Fraser Valley Honey

Review of Fraser Valley Cider Co’s Honey.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Photo Jan 25, 5 33 37 PM.jpg

Cider:  Honey
Cidery:  Fraser Valley Cider Co.
Cidery Location:  Langley, British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  Canadian craft cider with honey

photo jan 25, 5 33 50 pm photo jan 25, 5 34 07 pm photo jan 25, 5 33 59 pm

Availability:  probably only in British Columbia (see here)

Cider Description:  Our honey cider balances fruity apple aromas with the slightly spicy notes of wildflower honey from our farm hives. Our bees have done the hard work so you don’t have to – relax and enjoy.

Cidery Description:  After a 20 year career in engineering I was looking for a new challenge.   While mulling over a few ideas I took a course on cider making to improve my home cider skills and thought ….hey wait a minute!  And so a project was born.  We found our 12 acre farm in January 2014, picked out the site of our future cidery and made an offer.  In 2015 we built the cidery and with the help of friends we planted an orchard of 1800 trees.  With over 25 different varieties of english and french cider apples our aim is to grow the types of apples that make the highest quality cider.  Now we’re in our third season of operation and what a journey!  We’ve poured a lot of cider, had some fabulous parties in the tent and made lots of new friends along the way.  Each year we increase production (and still can’t keep up!) and this year we pressed the first fruit from our own orchard for a special estate blend cider.  The days are long but we’re living our dream and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

Price:  ~ $16 CAN
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  during a cruise port stop

Photo Jan 25, 5 35 35 PM.jpg

First Impression:  Hazy yellow hue.  Smells mild, of honey.  Low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of honey, sweet lemonade, and green apple.  Moderate finish length with a hint of sourness.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed this.  Nice flavor and mid-level sweetness.  So many of the other B.C. ciders I’ve tried have been rather dry, tart, and bland.

Most Similar to:  Sea Cider Birds & Bees, except lower ABV

Closing Notes:  I hope to find more ciders from this cidery next time I’m in B.C.

Have you tried Fraser Valley Honey?  What did you think?

Dominion Magic Hour

Review of Dominion’s Magic Hour.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

Cider:  Magic Hour
Cidery:  Dominion Cider
Cidery Location:  Summerland British Columbia Canada
ABV:  6.6%
How Supplied:  16oz cans
Style:  Canadian craft cider from heirloom, bittersweet, & crab apples

Photo Dec 15, 5 47 23 PM Photo Dec 15, 5 47 39 PM Photo Dec 15, 5 47 55 PM

Availability:  probably only in parts of B.C. (they have a list here), year round, since summer 2018

Cider Description:  A refreshing session cider made with our first-press of early season apples blended with French bittersweets and foraged crabapples. Featuring bright acidity and mellow tannins, this cider is best shared with friends in the afternoon sun.

Cidery Description:  Dominion is a name that means heritage, collaboration, and innovation — values that inspire us in our orcharding and cidermaking.

Price:  ~ $4 CAN / 1 can ?
Where Bought:  Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, on a cruise port stop

Photo Dec 15, 5 47 08 PM

First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, of tart heirloom apple.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp & tart green apple and crab apple, lemon, mineral, and pineapple.  Moderate length finish.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t a fan of this, but only because I don’t like super dry & tart ciders.  My husband enjoyed this though, as he loves those types of ciders.

Most Similar to:  a more tart version of Eden Heritage Cider

Closing Notes:  My husband and I visited several shops in the tourist area of Victoria, and I picked up a number of single cans, so I’ll have more reviews of Canadian ciders soon.

Have you tried Dominion cider?  What did you think?

Central City Limited Edition Imperial Cider

Review of Central City Brewers and Distillers’ Brewer’s Reserve Small Batch Series Limited Edition Imperial Cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.  I picked it up in Victoria in September, when we were in port for a cruise.

Photo Dec 25, 3 48 49 PM (1).jpg

Cider:  Limited Edition Imperial Cider
Cidery:  Central City Brewing
Cidery Location:  Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  11.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  Canadian cider from local apples, bourbon barrel aged

Photo Dec 25, 3 48 59 PM (1) Photo Dec 25, 3 49 14 PM (1) Photo Dec 25, 3 49 28 PM (1)

Availability:  limited seasonal release, since fall 2016, only in British Columbia (although in general their products are available throughout Canada; see here)

Cider Description:  Central City Brewers & Distillers’ Oak Aged Craft Cider is a limited edition, small batch apple cider. Made from 100% Okanangan Valley apples, oak aged with subtle bourbon tones. The resulting flavour is complex with notes of vanilla bringing balance to a rich, crisp apple character. The effervescent finish makes for a refreshing and flavourful cider experience.

Cidery Description:  This brewery opened in 2003.  In addition to beer, they also produce spirits and cider.

Price:  $16.44 CAD (~ $13.00 U.S.)
Where Bought:  The Strath in Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I had never heard of this producer, and it sounded like a cider I’d like.

Photo Dec 25, 3 51 42 PM (1).jpg

First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of alcohol, oak, and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Light to medium bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey, lemon, bourbon, oak, and caramelized sugar.  Long boozy finish.  Low oak influence, apple flavor, and sessionability.  Moderate bourbon flavor, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I loved the flavor profile of this cider.  It was quite alcoholic, but well balanced and tasty.  The bourbon was definitely noticeable, which I liked, but not overwhelming.  I shared it with a friend on Christmas day, and it was a great choice.  The high quality surprised me, as I haven’t enjoyed too many ciders from breweries.  Often they are rather beer-like.

Most Similar to:  (1) Moonlight Meadery Little Apples (the new canned version like this, but without the first batch can liner issue; it remains much drier than their previous draft version); (2) Eden Specialty Ciders Cellar Series Guinevere’s Pearls (except it lacks bourbon); and (3) 2 Towns Bad Apple (except it also lacks bourbon)

Closing Notes:  I hope to be able to find this again.  It was an awesome value too!

Have you tried Central City’s Imperial Cider?  What did you think?

Soultree Authentic Dry Cider

Review of Soultree Authentic Dry Cider, from Whistler Canada.  It is my first time trying it.

Cider:  Authentic Dry Cider
Cidery:  Soultree
Cidery Location:  Whistler CA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  Canadian commercial cider from cider apples, sweetened with apple juice concentrate, with natural flavor

2017-01-14-18-06-45 2017-01-14-18-06-53 2017-01-14-18-07-06

Availability:  semi wide release

Description:  We believe the old ways are still the best.  Our authentic dry cider is made from genuine cider apples, sourced from an old growth orchard.  So Soultree is a cider that’s crisp, natural, & real.  Because for us, quality still matters.  We know you’ll taste the difference.

Price:  $11.99 / four pack
Where Bought:  a natural grocery store in Northern CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

2017-01-14 18.06.27.jpg

First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells of apple juice concentrate and white grape.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of apple juice concentrate, white grape, pineapple, green apple, and mineral.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low to moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I thought it was pretty average.  It definitely tasted rather commercial, but wasn’t too sweet, and had some nice flavor.  I’d prefer this to a lot of the overly sweet commercial ciders.

Most Similar to:  Vermont Cider Co. Addison and William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider, which were slightly sweeter but had some very similar flavor notes

Closing Notes:  I’m not sure if I’ll ever see cider from this cidery again, but I’d be game to try anything else they make (I’ve heard of them also making a ginger variety).

Have you tried Soultree cider?  What did you think?

Sea Cider Flagship

Review of Sea Cider’s Flagship variety.  Its the first time I’ve tried this, but I’ve sampled a number of their other varieties (see here).

2016-08-05 17.31.30.jpg

Cider:  Flagship
Cidery:  Sea Cider
Cidery Location:  Saanichton, British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  7.1%
How Supplied:  750ml flip-top bottle
Style:  Canadian cider from dessert & heirloom Organic apple varieties, German-style, ultra dry, without sulfites

2016-08-05 17.31.41 2016-08-05 17.31.50 2016-08-05 17.31.59

Availability:  semi wide release, at these locations, including in Canada, WA, OR, and CA

Cider Description:  This German-style cider is one of few commercial ciders in the world free of added sulphites. Slowly fermented with Champagne yeast, the ultra-dry Flagship has crisp herbaceous notes framed by soft tannins and lively acidity. It features both smoky and herbal aromas and is best paired with risotto, fish and chips, mild cheeses, poultry, and grilled seafood.Certified Organic by PACS 16-259.

We named this cider Flagship because it was the first cider we made and it is as pure as cider gets. Flagship is one of only a handful of ciders in the world free of added sulphites, and was the first fully certified organic cider in North America. It is German in style, meaning very acidic, which is achieved by fermenting high acid apples such as Granny Smiths, Empires and Winter Bananas (all certified organic). A strain of Champagne yeast is used which can tolerate a low pH. Because there are no sulphites to control oxidation and spoilage, the production team must take extra precautions in apple selection and washing, aging and bottling.

Cidery Description:  Sea Cider is a farm-based cidery located on the Saanich Peninsula just minutes from Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Our ten acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees, made up of over 50 varieties of heritage apples.  Sea Cider opened its farm gate for business in 2007 when owner Kristen Jordan purchased the property with a vision of creating an organic farm and orchard and producing traditional fermented artisan ciders. Since then, we’ve grown to an annual cider production of over 7,000 cases and growing. We continue to pride ourselves on crafting traditionally fermented ciders from organically grown apples.

Price:  n/a, as it was a gift (retail is $15-$20 however); some friends picked it up for me in B.C. (although it is sold in the U.S.)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

2016-08-05 17.33.00.jpg

First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Moderate carbonation upon pouring.  Smells only of apple juice.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Low carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Sharp flavor, very apple-forward, with hints of honey, lemon, and herbs.  Moderate to long slightly boozy finish.  Strong apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I found this to be an enjoyable basic cider selection.  While it was simple, I also found it to be sophisticated (which is was very apple forward, it didn’t taste like alcoholic apple juice).  It pairs well with food as it won’t overpower.

Most Similar to:  I found the sharp flavor of this cider similar to many ciders which use crabapples (although this one doesn’t list crabapples), such as Dragon’s Head Columbia Crab, Blue Moon Cidery Raven’s Moon, and Liberty Ciderworks New World Style.

Closing Notes:   Sea Cider hasn’t disappointed me yet.  However, my favorite so far is their Prohibition / Rum Runner.

Have you tried Sea Cider Flagship?  What did you think?

Gabbie’s Premium Cider Semi Dry

Review of Gabbie’s Premium Cider Semi Dry.  I picked this up in Victoria B.C., a stop on our Alaska cruise.  Its the first time I’ve tried their cider.

2016-07-01 17.20.30.jpg

Cider:  Semi Dry
Cidery:  Gabbie’s Premium Cider, from Ravenskill Orchards
Cidery Location:  Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottle
Style:  Canadian craft cider from apples from B.C. Canada, including cider apple varieties

2016-07-01 17.20.41 2016-07-01 17.20.50 2016-07-01 17.20.59

Availability:  only in British Columbia, Canada (Gulf Islands, Victoria, and Vancouver Island); see here

Cider Description:  Diverse, Semi-dry and Delicious!  Golden in the glass, this semi dry cider opens up with a supple rustic apple fragrance.  The acidity creates the perfect balance between sweet and salty.

Cidery Description:  Nearly 100 years ago, B.C.’s Gulf Island farmers concocted exceptional hard cider.  Legend has it, those makers then journeyed out to sea to share their libations with the mainland. To those Cider Makers, we salute you.  Today we join you.

Gabbie’s Premium Ciders are perfected by Ravenskill Orchards at our unique island location.  Amongst 1,000 heritage trees, 25 varieties of apples, grow fresh, crisp, sun-kissed and gently-breezed by the salty sea air.  We are a family of farmers, sea lovers and makers crafting the best small batch premium cider the Gulf Island have enjoyed since prohibition.  A distinct taste and cider experience.

Our premium hard ciders are handcrafted in a traditional “old-world” style using “new world” techniques. A perfect blend of distinctive flavour and colourfully named apples varieties such as Yarlington Mill, Newton Pippin, Kingston Black & Porter’s Perfection.

Price:  $20 CAN (~$15 USD)
Where Bought:  The Strath in Victoria B.C. Canada
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

2016-07-01 17.22.09

First Impression:  Moderate straw yellow.  Low carbonation.  Smells of tart apples, citrus, and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness.  Moderate acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  Slight richness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of apple pomace, tart apple varieties like granny smith and crabapples, citrus (lemon), honey, and floral.  Moderate length finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed this cider.  However, I found it a bit tart for my liking.  I liked the tannins and complexity, but it left me wanting more.  I’m curious as to the apple blend; they mention cider apple varieties, but not that those are the only apple varieties used.

Most Similar to:  Liberty Ciderworks New World Style and Raven’s Moon Apple Cider

Closing Notes:   Gabbie’s Semi Dry is well suited for lovers of tart ciders, and would pair well with food.  I’m glad I got to try it.  They also offer a “Real Dry” variety of cider (which won Gold in the Traditional Dry category of the 2016 PNW Cider Awards).

Have you tried Gabbie’s cider?  What did you think?

Sea Cider Birds and the Bees

Review of Sea Cider’s Birds and the Bees cider.  I picked this up in Victoria B.C., a stop on our Alaska cruise.  I’ve tried a few ciders from Sea Cider (see here), but this one is part of their Canadian Invasion Series and only available in Canada.

2016-05-27 17.25.57.jpg

Cider:  Birds and the Bees
Cidery:  Sea Cider
Cidery Location:  Saanichton, British Columbia, Canada
ABV:  9.9%
How Supplied:  750ml clear glass swing-top bottle
Style:  Canadian craft cider made from dessert apples, with fireweed honey and lemon bitters

2016-05-27 17.26.07 2016-05-27 17.26.19 2016-05-27 17.26.29

Availability:  Only in British Columbia Canada

Cider Description:  The birds & the bees are a welcome sign of spring, and we thought we’d pay tribute to the pollination season with a cider in their honour. Our farm-crafted apple cider is blended with Vancouver Island fireweed honey and lemon bitters for a zesty finish buzzing with goodness. Proceeds from our Canadian Invasion Series help combat invasive plants, so raise a glass to a springtime delight!

As part of the Canadian Invasion Series, Birds and the Bees was created to continue our awareness campaign around invasive species and their impact on farming and the natural world. In addition to increasing awareness, the Canadian Invasion Series is also a way for the Sea Cider team to create fun and interesting seasonal ciders infused with local ingredients. Birds and the Bees blends our apple cider with a hefty helping of lemongrass from our farm, Vancouver Island’s fireweed honey and our own apple eau de vie to create a sweet yet sharp cider sensation. Expect aromatic notes of citrus and lemon to harmonize with the light fresh, floral aroma of fireweed honey in a union as sweet and sprightly as a May morning.

Their Canadian Invasion Series uses dessert/culinary apples to allow them to blend in cool stuff, while their Heirloom Series is “all about the apples” (estate grown bittersharps and bittersweet, single varietals etc).  They hope to have the Canadian Invasion Series ciders available in the U.S. in the future.

Cidery Description:  Sea Cider is a farm-based cidery located on the Saanich Peninsula just minutes from Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Our ten acre farm is home to over 1,300 apple trees, made up of over 50 varieties of heritage apples.  Sea Cider opened its farm gate for business in 2007 when owner Kristen Jordan purchased the property with a vision of creating an organic farm and orchard and producing traditional fermented artisan ciders. Since then, we’ve grown to an annual cider production of over 7,000 cases and growing. We continue to pride ourselves on crafting traditionally fermented ciders from organically grown apples.

Price:  just under $20 CAN, which is abour $15 USD
Where Bought:  The Strath in Victoria B.C.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, although I read about it online (and thought I’d never get a chance to try it).

2016-05-27 17.27.56.jpg

First Impression:  Medium straw yellow.  Low carbonation upon pouring.  Smells of apple, honey, citrus, and floral.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Still.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hint of bitterness.  No sourness or tannins.  Strong honey, moderate lemon, and some orange and floral notes.  Moderate length slightly warming finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  Simple but very tasty.  Its unique to find a boozy spring/summer cider, as typically these sorts of ciders are lower ABV (although true cysers, when they ferment the apple juice with the honey instead of just adding honey afterwards, tend to be higher ABV).

Most Similar to:  Eaglemount Cyser (also a higher ABV and semi-sweet, but without the lemon)

Closing Notes:   I’m glad I got to try this cider!

Have you tried Sea Cider?  What did you think?

Dublin’s Pub Irish Cider

Review of Dublin’s Pub Irish Cider, an Irish pub-style cider made in Quebec Canada. Dublin’s Pub also makes Black Velvet and Irish Red cider varieties.

2015-10-30 20.04.42

Cider: Irish Cider
  Dublin’s Pub
Cidery Location:  Quebec Montreal Canada
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  Four pack of 12oz clear glass bottles (although I got a single, despite it saying not for individual retail sale on the bottle lol); kegs

2015-10-30 20.04.47  2015-10-30 20.04.59 2015-10-30 20.05.072015-10-30 20.04.47 - Copy

Availability:  Unknown, but at least Montreal and parts of the U.S.

Cider Description:  The sensorial profile of Dublin’s Pub resembles that of beer, without the bitterness. Thus, the selection of the apple varieties and the wine-making techniques used produce a fairly neutral cider with a round, fresh flavour,without the sharp acidity typical of conventional ciders.

Cidery Description:  From the Middle Ages to the present day, cider has been Ireland’s most popular beverage. Dublin’s Pub is an apple cider made in the purest Irish pub tradition.  Alcoholic and refreshing, Dublin’s Pub’s unique taste is the result of a process involving the crushing of rigorously selected apples and the fermentation of their juice.  Dublin’s Pub can be enjoyed on any number of occasions, such as pub outings or gatherings among friends, and makes a superb accompaniment to a variety of dishes. What’s more, it’s the only cider that brings out the Irishman in you!

Price:  ~$2 for a single bottle?  It was a while ago…
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  My husband picked it up and I didn’t look too closely before buying…I thought it was actually from Ireland.  There are definitely some drawbacks to having a combination bottle shop & bar; I always come home with more cider than I was expecting to buy.  When I got home I read the bottle and was disappointed to find out this “Irish” cider is actually made in Canada.  Then I had a cider buddy say they thought this cider was pretty bad.  So, it wasn’t at the top of my list to try and has been sitting in the cabinet for awhile.

2015-10-30 20.05.55

First Impression:  Pale straw yellow.  Moderate carbonation (large bubbles).  Basic apple juice scent.

Opinion:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Very back sweetened (not so much that it was very sweet, but it was very juice-like).  This is when they add un-fermented juice back in after fermentation, often to bring the alcohol level down to a target as much as to actually sweeten the cider.  Crisp & refreshing but a bit boring and one-dimensional.  Moderate acidity.  Very light tartness.  No bitterness, astringency, tannins, or sourness.  Light bodied.  This cider actually tasted better out of the bottle, which I’ve noticed with some commercial ciders (made it seem not as juice-like and retained more carbonation).  This is a type of cider which should be served very cold.  I was glad I ended the night with this cider, vs. starting it.

Most Similar to:  Possman Pure Cider and Crispin Original.  However, I actually enjoy the Crispin as it has a bit more complexity (tartness) and some tropical notes.

Closing Notes:   I consider this to be an average commercial cider (although its possible its in the craft category…it just doesn’t taste like it).  I’d prefer this to Angry Orchard Crisp Apple and Strongbow Gold Apple for example (mostly as it isn’t crazy sweet & syrupy), but there are many other commercial ciders I’d prefer, such as many Woodchuck varieties, Ace Joker, and Crispin Original & Browns Lane.

Have you tried Dublin’s Pub?  What did you think?