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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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Rock Creek Dry Cider

Review of Big Rock Brewery’s Rock Creek Dry Cider.  It is my first time trying this Canadian cider, and I had some on draft while in Victoria B.C.

Cider:  Rock Creek Dry Cider
Cidery:  Big Rock Brewery
Cidery Location:  Calgary, Alberta, Canada
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six packs of 12oz cans, and draft
Style:  Canadian commercial cider from cider apples

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Availability:  only in Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan)

Cider Description:  One day back in 1993, Chris Turton drove 590 kilometers from Kelowna to Calgary, to show Ed McNally some apples.  As soon as he surveyed the apples, Ed saw the possibilities. Chris grows apples you don’t see in the supermarket. The fragrant, sweet and succulent European varieties grown in Chris Turton’s orchards are fine examples of classic English-style cider apples. At the end of that meeting Ed and Chris shook hands. A year later, Big Rock’s first cider was in the keg.

Cidery Description:  Big Rock Brewery is a Canadian public company with offices and a brewery located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Big Rock distributes its products in Alberta and several other Canadian provinces.  The brewery was founded in 1985 by Ed McNally.

Price:  ~ $7 CAN
Where Bought & Drank:  Yates Street Taphouse in Victoria B.C.
How Found:  They had this and Strongbow (British Dry), and I gave this one a try as I hadn’t had it previously (or even heard of it).

First Impression:  Light amber hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mild, clean, and apple-forward.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of apple juice with a bit of citrus and apple pomace on the finish.  Quick to moderate length finish.  Moderate to high apple flavor.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  This was plenty drinkable and something I wouldn’t hesitate to order if it was the best option, but nothing special.  I didn’t really pick up the cider apple flavor, but I imagine it was because it wasn’t bittersweet cider apple flavor, which has a very unique and prominent flavor (and darker hue).

Most Similar to:  Strongbow British Dry (the original recipe, no longer offered in the U.S., but still available in Canada, and very commonly found in Victoria B.C. at least)

Random Note:  Victoria bartenders seem to like garnishing cider with a slice of lime, as that happened with both ciders I ordered that day.  The second cider order (at a different place) was even worse, as they served me a can of cider (Tod Creek’s Tod Cider) with a glass of ice with a lime, so I asked for a glass without ice (that has never made sense to me, unless it was a very sweet cider I wanted to water down).  I’ve never been offered lime or ice in the U.S.

I picked up a number of bottles of cider that day as well, many of which were a great value as the exchange rate was $1.00 CAN to $0.80 US.

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Closing Notes:  They also offer Pear, Peach, and Strawberry-Rhubarb flavored ciders, but I only saw six packs, which was a bit too much of a commitment for me.

Have you tried Rock Creek cider?  What did you think?