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West Avenue – CRUSH!

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – CRUSH!
Sampled August 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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West Avenue – Rosie

Cider Profile:

Name: West Avenue – Rosie
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Crimson Cider – Rosé

Cider Profile:

Name: Crimson Cider – Rosé
Sampled May 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Shale Ridge – Cabernet Funk

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Cabernet Funk
Sampled March 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Grey & Gold – Jin & Juice

Cider Profile:

Name: Grey & Gold – Jin & Juice
Sampled February 2021 

Brand:  Grey & Gold Cider Company
Type: Flavoured – Floral
Location of Brewing: Clarksburg, ON
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: greyandgoldcider.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Grey & Gold online + retail store
Flavour: Juniper, sumac, grape
Colour:  Cloudy rustic straw yellow
Carbonation: Medium infrequently streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Earthy juniper. Punchy herbal notes. Floral hints. Light mustard seed.
Initial Taste: Strong bite. Quick hit of earthy, herbal juniper. Dill weed and turmeric. Tannic wild apple flavours. Merlot notes. Dandelion punchiness. Sourness.
After Taste: Becomes more bitter. Is more herbal and raw tasting. Light sumac hints to finish. Long lingering flavour notes.
On ice: Reduced carbonation and overall flavour.

Additional Notes:  Grey & Gold’s Jin and Juice is a full flavoured experience, that may not be what you expect from the name. A very punchy, pungent cider, it has a lot of herbal, floral and spice notes that you really don’t find in any other ciders. Along with an earthy juniper, you get dill weed, turmeric, mustard and dandelion flavours that are bold and unapologetic. There are some tannic wild apple notes but the herbal, earthy elements are very dominant from start to finish. Not a standard gin botanical cider like others on the market or the name would suggest.To be honest, it’s not for beginners or those who hesitate to try new cider flavours – one of the furthest you will get away from commercially-based ciders.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Duntroon – Sumac
More Sour – Revel – Spirit of the Woods
More Dry – 
More Crisp – West Avenue – Genevieve 

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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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Hoity Toity –  3 in the Tree

Cider Profile:

Name: Hoity Toity –  3 in the Tree
Sampled October 2020

Brand:  Hoity Toity Cellars
Type: Fruit – Mixed
Location of Brewing: Mildmay, ON
ABV: 4.6%
Website Link: hoitytoitycellars.ca
Ingredients: Pears, apples, grapes, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Hoity Toity Retail Store
Flavour: Fruit
Colour:  Transparent, rusty orange
Carbonation: Medium, infrequent bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Some red grapes, crisp, clean apple and a hint of pear.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite from mild carbonation. Blend of sweet dessert apples and red grape juice. Some sweetness and notes from the pear detected.
After Taste: Becomes more pear focused as the taste dissipates.  Long-lasting and extra clean.
On ice: Significantly less flavour and even further reduced carbonation

Additional Notes:  The 3 in the Tree by Hoity Toity Cellars is a unique blend of three fruits – apple, pear and grape. The blend is extremely clean, with little to no notes of fermentation. Incredibly refreshing to consume. Grape elements are more like a juice than a wine.  Apple is sweet, but not sugary. Very light carbonation. Overall, quite unique with almost no alcohol elements.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Puddicombe – Family Tree Apple Cider
More Sour – Ardiel – Victoria Pear
More Dry – Beaver Valley – Flagship Apple
More Crisp – Thornbury – Honeycrisp Apple Cider

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Clafeld – Hey Lady

Cider Profile:

Name:   Clafeld Cider – Hey Lady
Sampled January 2020

Brand: Clafeld Cider House
Type:
Flavoured – Grape
Location of Brewing:
Picton, ON
ABV:
6.5%
Website Link:
clafeldciderhouse.com
Ingredients:
Fermented apple juice, grape skins, sugar, sorbate, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (cans)
Availability:
Clafeld Cider House + online
Flavour:
Grape
Colour:
Rusty orange
Carbonation:
Large, infrequently streaming bubbles.



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Semi-strong aroma. Sweet crisp apple and a little floral.
Initial Taste: Medium bite. Smooth and clean medium-level apple with some red grape notes. Slightly tart, like a hint of lemon.
After Taste:  Becomes drier and slightly more wine-like in the semi-long lingering aftertaste.  Almost has some berry (black current and strawberry) and floral notes in the end.
On ice: Carbonation reduced but remains almost the same.

Additional Notes: Although not with wine, the Hey Lady by Clafeld offers a smooth cider that was fermented on Baco Noir grape skins (which helps to give it its colour). Not overly strong – but still very enjoyable – and it has quite the journey of flavours.  A unique take on a grape-infused cider, with a lower than usual ABV than a wine (because it does not include any mixed-in) but on-par for other craft ciders in the province.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pommies – Red Sangria Cider
More Sour – Shiny Cider – Pino Noir
More Dry – 401 Cider – True North 
More Crisp – Thornbury – Rose Cider

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Links to Pairings
Links to Cocktails
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