Tod Creek Mala-Hop

Review of Tod Creek’s Mala-Hop.  This is the second cider I’ve had from Tod Creek. The name is a reference to Malahat, Vancouver Island’s dividing mountain between Victoria and its southern tip, and that is a hopped cider.

Ron from DrinkingCider.com brought me two Tod Creek ciders from his Vancouver detour to his Cider Summit Seattle 2015 / WA Cider Week trip!  See here for my review of Tod Creek’s Tod Cider Vancouver Island.

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Cider:  Mala-Hop
Cidery:  Tod Creek
Cidery Location:  Victoria B.C. Canada
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  500ml glass bottle

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Availability:  Vancouver Island, Vancouver, and a couple store in the interior of British Columbia.  They are entering their second season, and have plans to expand into the Kelowna area, possibly Alberta, and hopefully eventually the U.S.

Cider Description:  All juice hard apple cider with triple-hop flavour….

Premium cider with a West Coast bite.  Cruising the Malahat is a rite of passage for most Islanders, the mountain at your side as Finlayson Arm and Saltspring Island creep into view.  Whether you’re heading to Victoria or leaving the capital city, the Malahat is an essential part of Island life.  This hard apple cider is prefect for beer-lovers and cider enthusiasts, featuring a touch of tartness from the Granny Smiths and three different hops delivering that distinct flavour and aroma loved by true hop-heads….

This sparkling cider is all juice — no water added to dilute the great taste.  Mala-Hop is a triple-hopped treat and tastes great on its own or paired with a spicy pepperoni pizza, nachos loaded with jalapenos, or a hearty beef stew….

Ingredients:  apple juice, maple syrup, sulfites, hops….

Hopped cider has been around for years, but only recently in the Pacific NorthWest has it really become discovered and loved by so many. This cider is for the beer drinker, or for anyone who wants to have the tremendous nose and flavour of hops in their cider. Kinda like peanut butter and chocolate….

We use a blend of Granny, Golden, Jona, Sparton apples, and this year we’re also using Mac. In the Mala-Hop is also some cider variety such as Yarlington and Tremlett, with some crab as well. 
The three hops we’re using are Chinook, Sterling and Centennial, all sourced from the organic growners HOOH  (harvest our organic hops) in Liloette, BC.

Cidery Description:  Tod Creek Craft Cider makes small batch, handcrafted cider with BC apples. We source our apples from local trees on Vancouver Island as well as from farmers in the BC interior.  Long, slow fermentation brings about great flavours in the traditional way. We typically ferment each batch for about four months. If you want the super-sweet, watered-down canned stuff, we can’t help you. Our ciders are all-juice blends to bring a clean, crisp, enjoyable drink that goes great with dinner, friends, or all by itself.  As a small batch cider, you’ll notice that each year the ciders will vary slightly, much like a good wine does. Our apples will be influenced by the sun, the amount of rainfall, and other factors, so each year will yield a slightly different taste.  Most of our ciders are coarse filtered, and our hopped cider isn’t filtered at all. Filtering can take some of the flavours out of cider, so we try to limit the amount of filtering we do.

They opened in June 2014 and have a micro-cidery setup, their own orchard in Victoria, and lease an orchard in Kelowna.  A tasting room is in the works (hoping for Summer 2016), but they will do a tasting & tour by appointment.  Sea Cider and Merridale are also in the same area.

Price:  n/a (appears to run $7.60 CAD, or $5.77 USD a bottle)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Ron gave it to me.  I’d never heard of Tod Creek cider before as it isn’t available here in the Seattle area.

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First Impression:  Almost no carbonation.  Light straw yellow with a hint of honey hue, slightly hazy.  Mild aromas of hops, floral, citrus, wood, and maple.

Opinion:  Semi-dry.  This cider tasted spot-on to how it smelled, with the same mild hops, floral, citrus, wood, and maple notes.  Low bitterness, astringency, acidity, and tartness.  Medium bodied.  Very smooth.  On the unfiltered side.  Balanced complex flavor.  Average length finish.  The hops are present throughout the sip, but remain very mild.  I’m surprised it wasn’t more tart as I pick up a lot of granny smith aple notes, but I imagine the other apple varieties, hops, and maple syrup balanced out the flavor.  I’m impressed they really kept the bitterness down.  My main comment is that it could use more carbonation, but I say that about almost all ciders!

Most Similar to:  Portland Cider Hop’Rageous, which is the only other hopped cider I’ve tried that I actually liked (tasting notes here).  Hop’Rageous also has very little hop flavor, more floral & citrus notes with a slight hops aftertaste.  Most hopped ciders seem to go quite overboard on the amount of hops, only appealing to beer lovers, which I definitely am not.

Closing Notes:   Not bad!  I was pleasantly surprised.  My husband also enjoyed it.  I’m not sure Mala-Hop is something I would buy if it was available here as its not really my type of cider, but like Portland Cider Hop’Rageous, I’d recommend it to anyone who is curious about hopped ciders and looking for something on the mild end of the spectrum.  I didn’t have any problem finishing the bottle, which was definitely unexpected.  Hopefully I’ll be able to try more ciders from Tod Creek in the future.

Have you tried any cider from Tod Creek?  What did you think?

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2 thoughts on “Tod Creek Mala-Hop

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