumac & floral focused and drier. Not sweet by any means, like many other floral ciders are. Peppy, zippy, tingly mouthfeel. Bright and uplighting.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 1.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 4
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Rosé
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Cranberry
More Crisp – Reinharts – Strawberry Hibiscus

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Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet Cider
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Shale Ridge Hard Cider (Shale Ridge Estate Winery)
Type:  Apple
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: shaleridgeestatewinery.com
Ingredients: Cider, sulphates
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Semi-sweet pulpy apple. Slight tannic and acidic notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Apple is juicy, with a mix of pulpy and flesh notes. Semi-sweet with some bitter sharp apple elements. Crisp. Some tannins that add mouthfeel and depth.
After Taste: Becomes slightly smoother and a little more bitter sharp focused and tangy.  Slightly more acidic. Crisp finish with a clean mouthfeel.
On ice: A little less sharp and tangy.

Additional Notes:  The Semi-Sweet by Shale Ridge could easily be called a “little bit sharp”.  It has more crisp apple and tangy elements than most semi-sweet offerings but still easy to drink and very juice-forward.  Aftertaste brings in some mild drier elements and some fermentation notes. A few tannic notes help fill out the flavour profile and increase the fruitiness. An incredibly crisp and refreshing cider.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Queen Street 501
More Sour – Duxbury – Heritage 1650
More Dry – Grey & Gold – Heritage Dry
More Crisp – 

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Collective Arts – Hurricane Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Collective Arts – Hurricane Cider
Sampled January 2021

Brand: Collective Arts Brewing
Type: Flavoured – Pomegranate and passion fruit
Location of Brewing: Hamilton, ON
ABV: 5.7%
Website Link: collectiveartscider.com
Ingredients: Apples, passion fruit concentrate,
pomegranate flavour, yeast, lime oil.
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Collective Arts online and retail stores
Flavour: Passion fruit and pomegranate
Colour: Transparent peachy-red
Carbonation: Large, infrequent bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet passion fruit with smooth apples. Slight pomegranate tartness.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Slightly tart and gritty pomegranate and passion fruit with a semi-sweet apple base. Juicy mouthfeel with natural fruit earthiness.
After Taste: Apple dissipates, sweetness leaves and it becomes tart and almost puckering with sour elements. Ends on dank tropical notes.
On ice: Slightly reduced carbonation, little change.

Additional Notes:  The Hurricane Cider by Collective Arts is a unique offering, which focuses mostly on the adjunct passion fruit and pomegranate flavours, as opposed to apple.  It’s tart and sour but still has a semi-sweet apple base.  A lot of flavour, its rather punchy and full-bodied. Very juicy and tropical in nature. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County Cider – Blood Orange
More Sour – Revel – Prosthetic Conscience
More Dry – 401 Cider – Raspberry
More Crisp – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped

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Bulwark – Sour Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: Bulwark – Sour Cherry
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Bulwark Ciders (Muwin Estate Wines Ltd.)
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: New Ross, Nova Scotia
ABV: 8.0%
Website Link: bulwarkcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 330ml (bottle)
Availability: Bulwark online and retail stores
Flavour: Cherry
Colour: Translucent, Vivid neon-orange
Carbonation: Mixed, frequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Dessert apple with sweet and semi-tart cherries
Initial Taste: Light bite. Quickly acidic apples with some semi-tart fresh but not over-ripe cherries. Slightly candied in nature. Soft mouthfeel.
After Taste: Apple and acidity dissipate with some more sourness from the cherries coming in. Semi-quick and clean finish with a bit of dryness. Some candied notes in the finish also. Buttery hints.
On ice: Carbonation dramatically reduced. Thinner and tartness reduced.

Additional Notes:  The Sour Cherry by Bulwark has the classic clean, fresh and juicy apple, lightly blended with semi-tart cherries.  It’s upbeat and bright with a bit of tart and sourness to it but not overwhelming. Finishes clean with some candied notes.  

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Brickworks – Parkside Cherry
More Sour – No Boats on Sunday – Cranberry Rosé
More Dry – Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
More Crisp – Annapolis Cider Co. – Sour Cherry

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Spirit Tree – Winter Bliss

Cider Profile:

Name: Spirit Tree – Winter Bliss
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Caledon, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: spirittreecider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Spirit Tree online and retail store
Flavour: Apple, maple syrup, molasses, orange peel
Colour: Translucent, dark golden-yellow
Carbonation: Infrequently streaming small bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet and thick fortified-like apple. Some maple syrup notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Thick, syrupy, crisp apple taste that’s similar to an iced cider. Semi-sweet apple notes. Mild maple and earthy elements.
After Taste:  Cleans out somewhat quickly without much residual notes.  Some darker sugar elements, including the molasses, appear briefly. Almost a gummy aftertaste, possibly from the orange peel.
On ice: Carbonation reduced. Little other change.

Additional Notes:  The Winter Bliss by Spirit Tree is a thicker cider, elements similar to that of an iced cider without the astringency and harshness. It’s a semi-sweet apple taste that matches the dark golden colour. Quite clean (little fermentation or alcohol notes) with a little bit of a brown sugar/maple syrup/molasses finish.  Not much orange noticeable other than a possible gummied taste near the finish. A rustic cider with a farmhouse essence. Stands out, unlike any other Ontario craft cider we’ve had.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 
More Sour – Ernest – Winter’s Blush
More Dry – Heartwood – Wassail
More Crisp – 

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Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider
Sampled December 2020

Brand:  Twin Pines Orchards and Ciderhouse
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 6.8%
Website Link: twinpinesorchards.com
Ingredients: Organic apples
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Twin Pines Ciderhouse
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Medium infrequently streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Bright bittersharp apples that are very forward. Fresh, juicy, pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Strong juicy heritage apple. Bright and clean. Rustic notes.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues but becomes very tannic. A lot of apple peel notes. Dry finish.
On ice: Slightly reduced flavour and mouthfeel but minimal difference.

Additional Notes:  Twin Pines’ Hammer Bent Organic Cider is a very apple forward experience that is incredibly crisp and clean. With bright bittersharp and heritage apples, it starts very crisp, tangy and juicy, becoming rather tannic  and peel flavour oriented into the aftertaste. Tingly carbonation that uplifts the natural apple flavours. Straightforward and bold apple cider taste with no off or residual notes. Sophisticated but yet approachable to cider fans – well crafted. Made with entirely Ontario organic apples and certified organic by pro-cert. An old world, rustic offering.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Cold Creek – Cuvee Madeline (2019)
More Sour – Revel – Time and Place
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet Apple

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Cold Creek – Cuvée Madeline (2019)

Cider Profile:

Name: Cold Creek – Cuvée Madeline (2019)
Sampled August 2020

Brand: Cold Creek Cider
Type: Apple – Sparkling
Location of Brewing: Hillier, ON
ABV: 4.5%
Website Link: coldcreekvineyards.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Limited – Sold Out for 2020
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Rustic Translucent-Yellow
Carbonation: Medium, very frequently streaming bubbles, reduced on ice



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet and creamy tannic apple that is bright.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Strong creamy and caramelized apples that are extra smooth. On the sweeter side but not sugary.
After Taste: Becomes slightly more tannic and remains very apple forward. Remains on the palate for a long time with little reduction in taste. Mild wood and cellar notes.
On ice: Slightly reduced taste.

Additional Notes:  The Cuvée Madeline (2019) is a very apple forward cider that is full bodied and really pops in terms of flavour and mouthfeel.  The barrel-aging really helps to make the apple stand out but does not significantly alter the taste of the cider. Soft and easily consumable, it was described to us a Brittany (French) style cider crossed with an Irish-inspired cider.  Substitute for champagne, especially for fancy occasions. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet –
More Sour – Kings Mill – Scrumpy
More Dry – Loch Mor – Untamed (2019)
More Crisp – 

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Domaine de la Marotière – Bouche Bio Brut

Cider Profile:

Name: Domaine de la Marotière – Cidre Bouche Bio Brut
Sampled December 2020

Brand: Domaine du Marotière
Type: Apple – French Cidre
Location of Brewing: Marotière, France
ABV: 6%
Website Link: N/A
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: International Import
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent, rusty-yellow
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming bubbles.


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet pulpy and syrupy apple with some cellar notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite. Bitter sweet apples with some slight earthy notes. Cellar, aged aspects.
After Taste: Dryness builds and dissipates, leaving a slight film and sweet, syrupy finish. Tannins linger. Slight smokey notes.
On ice: Dramatically watered down, avoid in most cases.

Additional Notes:  A little more traditional apple forward then other Normandy ciders, the Cidre Bouche Bio Brut by Cidre du Marotière is full bodied and semi-sweet.  A little bit of syrupy notes and feel (traditional in a Normandy-style cider) compliment the sharp dry roughness of the cider.  It’s smoother than it smells, it has very rustic, late-season apple elements to it that match the richness of the colour. Tannic and very satisfying for the style.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Dupont – Reserve
More Sour – Farmgate – Founders Reserve
More Dry – Le Pere Jules – Cidre de Normandie
More Crisp – Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic Cider

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Loch Mór – Pommeau  

Cider Profile:

Name: Loch Mór Cider Co. – Pommeau
Sampled December 2020

Brand:  Loch Mór Cider Co.
Type:
Apple – Pommeau
Location of Brewing:
Hillier, ON
ABV:
18.5%
Website Link:
lochmorcider.com
Ingredients:
N/A
Gluten Free:
N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 375ml (bottle)
Availability:
Loch Mór Cider online + retail stores
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Translucent, golden rod yellow
Carbonation:
Some small bubbles on the glass, not streaming.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet caramelized, somewhat astringent apple with some thick/syrupy notes.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite with medium astringency. Strong caramelized apple, slightly pulpy and pungent. Thick mouthfeel. Sweet and smooth. Some early earthy and oaky notes.
After Taste: Astringency and oaky notes dissipate, finishes very natural and apple forward. Some film but does not linger long compared to other fortified ciders. Sweet, lingering finish.
On ice: Carbonation and astringency removed (much cleaner). Less tangy. Thinner mouthfeel. Large changes vs off-ice.

Additional Notes:  The Pommeau by Loch Mór Cider Co. is caramel-forward, smooth and slightly astringent, that equals an easy drinking fortified cider experience. With a thick, syrupy mouthfeel, its rich and bold, and will hit the spot for days you need something stronger and more robust.  Almost like two different drinks with the use of ice. If you like Normandy-style ciders and/or Ontario/Quebec ice ciders, you will probably like this. Great winter drinking but at 18.5% it does sneak up on you quick, so we recommend slow sipping this one.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – 
More Sour – County Cider – Prince Edward County Ice Cider
More Dry – Twin Pines – Hammer Bent Organic
More Crisp – Rosewood – Legacy Cyser (2017)

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East Street – Snow Day

Cider Profile:

Name: East Street – Snow Day
Sampled November 2020

Brand: East Street Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Godritch, ON
ABV: 5.9%
Website Link: eaststreetcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: East Street online and retail stores
Flavour: Plum, cardamom, cinnamon, hibiscus, ginger
Colour: Transparent peach
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Floral and spiced juicy plum. Sweet apple and spicy notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Smooth sweet dessert apple that is juicy but not sugary. Spiced plum is strong and inviting. Some floral, hibiscus elements.
After Taste: Becomes less apple flavoured and turns a little creamy.  Spiced notes quickly peak and then dissipate resulting in a slightly more dry and spiced finished.  Slight ginger elements at the end.
On ice: Reduce spiced notes dramatically.

Additional Notes:  The Snow Day by East Street Cider Co. continues with the very full-bodied. mixed-flavours typically found in East Street offerings. It’s sweet but not sugary, a lot of flavour with spices that are present the whole journey.  A lot of depth in this, it’s best to not add ice in order to get the full effect of all the flavours. Very festive and delightful. Plum is unique, authentic and on par with seasonal sugar plum offerings that appear around the holidays. Spices are rich, warming and well balanced. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Spiced Apple
More Sour – Revel – Ostara Lilac
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Cranberry
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice

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Lacroix – Gabélianne

Cider Profile:

Name: Lacroix – Gabélianne
Sampled November 2020

Brand: Verger Lacroix Inc.
Type: Apple – Sparkling
Location of Brewing: Saint-Joseph-Du-Lac, Quebec
ABV: 7%
Website Link: vergerlacroix.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Lacroix retail + Québec bottle shops
Flavour: Apple
Colour: Translucent, light golden-yellow
Carbonation: Large, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet and juicy pulpy apple
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Some semi-sweet and slightly bitter apple notes (very Mackintosh like).
After Taste: Becomes more traditional apple forward in the aftertaste with strong apple flesh elements.  Slightly drier with a tiny bit of tanginess.
On ice: Very slight reduction in carbonation and flavour. Relatively the same

Additional Notes: The Gabélianne by Lacroix is a very light, effervescent sparkling apple cider.  It’s juicy and fresh, with little alcoholic notes even though it’s 7%.  We could call this the definition of a crisp cider, apple through and through, which is very clean.  This would be an extremely easy transition for a non-cider drinking into the industry if you were not a fan of alcoholic notes or elements. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – McAdam – Cidre Urbain
More Sour – Alma – Willie
More Dry – 
More Crisp – 

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Hoity Toity – 4 on the Floor

Cider Profile:

Name: Hoity Toity – 4 on the Floor
Sampled December 2020

Brand:  Hoity Toity Cellars
Type: Mixed Fruit
Location of Brewing: Mildmay, ON
ABV: 5%
Website Link: hoitytoitycellars.ca
Ingredients: Apples, white grapes, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Hoity Toity Retail Store
Flavour: Apple and grape
Colour:  Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Small streaming and lingering bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Juicy white grape. Pulpy apple. Hint of astringency.
Initial Taste: Light bite from acidity and carbonation. Juicy white grape juice. Mild earthy tones. Pulpy, crisp apple juice. Very clean, some light sugars.
After Taste: Grape becomes slightly more prominent near finish. Tangy and crisp, some tannins. Off-dry finish.
On ice: Flavour and carbonation somewhat reduced. Less grapes, apple flavours the same.

Additional Notes:  4 on the Floor from Hoity Toity is a very juice-focused, mixed-fruit cider that is clean and not very alcoholic tasting. White grapes are slightly more dominant than apples but overall, they are close in balance. Bittersharp apples and tangy fresh grapes. Off-dry but not sugary. Refreshingly unique blend that highlights the white grape juice and not a white wine element. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Honeycrisp
More Sour – Duxbury – Sideroad
More Dry – Front Road – The Spy
More Crisp – Clafeld – Smashed Apple

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Brickworks – The Purple Road

Cider Profile:

Name: Brickworks – The Purple Road
Sampled December 2020

Brand:  Brickworks Ciderhouse
Type: Flavoured – Blueberry and Lavender
Location of Brewing: Toronto, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link: theciderhouse.ca
Ingredients: Cider, carbonated water, sugars (apple juice, concentrated
wild blueberry juice, cane sugar), lavender

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 27g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: LCBO
Flavour: Blueberry and Lavender
Colour:  Translucent rich purple with red hues
Carbonation: Fine streaming bubbles, some light foam



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Rich and tart blueberry. Mild lavender notes.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from carbonation and acidity. Quick strong blueberry. Slightly tangy. Medley of dessert apples are the base of the cider but not very impactful on the flavour.
After Taste: Blueberry becomes smoother and semi-creamy. Lavender lightly appears. Off-dry finish, with mild sour and earthy notes. Hints of vanilla and allspice.
On ice: Thinner mouthfeel. Reduces flavour and blueberry grit. Loses definition.

Additional Notes:  Brickworks’s third Ciderhouse Series Release, the Purple Road delivered on its promised flavours of blueberry and lavender, in particular being very blueberry forward from start to finish. A mild lavender note pokes through near the finish but far from being very floral or perfume-like giving the cider a bit of an earthy edge. A fruity offering that isn’t too sweet. Authentic blueberry flavour that does indeed taste a bit wild, but could be more if it was not filtered.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 2.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 1.5
Dry – 3.5
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Lavender Earl Grey
More Sour – Revel – All Day
More Dry – Crimson Cider –  Lavender Buds
More Crisp – Ernest – Wild Blueberry

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Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Cranberry Spice
Sampled November 2020

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Shale Ridge Retail + Online Store
Flavour: Mulled Cranberry
Colour:  Transparent ruby red with a sheen
Carbonation: Large streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet cranberry forward. Warming baking spices.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. Quick cranberry flavour that is very forward. Sweet, with a mild tartness. Sweet and juicy apple base. Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove notes.
After Taste: Cranberry remains the same and lingers. Becomes smoother. Ends on warming spices that stay awhile. Vanilla hints.
On ice: Slightly less acidic. Flavour remains the same.

Additional Notes:  The Cranberry Spice by Shale Ridge is a delightful and very festive fall/winter inspired cider that will satisfy both cranberry and mulled cider fans. The cranberry is dominant throughout, being sweet and only mildly tart. Warming spices are very uplifting with cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove notes in particular teasing the senses. A very smooth drinking experience with a balanced acidity that adds depth. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 4
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pommies – Cranberry
More Sour – Great Cider – Cranberry Cider
More Dry – Heartwood – Wassail
More Crisp – Thornbury – Spiced Apple

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Banjo – Revival

Cider Profile:

Name: Banjo – Revival
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Banjo Handcrafted Cider
Type: Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: banjocider.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Banjo retail store
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent golden
Carbonation: Large and small streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Semi-sweet pulpy apples. Caramelized apple notes. Mild astringency and funk.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Quick acidity from apples. Very apple forward, very clean. Caramelized notes.
After Taste: Apple becomes even cleaner. Vanilla and creamy aspects. Tangy, mildly off-dry, bright apple finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Less acidity.

Additional Notes:  Banjo’s Revival is a very apple forward and extra clean cider that satisfies the desire for a cider with depth and a significant apple presence. With a considerable apple acidity and crispness, it refreshes, and is tangy for the palate. Creamy, pulpy apple notes add a unique layer of flavours. A mild astringency reminds you its 6.5%. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Flying Canoe – Hard Cider
More Sour – Pommies – Farmhouse Cider
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Shale Ridge – Semi-Sweet Apple Cider

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East Street – Harvest Botanical

Cider Profile:

Name: East Street – Harvest Botanical
Sampled November 2020

Brand: East Street Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Godritch, ON
ABV: 6%
Website Link: eaststreetcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content:  N/A

Size(s) available: 355ml (can)
Availability: East Street Online and Retail stores
Flavour: Hibiscus, Lemongrass and rose hip
Colour: Orange-rose gold
Carbonation: Small streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Pulpy fresh apples. Floral notes. Lemongrass provides a bit of herb notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Semi-tart apple with some mild bitter notes. Some lemongrass elements with the bitter notes.  Floral present with hibiscus and rose and orange elements.
After Taste: Tartness reduces and becomes more apple and floral in nature. Some fruit punch notes. Mild spice undertones that show up more in the aftertaste, including cinnamon.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Relatively unchanged.

Additional Notes:  The Harvest Botanical by East Street Cider Co. offers an amped up fruit medley but still has some strong, classic apple cider elements. A blend of apple, hibiscus, rose, orange, cinnamon, all equals a delicious medley of flavours. A lot of flavour and different elements that make this bright and pop. Drier as time goes on, with more spice elements in the aftertaste. Can adapt to any type of the year (thankfully, it’s available if not sold out, all year!)

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Blood Orange
More Sour – County – Feral Cider
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Cranberry
More Crisp – Pommies – Red Sangria

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McAdam – Urban Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: McAdam – Urban Cider
Sampled November 2020

Brand: McAdam (La Brassirie McAuslan Brewing Inc)
Type: Apple – Crosp
Location of Brewing: Montreal, Quebec
ABV: 4.7%
Website Link: mcauslan.com
Ingredients: Apple juice, carbon dioxide, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Quebec 
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent, golden-yellow
Carbonation: Medium, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Concentrated juicy apple with some ale notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Juicy, fleshy medley of apples.  Strong presence of semi-sweet apples, some dessert elements. Clean and heavy mouthfeel.
After Taste: As the apple dissipates, a small film is left.  What started bright becomes a little muddled. Slightly drier and remains on the tongue for a while.
On ice: Less carbonation. Thinner body.

Additional Notes:  The Urban Cider by McAdam is a very apple forward, juicy and concentrated cider. It’s clean, heavy on mouth feel and pretty mainstream-oriented.  It could easily be mistaken for a soft cider, with a lot of apple presence.  Would appeal to most cider drinkers, but probably best described as a pub cider for its ale like elements. Memories of commercial Irish-brand ciders here.

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

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

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Slabtown – Legendary Cherry

Cider Profile:

Name: Slabtown – Legendary Cherry
Sampled October 2020

Brand: Slabtown Cider Co.
Type: Flavoured – Cherry
Location of Brewing: Uxbridge, ON
ABV: 5.8%
Website Link: slabtowncider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Slabtown Retail Store
Flavour: Cherry
Colour:  Translucent, ruby-red
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Dry and tart cherry. Some sour apple.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity, strong tart Montmorency Cherry-like notes with some sweet apple.
After Taste: Apple reduces. Cherry becomes drier and more tart, somewhat syrupy. Extremely long lasting.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and slight flavour. Thinner mouth feel but overall still very strong. 

Additional Notes:  The Legendary Cherry by Slabtown is a bold, dry cherry offering. Very tart and thick, it has a stronger cherry flavour than many others in the Ontario market. More cherry juice than apple based, it is not a traditional cider. Major cherry jolly rancher vibes. Depth of some red wine varieties.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Bonnieheath – Folkin’ Hard Cherry Bomb
More Sour – 
More Dry – Banjo – Rouge Cider
More Crisp – West Ave – Cherriosity

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Ernest – Impeachmint

Cider Profile:

Name:   Ernest – Impeachmint
Sampled June 2020

Brand: Ernest Cider (Farris Farms)
Type:
Flavoured – Peach and mint
Location of Brewing: Bond Head, ON
ABV:
5.8%
Website Link:
ernestcider.com
Ingredients:  
Apples, peaches, honey, organic cane sugar, mint, natural flavours
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 31 g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (can)
Availability:
LCBO and Ernest online store
Flavour:
Peach and mint
Colour:
Golden yellow
Carbonation:
Small, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Peach juice forward. Mild tangy apple hints. Slight zippiness from mint.
Initial Taste: No bite. Quickly candied peach juice tasting. Some dessert red apples notes.
After Taste: Peach flavour continues and grows. Earthy, zippy mint to finish that is refreshing and semi-cooling.
On ice: Mint is almost entirely reduced. Almost just a peach juice.

Additional Notes: The Impeachmint by Ernest is made for easy drinking, with a strong peach flavour from start to finish, and a cooling mint to end the drinking experience. Candied and sweet, the peach is bold and forward – very juicy. Not a lot of apple, but what is there is a tangy, red dessert apple taste.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 3
Crisp – 2.5
Dry – 2
Fruity – 5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – County – Peach Cider
More Sour – Brickworks – Mint and Basil Cider
More Dry – Slabtown – Cucumber Mint Cider
More Crisp – Shiny Cider – Peach

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Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb (Carbonated)

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Strawberry Rhubarb (Carbonated)
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Kings Mill Cider Company
Type: Flavoured – Strawberry and Rhubarb
Location of Brewing: Stirling, ON
ABV: 9%
Website Link: kingsmillcider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, strawberries, rhubarb
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Kings Mill Retail store, online and select farmers markets
Flavour: Strawberry & rhubarb
Colour:  Transparent blush
Carbonation: Medium, frequently streaming bubbles. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Sweet, creamy strawberries. Some natural earthy notes with underlying rhubarb.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Rhubarb start, with noticeable fresh field strawberries.  Some dessert apple-like notes. Clean with some tangy and tart notes.
After Taste: Rhubarb dissipates a bit with slightly more strawberry notes coming in. Lingers a long time and becomes slightly drier to finish.
On ice: Carbonation reduced dramatically. Smoother, more apple forward with less overall flavour

Additional Notes:  The Strawberry Rhubarb by Kings Mill is a well balanced, flavourful, fun and light cider, even at 9%.  Extra clean, it starts slightly more rhubarb followed by fresh, creamy strawberries and a smooth apple base. Mild tartness from fruits.  A sweeter cider but not sugary or cloying. Sparkly but light mouthfeel makes for a whimsical experience. 

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Reinhart’s – Strawberry Hibiscus 
More Sour – Duntroon Cyder – Raindance Rhubarb
More Dry – Spy Cider – Crimson Tide
More Crisp – Heritage Estates – Eden’s Apple Strawberry

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McAdam – Dark Fruits

Cider Profile:

Name: McAdam – Dark Fruits
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  McAdam Cidre Urbain
Type: Flavoured – Mixed Berry
Location of Brewing: Montreal, QC
ABV: 4.7%
Website Link: Mcauslan.com
Ingredients: Apple juice, blackcurrant and blackberry juice, carbon dioxide, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 473ml (can)
Availability: Various locations around Quebec.
Flavour: Mixed berry
Colour:  Translucent deep red
Carbonation: Fine, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Semi-tart apples with blackberry, tart blackcurrant and hints of raspberry
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Apple forward with semi-sweet, semi-tart apples. Punchy berry notes.
After Taste: Becomes sour and even more berry forward after a few seconds, with some earthy elements. Longer lingering with apple flavours returning with a thick mouthfeel. Almost has some black cherry notes.
On ice: Thinner on ice, less carbonation.

Additional Notes: The Dark Fruit (Fruits Noirs) by McAdam Cidre Urban has a gorgeous red colour and a lot of fruits packed in it.  Starting apple forward, very punchy and fruit-heavy upfront – it quickly becomes berry focused. Thins out quickly – unbalanced berry notes comparing the start and finish. Dryness and tartness from blackcurrants noticeable, along with some other earthy and tannic notes.  

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

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

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Thornbury – Raspberry Apple

Cider Profile:

Name: Thornbury – Raspberry Apple Cider
Sampled August 2020

Brand: Thornbury Village Cider House
Type: Flavoured – Raspberry
Location of Brewing: Thornbury, ON
ABV: 5.2%
Website Link: Thornburycraft.com
Ingredients: Apple cider, fresh pressed Ontario apple juice, Canadian
raspberry juice, sugar, natural flavours, sulphites

Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available:  500ml (bottle)
Availability: Thornbury retail + online store, various grocery stores across Ontario
Flavour: Raspberry
Colour: Translucent ruby red
Carbonation: Medium, infrequent streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet juicy raspberries, with a mild hit of natural bitterness. Some apple notes.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation, Sweet raspberry forward with some raspberry cordial notes and mouthfeel. Some semi-sour apple notes present. Thicker body.
After Taste: Moves from sweet raspberry to more fresh, traditional raspberry jam-type flavour. Flushes quickly from the mouth, with a short aftertaste and mostly clean finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation, little other change.

Additional Notes:  The Raspberry Apple by Thornbury Craft Cider is a very raspberry-forward offering. Although some apples are present, it’s simply a canvas for smooth, juicy and fresh raspberries to showcase their taste. Very clean without any real elements of fermentation, it’s 5.2% alcohol and semi-sweet with some tart elements. Heavier, thicker body. 

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4
Sour – 3
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Pink
More Sour – County – Feral Cider
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Bumbleberry
More Crisp – 401- Raspberry Cider

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Pommies – Mimosa

Cider Profile:

Name:   Pommies Cider – Mimosa
Sampled June 2020

Brand: Pommies Cider Co. (Southern Cliff Brands)
Type:
Flavoured – Orange
Location of Brewing:
Caledon, ON
ABV:
5.5%
Website Link:
pommies.com
Ingredients:
Cider, sugar, (orange juice)
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 35 g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (can)
Availability: 
LCBO
Flavour:
Orange
Colour:
Hazy, sunflower yellow
Carbonation: Medium, very infrequent streaming bubbles (Lots of carbonation on pour)



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Mild aroma. Semi-sweet but natural orange juice with some tart apple notes
Initial Taste: Mild bite from carbonation. Some semi-tart apple notes followed by a light pulpy orange juice.
After Taste: Becomes more orange juice-like in mouth feel, with some filmy/pulpy aftertaste.  Apple becomes cleaner upon finish.
On ice: Carbonation and sweet apple flavour is reduced, almost no apple flavour on ice.

Additional Notes: Pommies’ Mimosa is an interesting cider – it’s similar in carbonation and depth of a mimosa but without the wine.  Less apple and lighter than usual for a cider, it is pretty orange forward, but a bit thinner than drinking straight orange juice. Really only apple and orange notes in this, so very straightforward – little fermentation or alcoholic taste, even at 5.5%.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 3.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 2.5
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Heritage Estate – Eden’s Apple
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Tropical Hopped
More Dry – Clafeld – Disco Lemonade
More Crisp – Ernest – Impeachmint Cider

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Domaine Cléroux – Nation Spiked (Medium Dry)

Cider Profile:

Name:   Domaine Cléroux Nation Spiked (Medium Dry)
Sampled June 2020

Brand: Domaine Cléroux
Type:
Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Casselman, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
domainecleroux.ca
Ingredients:
Apples, maple syrup, sulfites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500mL (bottle)
Availability:
At Domaine Cléroux, Retail Store, Cassel Brewery
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation:
Medium, infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Crisp, fresh and candied apple notes, including green apple. Smells almost hopped.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from acidity, mild bite from carbonation. Quickly fresh, fleshy dessert apple. Mild maple syrup hints that are semi-earthy.  Somewhat tangy.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues the same, is rather crisp. Ends semi-dry, with brown sugar notes.
On ice: Thinner mouthfeel. More alcohol and earthy notes emerge.

Additional Notes: A very country, rural inspired cider, this medium-dry maple syrup-infused cider from Domaine Cléroux is very juicy and apple forward, with a rustic edge to it. Rather clean and crisp, it refreshes and satisfies. Has a unique brown sugar finish, despite it not listing it as an ingredient.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Reinhart’s Red Apple – Strong
More Sour – Stock & Row – Slow & Low
More Dry – Pommies – Farmhouse
More Crisp – Duxbury Cider – Heritage 1650

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Reinhart’s – Strong

Cider Profile:

Name: Reinhart’s Red Apple – Strong Cider
Sampled September 2020

Brand: Reinhart’s Red Apple
Type: Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing: Stayner, Ontario
ABV: 7%
Website Link: reinhartscider.ca
Ingredients: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: 50 g/L

Size(s) available: 473ml (Can)
Availability: LCBO
Flavour: Apple
Colour:  Transparent golden yellow
Carbonation: Small, infrequent bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Punchy crisp and juicy apple. Some skin elements.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Sweet, crisp strong apple flavour. Minerality aspects.
After Taste:  Apple slowly fades with the mouthfeel becoming thicker and more syrupy. Long lingering flavour notes. A bit dank at the finish.
On ice: Reduced carbonation. Thinner body but no flavour changes.

Additional Notes:  The Strong by Reinhard Red Apple is a 7% offering that’s very apple forward. Crisp and refreshing with some minerality flavour notes. It’s thicker and similar in texture to an iced cider, including the elevated sweet notes. Juicy but heavier, gritty skin elements as if you were chewing on an apple peel without flesh. It’s a nice followup to their original Light Cider that shares some similar aspects but does differ, especially for mouthfeel. Reminiscent of an ice cider but way less intense.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Strongbow – Gold Cider
More Sour – County – Apple Cider
More Dry – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Artisanal 
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Apple

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Heartwood – Hoppity     

Cider Profile:

Name: Heartwood Cider – Hoppity
Sampled July 2020

Brand:  Heartwood Farm and Cider
Type:
Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing:
Osprige, ON
ABV:
6.8%
Website Link:
heartwoodfarm.ca
Ingredients: 
N/A
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: 
At Heartwood Retail Store + Select Farmers Markets
Flavour:
Hops
Colour:  
Sunshine golden yellow
Carbonation:
Small, frequently streaming bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Candied sweet apple with some notes of lemon and floral (presumably from the hops).
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and acidity. A clean apple base thats slightly tannic. Pine/wood notes. Some light citrus & hops flavours appear.
After Taste: Becomes a bit more tart and acidic. More hops, with some smoky and floral elements. Long-lingering aftertaste with a semi-dry finish.
On ice: Slightly smoother and thinner, but little difference overall.

Additional Notes: With an acidic apple base, the Hoppity from Heartwood is crisp and an inspired-by-the-land cider that has a medium balance of hopped notes. Pretty complex in elements, it is a long-lingering cider that is clean and natural tasting to consume. Hops have a substantive presence in the cider, particularly by adding citrus notes. Not a high bitterness cider and less bitter than many other hopped ciders.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Hopped
More Dry – Kings Mill – Hopped (Still)
More Crisp – Malus Ciderhouse – Hopped

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No Boats on Sunday – Dry Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name:   No Boats on Sunday – Dry Rosé Cider
Sampled May 2020

Brand: No Boats on Sunday
Type:
Apple – Rosé
Location of Brewing: Grimsby, ON
ABV:
5%
Website Link:
noboatscider.com
Ingredients:  
Apple cider, water, wine, glucose-fructose, malic acid, potassium sorbate, potassium metabisulphite, natural flavour (hops)
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500mL (bottle)
Availability:
The Wine Shop (Ontario)
Flavour:
Rosé
Colour:
Bright rose gold pink
Carbonation:
Large, very infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:
Smell:
Medium aroma. Candied strawberry and floral. Watermelon notes. Some light wine aspects.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quick sweet apples, with mild sour apple notes that emerge.
After Taste: Candied fruit flavours really begin to pop that include strawberry and watermelon. Slight astringency from wine. Floral bouquet bits. Sweet finish, dry mouth-feel with slight filmy coat.
On ice: Thinner, less gritty mouth-feel. Mild flavour reduction.

Additional Notes: The Dry Rosé from No Boats on Sunday is an Instagram-worthy vivid rose gold pink, with a strong flavour to match. With a bright candied flavour, it features unique strawberry and watermelon notes, among the standard mixed-berries and floral notes you might expect from a rosé cider/wine. Probably not for traditional cider fans but it does pair well with summer and brunch.

Rated on a scale of 1-5
Sweet – 4.5
Sour – 3
Crisp – 3.5
Dry – 2
Fruity – 4.5

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Somersby – Rosé
More Sour – Strongbow – Rosé Apple
More Dry – Clafeld – Rose Hip
More Crisp – Brickworks – Rosé Cider

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Domaine Cléroux – Nation’Spiked (Dry)

Cider Profile:

Name:  Domaine Cléroux – Nation’Spiked (Dry)
Sampled June 2020

Brand: Domaine Cléroux
Type:
Apple – Dry
Location of Brewing:
Cassleman, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
domainecleroux.ca
Ingredients
: Apples, sulphites
Gluten Free
: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability:
Online and retail store
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Transparent golden-rod
Carbonation:
Very frequently small streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Fresh, sweet and pulpy natural apple juice smell.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quickly semi-tart apples with slight acidity and punchy apple. Some astringency.
After Taste: Remains slightly tart with some dryness. Mild hints of sweetness.  Long lingering flavour.
On ice: Carbonation reduced with a slight reduction in acidity.

Additional Notes:  The Nation’Spiked (Dry) by Domaine Cléroux is a decently dry, semi-tart cider that is extra clean (no fermentation or other elements to impact the taste). It’s one of the most “apple-forward” ciders we have had. It would be hard to find a non-alcoholic cider that has this much apple flavour and punch – the underlying astringency enhances the natural fruit notes. Incredibly crisp.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Flying Canoe Hard Cider
More Sour – Burst – Cranberry
More Dry – Farmgate – Founders Reserve
More Crisp – 

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Chudleigh’s Orchard Cider     

Cider Profile:

Name: Chudleigh’s Orchard Cider
Sampled July 2018 (Updated January 2021)

Brand: Waterloo Brewing Co
Type:
Apple – Crisp
Location of Brewing:
Halton Hills, ON
ABV:
5.3%
Website Link: 
chudleighs.com
Ingredients:
Cider, Sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: 40g/L

Size(s) available: 473mL (can) & 750ML Bottle (2021)
Availability:
LCBO & Restaurants (Blossom Cafe)
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Transparent, straw-yellow.
Carbonation: Very sparse bubbles, medium to strong carbonation.

 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet fleshy/pulpy apples.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation and some acidity. A mix of pulpy, fleshy and sweet apple tastes. Semi-tangy clean apple.
After Taste: Peel becomes more prevalent, some notes of straw and apricot. Some tanginess.   Becomes more fruit-forward in the aftertaste. Lingers semi-long.
On ice:  Carbonation is cut dramatically. Cleaner taste and feel on ice – including becoming thinner in consistency.

Additional Notes:  Tasting like a freshly pressed blend of sweet dessert apple juices, Chudleigh’s Orchard Cider is a very crisp, apple forward experience that would be great for new hard cider drinkers. This cider has a lot of mouth feel, though was heavy is not much lighter. It tastes like a non-alcoholic cider you’d get at a farmers market – especially in the Fall. This was a former collaboration between Chudleigh’s Apple Farm and Waterloo Brewing Company.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Great Cider – Not Too Sweet
More Sour – Flying Canoe Hard Cider
More Dry – County Apple Cider
More Crisp – Thornbury Original Craft Cider

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Annapolis Cider – Earl Blue

Cider Profile:

Name:  Annapolis Cider – Earl Blue
Sampled July 2018

Brand: Annapolis Cider Company
Type:
Flavoured – Tea
Location of Brewing:
Wolfville, NS
ABV:
7.1%
Website Link:
drinkannapolis.ca
Ingredients:
Cider, Earl Grey Tea, Nova Scotia Wild Blueberry juice, sulphites
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/ASize(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability:
Nova Scotia Liquor Stores
Flavour:
Earl Grey Tea + Wild Blueberries
Colour:
Rusty ruby-red, brown hues
Carbonation:
Large, mostly still bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium-to-strong aroma. Medium heritage apple aroma. Strong earl grey tea smell.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Semi-sweet and dry medley of apple tastes. Blueberry juice is a quick tart and tangy‘ kicker’ to the senses. Black tea undertones.
After Taste: Tea flavour becomes stronger and largely over takes the other elements. Apple flavours become more dry and aged tasting. Mild blueberry flavour lingers. Lemon notes. Dry, black-tea finish that leaves a bit of a gritty tea residue in the mouth.
On ice: Becomes thinner. Cuts the black tea taste and ‘edge’.

Additional Notes: Annapolis Cider Company’s Earl Blue is very tea driven, ending strongly on that flavour – to the point you ask yourself if you just had an iced tea with a splash of apple juice. The blueberry is a secondary flavour but it blends a nice fruity aspect to it. It is very full-bodied with a lot of different aspects to evaluate for the senses.  Cider and tea together, isn’t that just every British person’s dream?

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest Wild Blueberry
More Sour – 401 Cider – Orchard Blend
More Dry – York County Like an Academic (Blueberry Cider)
More Crisp – Bulwark – Blush Cider

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