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Grey & Gold – Highlander

Cider Profile:

Name: Grey & Gold – Highlander
Sampled February 2021

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

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


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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Hounds of Erie – Dog House

Cider Profile:

Name: Hounds of Erie – Dog House
Sampled January 2021

Brand:  Hounds of Erie Winery
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: Clear Creek, ON
ABV: 5.5%
Website Link:
Ingredients: Apples, hops, sulphites, potassium benzoate
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: Hounds of Erie Retail + Online Store
Flavour: Hopped
Colour:  Transparent light golden yellow
Carbonation: Large, semi-streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Bright apples with citra hops. Earthy hints.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Quick sweet and crisp apples. Light tanginess. Citrus notes from hops including lemon and orange that are mild.
After Taste: Apples become slightly more caramelized. Vanilla hints. Ends with light lingering hop notes.
On ice: Carbonation reduced a lot. Flavours and mouthfeel also reduced. Rather watered down overall.

Additional Notes:  Hounds of Erie’s Dog House is a very soft and approachable hopped cider. With bright and sweet apples, the citrus notes from the dry hopping mingle well with the apple base, with notes of lemon and orange. No sugar added, but it is a sweeter offering, naturally so from the apples and assuming some malic acid. Very crisp and refreshing, especially for a hopped cider.  You would be forgiven to not notice the hops as they are soft.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Dry Hopped
More Dry – Duxbury – Tilted Barn Hopped Cider
More Crisp – Ardiel – Big John Hop Cider

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Shale Ridge – Blueberry Hops

Cider Profile:

Name: Shale Ridge – Blueberry Hops
Sampled November 2020

Brand: Shale Ridge Estate Winery
Type: Flavoured – Blueberry + Hops
Location of Brewing: Thedford, ON
ABV: 8%
Website Link: shaleridgewinery.com
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free:  Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottles)
Availability: Shale Ridge retail and online store
Flavour: Blueberry + Hops
Colour: Dark rose with hints of purple
Carbonation: Still



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Tart blueberry with hints of orange and lemon. Pulpy apple.
Initial Taste: Mild bite from acidity. Quick natural blueberry that is tart, slightly earthy. Pulpy apple base.
After Taste: Blueberry becomes smoother but remains strong and hops notes come out. Slight astringency. Ends dry with lingering blueberry flavours.
On ice: Slightly less tart and astringent but flavours are the same.

Additional Notes:  Shale Ridge’s Blueberry Hops features two flavours we cannot recall being paired together prior. The blueberry is very natural tasting, slightly tart and slightly creamy. The apple base is bright and pulpy but the blueberry is stronger. The hops are minimal but they add nice citrus undertones. Well balanced and runs more dry overall.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Thornbury – Blueberry Elderflower
More Sour – Steeltown – The Northman Sour
More Dry – Duxbury – Titled Barn
More Crisp – Ernest – Wild Blueberry

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Banjo – Doppelgänger

Cider Profile:

Name: Banjo – Doppelgänger
Sampled October 2020

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (bottle)
Availability: Banjo Retail Store + Select Farmers Markets
Flavour: Hopped
Colour: Hazy, sunshine-yellow
Carbonation: Medium, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Notes of lychee, mild apple, some other tropical elements
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Smooth creamy apples that have a slight hopped note to it. Lychee and starfruit elements present. Light citrus hints.
After Taste: Becomes drier, and more earthy. Hops more present, long lasting. Malty tasting undertone to finish.
On ice: Carbonation dramatically reduced. Similar elements but slightly lighter. 

Additional Notes:  The Banjo Cider Doppelgänger is an extra smooth hopped cider.  This offering is light and very fruit forward, with notes of lychee, citrus and starfruit are present, giving it tropical vibes.  A middle ground cider between sweet and dry. This was smoother and more balanced all around than most other hopped ciders we’ve had.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Hopped
More Dry – Kings Mill – Hopped 
More Crisp – Duxbury – Titled Barn 

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Loch Mór – Hopped

Cider Review

Name: Loch Mór – Hopped
Sampled August 2020

Brand: Loch Mór Cider Company
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: Hillier, ON
ABV: 7.9%
Website Link: lochmorecider.com
Ingredients: Apples, hops, sulphites
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 500ml (bottle)
Availability: From Loch Mór retail store and online
Flavour: Hopped
Colour: Hazy straw-yellow
Carbonation: Small, streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Sweet apple with floral hops that smell like elderflower
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Thick, creamy apples with smooth hops. Lots of delicate floral notes.
After Taste: Apples dissipate, leaving floral hops and some citrus notes. No bitterness like some hopped ciders have. Long lasting in the mouth, including some tannins.
On ice: Slightly thinner, but little change.

Additional Notes:  The Loch Mór Cider Hopped Cider is a smooth blend of semi-tannic apples with creamy hops that are not bitter at all.  Hops are floral in nature with a small amount of citrus notes.  On or off ice ice, does not affect the flavour that much.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ardiel – Big John Hop Cider
More Sour – Howell Road – Hopping Cider
More Dry – Kings Mill – Hopped
More Crisp – Duxbury – Titled Barn

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Ardiel – Big John Hop Cider

Cider Profile:

Name: Ardiel – Big John Hop Cider
Sampled September 2020

Brand:  Ardiel Cider House
Type: Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: The Blue Mountains, Ontario
ABV: 6.5%
Website Link: ardielciderhouse.ca
Ingredients: N/A
Gluten Free: N/A
Sugar Content: N/A 

Size(s) available: 473ml (Can)
Availability: Georgian Hills Winery
Flavour: Hopped
Colour: Transparent, straw yellow.
Carbonation: Medium streaming with a lot on the glass. 


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong aroma. Crisp apples with some lychee and citrus inspired notes from the hops.
Initial Taste: Minimal bite. Semi-sweet crisp dessert apples with some smooth citrus hops notes. Lemon hints.
After Taste: Remains sweeter, with some reduction in apple flavour.  More hops present but sweet and extra clean. Hops linger a bit and dries out. Tropical notes, predominantly lychee and peach.
On ice: Carbonation reduced, some less apple with a thinner body.

Additional Notes:  Big John Hop cider by Ardiel is a very clean, crisp and refreshing hopped cider.   Smoother than most hopped ciders, its light with some dessert apple notes but not sweet.  Becomes drier and more hopped with time. Does not have the same intensity in the elements that it smells like it would have. So refreshing and clean on its own, we don’t feel it needs ice to add those elements.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Hopped
More Dry – Kings Mill – Hopped
More Crisp – Duxbury – Titled Barn

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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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Beaupré – Cidre Honblonné

Cider Profile:

Name:  Beaupré – Cidre Honblonné
Sampled March 2020

Brand: Geloso Group of Companies
Type:
Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing:
Laval, QC
ABV:
5.6%
Website Link:
cidrebeaupre.com
Ingredients: 
N/A
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available:  1L (bottle)
Availability:
SAQ (Quebec)
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:  
Dark golden-yellow
Carbonation:
Minimal small bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Semi-strong aroma. A very clean and crisp juicy apple. Hint of cloves.
Initial Taste: No bite. Extra smooth, crisp clean Macintosh apple with no alcoholic notes – with some natural fruit acidity.  Some spice notes (cloves) that play along with a lightly hopped flavour. Citra hops add make for an orange-y flavour.
After Taste: Does not linger long.  More hops in the aftertaste but remains very clean throughout.
On ice: Even smoother and cleaner. Tastes more so like an alcoholic cider.

Additional Notes:  The Beaupré – Cidre Honblonné is a lightly hopped cider that has a very clean and fresh taste to it. The Macintosh apples make it undeniably a product from Quebec. Its base is dessert apples, without any real alcohol tasting notes, and a smooth, minimal combination of Citra and Cascade hops, it’s easy to mistake this as non-alcoholic. Sweet but not sugary overall. The hops work to elevate the cider and are less harsh than other hopped ciders.

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

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

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Pelee Island – Hopping Apple

Cider Profile:

Name:   Pelee Island – Hopping Apple
Sampled June 2020

Brand – Pelee Island Winery
Type:
Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: Kingsville, ON
ABV:
7%
Website Link:
peleeisland.com
Ingredients:  
Apple juice, hops, yeast
Gluten Free: Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 375mL (bottle)
Availability:
Pelee Island Retail and Online Stores
Flavour:
Apples + Hops
Colour:
Pale yellow
Carbonation:
Medium, semi-streaming



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Light aroma. Apple flesh with hops. Hints of bubble-gum and lychee.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation. Mild acidity. Filtered, clean apple flavour. Tangy elements are slightly behind the  sweetness.
After Taste: Apple flavour remains the same with sweet hops flavour appearing that provide bubble gum and lychee notes. Crisp, acidic finish.
On ice: Less carbonation. Less tangy and flavour ‘pop’.

Additional Notes: The Hopping Apple Cider from Pelee Island is a very light and breezy offering, providing for a very pleasant hopped experience that is not bitter or harsh at all. With bubble gum and lychee notes prevalent from the hopping, it has a light tart and acidic apple body that has some white wine influences in it. Wonderful for picnic drinking.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Malus Ciderhouse – Hopped Cider
More Sour – Spirit Tree – Dry Hopped
More Dry – Duxbury – Tilted Barn Hopped Cider
More Crisp – Howell Road – Hops Cider

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Duxbury – Tilted Barn

Cider Profile:

Name:   Duxbury – Tilted Barn
Sampled April 2020

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

Size(s) available: 473mL (Can)
Availability: 
Duxbury Online Store + Better Beverage Bars
Flavour:
Apple
Colour:
Translucent, sunflower yellow.
Carbonation:
Semi-frequently medium streaming bubbles


Cider Crate Tasting Notes:



Smell:
Medium aroma. Sweet but sharp apple, with some bubble-gum like hops.
Initial Taste: Light bite from carbonation and acidity. Smooth, sweet and crisp apple.  Clean with full flavoured smooth hops.  Significant tannin presence but doesn’t make it gritty.
After Taste: Apple dissipates and hops become more present. Smoothness reduces and more classic hops flavours are left with some acidity. Pretty long lingering.
On ice: Slightly less carbonation, the rest remains the same.

Additional Notes: This hopped offering the “Tilted Barn” by Duxbury is a nice balance of clean and smooth apple and hop flavours.  Easy to drink, almost identical on or off ice.  Aftertaste remains and becomes ‘hoppier’ as you get though the can.  Full bodied, naturally sweet but still some acidity and sourness.  A lot going on in one balanced glass. Everything you’d desire from a well put together cider.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Malus Ciderhouse – Hopped Cider
More Sour – Forbidden – Hopped Cider
More Dry – Kings Mill – Hopped (Still)
More Crisp – Sprit Tree – Dry Hopped

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Kings Mill – Ontario Mule

Cider Profile:

Name: Kings Mill – Ontario Mule
Sampled April 2020

Brand:  Kings Mill Cider
Type:
Apple – Herbed
Location of Brewing:
Stirling, ON
ABV:
9%
Website Link:
kingsmillcider.ca
Ingredients:
Ontario apples, ginger, lemon balm, hops
Gluten Free:
Yes
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 750mL (bottle)
Availability:
Kings Mill Retail Store + Online Store
Flavour:
Mojito
Colour:  
Cannery yellow, translucent
Carbonation:
Small, Infrequently streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Lemon and ginger (that is similar to lime combined), with some clean, crisp apples.
Initial Taste: Light bite. An even blend of apple, lemon and some ginger to start that isn’t overly aggressive. Slight earthy notes.
After Taste:  Becomes more full-bodied as time goes on. First lemon, then ginger takes over as the final predominant flavour. Smooth and sweet, earthy ginger remains on the pallet a long time (and builds as you drink the bottle). Mild hops also noticeable at the finish.
On ice: smoother (Reduced carbonation) and lemon.

Additional Notes: Using a blend of ingredients, Kings Mill’s Ontario Mule does a fantastic job of mimicking the flavours of a traditional Moscow Mule recipe, but in cider form.  You would be understandably mistaken if you thought it had lime as a key ingredient, but the blend of lemon balm citrus elements with a smooth ginger (along with some heritage apples) could fool you.  It’s easy to drink, not too sweet or sour and balanced very well overall.  Throw in a small lime if you feel like it and be mindful of the 9% alcohol. Hops flavour is mild but we believe it helps to enhance the other flavours.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Ernest – Impeachmint
More Sour – Clafeld – Disco Lemonade
More Dry – Spirit Tree – Pear with Lavender 
More Crisp – Niagara Cider Company – No. 1 Dry

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Links to Cocktails
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Howell Road – Hops Cider

Cider Profile:

Name:   Howell Road – Hops Cider
Sampled January 2020

Brand: Howell Road Cider Co.
Type:
Apple – Hopped
Location of Brewing: St. George, ON
ABV:
6%
Website Link:
brantviewapples.com
Ingredients:
Ontario apples, Ontario hops, sulphites
Gluten Free:
N/A
Sugar Content: N/A

Size(s) available: 473mL (Can)
Availability:
At retail store + various Farmers Market
Flavour:
Apples + hops
Colour:
Pale hazy yellow
Carbonation:
Small, semi-streaming bubbles



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Strong, sweet aroma. Bubble gum and light floral notes.
Initial Taste: Medium bite from carbonation. Quickly sweet with a medley of various apple tastes – mostly of the dessert variety. Smooth, floral hops.
After Taste: Apple flavour continues the same but dissipates. Bubble gum and banana notes. Semi-dry finish, white wine/champagne finish.
On ice: Reduction in the hop flavour. More apple forward and slightly smoother. Slightly more floral.

Additional Notes:  Howell Road’s hopped cider is a very pleasant offering, presenting a nice, balanced hops flavour among the very apple forward cider base. A floral, sweet hops makes it a smoother offering than other hopped ciders on the market. Easy to consume, ends slightly champagne-like.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Malus Ciderhouse – Hopped
More Sour – West Ave – Legend of the Fall
More Dry – Kings Mill – Hopped (Still)
More Crisp – Heartwood Cider – Hoppity

Links to Other Stories
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Kings Mill – Hopped (Still)

Cider Profile:

Name:   Kings Mill – Hopped (Still)
Sampled February 2020

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

Size(s) available: 750ml (Bottle)
Availability:
Kings Mill Retail Store, Online Store
Flavour:
Hopped
Colour: 
Translucent pale straw yellow
Carbonation: 
Still



Cider Crate Tasting Notes:

Smell: Medium aroma. Semi-sweet apple with smooth hops and floral notes.
Initial Taste: No bite. Quickly acidic with a blend of dessert and heritage apple flavours.
After Taste:  Tangy apple with some tannins followed by a light, fresh hops taste.  The hops, although not strong, remains a long time once the apple fades.
On ice: Smoother on ice, less tangy and a little less apple.

Additional Notes:   Floral and light, as opposed to traditional bitter and soapy hops like seen in IPAs and the occasional hopped cider, the Kings Mill Hopped Cider (still edition) is crisp and quite apple forward with a balanced blend of hops.  Smoother than other hopped ciders, its 9% and easy to drink so be mindful. Would complement food well. They also have a carbonated version of this cider.

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

Next recommendations:
More Sweet – Malus Ciderhouse – Hopped
More Sour – Coffin Ridge – Forbidden Hopped Cider
More Dry – Spirit Tree –  Dry Hopped
More Crisp – Duxbury – Tilted Barn Hopped Cider

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