J.K.’s Northern Neighbour Farmhouse Cider Saskatoon Cuvée – Almar Orchards (Flushing, MI, USA)

J.K.’s Northern Neighbour Farmhouse Cider Saskatoon Cuvée – Almar Orchards, 5.5% ABV, 22 fl.oz., (Flushing, Michigan, USA)


on the back label:

“We invite you to celebrate a collaboration of a few passionate American and Canadian farmers. The fruits of their labor are presented in this bottle, a family reunion of sorts. This delightful cider is made from Michigan apples and a unique Canadian prairie apple, the Saskatoon. Gathered by J.K. from family orchards in Michigan and Saskatchewan, this natural cider has been carefully fermented here at Almar Orchards using our traditional methods. We hope you enjoy sharing this cider that knows no borders with friends, family, and neighbours.”

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  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: Sweet woody tangy-zingy mildly alcoholic apple juicy slightly cloying
  • Where I got it : Uwajimaya / Seattle
  • How much: $9.20 USD = $11.90 CAD, October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: a good balance

Visual: Pours orange-red with large suspended bits of sediment, no activity and no head, just a few bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Nose: woody apple juice with a some sweet acidity, hint of yeastiness, deep flavour. (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: incoming dense apple sweetness, thicker mouthfeel, tangy-zingy

Mid-palate: woody apple juice, mild apple cider vinegar tang mixed with hidden alcohol, (lvl-6-sweetness), hints of peach

Finish: slightly cloying sugars, juicy apple-white peach exhale

Summary: Quite an approachable sweet cider with bit woody apple flavour and a bit of tang and sourness to round it out. The sugars become a bit cloying after several sips so this goes best with a savoury meal.

Cidre Fermier Brut – Manoir de Grandouet (Grandouet, France)

Cidre Fermier Brut (NV) – Manoir de Grandouet (Stéphanie & Lucile GRANDVAL), 5% ABV, 75 cl., (Grandouet, France)


  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: Cedar woody pear apple juice tangy white grape slightly rough
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $11 (after 10% off) – 75 cl., October 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes, good woody

Visual: Real cork, twisty steel cap. Pours translucent deep dirty yellow with a dissipating soda head, suspended micro sediment, singular fast streams.

Nose: very woody, farty-mild funk’d, tangy apple juice. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: tingly-soft fizzy

Mid-palate: pear juice, wet cedar woodiness, bright short (lvl-5-sweetness), white grape, light tangy

Finish: residual apple juice sugars, mild woody exhale, off-dry slightly palate rough finish.

Summary: This has a very aromatic cedar woodiness, along with a pleasantly fruity pear-apple-white grape taste going on. Quite interesting and just the type of cider I like, although the finish is slightly palate rough.

Sidra Bere – Sidreria Bereziartua (Astigarraga, Spain)

Sidra Bere – Sidreria Bereziartua, 5.5% ABV, 33 cl., (Astigarraga, Spain)


info from ratebeer.com:

ORIGIN
Natural cider from Astigarraga.

VARIETY
Blend of natural wild apples such as Txalaka, Urtebia, Judeline and Judor.

PREPARATION
This cider is produced using advanced methods while maintaining tradition and followed by fermentation in wooden and stainless steel vats for a minimum of 4 months.

TASTING NOTE
Colour: Harvest yellow.
Aroma: Fruity and fresh.
Taste: Very homogeneous bitter-sweetness.

TECHNICAL DATA
Alcohol: 6% (5.5% in this bottle)
Total acidity: 5-6
Volatile acidity: 1.5-2
pH: 3.5-3.8”


  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: Natural BIG tangy pukey/funk yeasty light sweet tart red-green apple sour woody edge
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.05 (after 20% off) – 33 cl., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes, quite different from local BC ciders

Visual: Pours opaque golden orange with no head and just a few bubbles, settled yeast in the bottle.

Nose: pukey yeasty-acidic, woody apple cider. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: light crisp, dull-low CO2 entry

Mid-palate: tart, (lvl-3-sweetness), tangy-sour-pukey, dry (40/60)-red/green apple sour

Finish: woody-lactobacillus, tart/off-dry, residual tanginess

Summary: Big tangy sourness in this one; it reminds me of sour/wild ales but with a brighter apple edginess. Quite woody and natural-tasting, a lot of tartness as well. Good complex textures, decent body and flavour, not that sugar aggressive which is a nice changeup, especially for ciders.

Gabbie’s Premium Semi-Dry Cider – Ravenskill Orchards (Gabriola Island, BC, Canada) 

  • My Rating: [C+]

Gabbie’s Premium Semi-Dry Cider – Ravenskill Orchards, 6.5% ABV, 750 ml., (Gabriola Island, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)


On the front-right label:

“Gabbie’s premium ‘Semi-Dry’ cider is handcrafted in a traditional ‘old-world’ style using ‘new world’ techniques. A perfect blend of distinctive flavour and colourfully named apple varieties such as Yarlington Mill, Newtown Pippin, Kingston Black & Porter’s Perfection.”

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  • Style: (semi-dry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Clean crisp filtered semi-dry apple juice white wine notes tart finish
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $18.40 CAD (after 10% off) – 750 ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: too ordinary

Visual: Wrinkly paper sticker label. Pours clear dirty yellow with no head, very loose clusters of slow steady streams.

Nose: filtered apple juice, floral perfume (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: very crisp bite, tingly CO2

Mid-palate: clean filtered apple juice, background tangy acidity, (lvl-3-sweetness), chardonnay notes

Finish: tartness, lingering apple aromas, off-dryness

Summary: Pretty ordinary actually, nothing in the flavour strikes me as “premium” at all. It’s clean and direct from start to finish – mainly apple with a hint of wine, but the taste certainly doesn’t justify the price at $20/bottle.

Bittersweet – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

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Bittersweet – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 7.2 ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

from the seacider.ca website:

Bittersweet apples are the backbone of traditional English cider and are some of the rarest apples in Canada. We grow several of these prized varietals, which can be heart breaking to grow, yet produce some of the world’s finest cider. Our Bittersweet cider is an off-dry sparkler expressing the classic phenolic character of this coveted fruit. Raise a glass of Sea Cider to a bittersweet tradition!

The Story:
Sea Cider’s Bittersweet is a cider truly rooted in tradition. Dabinetts, Yarlington Mills and other English bittersweets have been patiently cultivated on Sea Cider’s farm to bring you this rare libation. While most people would consider bittersweet apples inedible in a culinary sense, their bitter flavour imparts a cider full of character. These apples are high in tannin, low in acid and provide the classic flavour of the finest English ciders. Enthusiasm for these varietals and their importance in cider making apples goes back to the 13th century! In a market increasingly dominated with ciders made from dessert apples, Bittersweet brings the classic phenolic character that can only come from the true cider-making apples of yesteryear.

Tasting Notes:

  • Appearance: Clear, bright, amber
  • Aromas, flavours: Phenolic, spicy, cut apple, orchard leaves
  • Acid/sweetness: Off-dry
  • Mouthfeel: Soft astringency, gently effervescent

  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: Crisp tart sweet apple juice very subtle bitter
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $15 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 750ml., September 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours clear pale orange-yellow, dissipating fizz with large bubbled ringed retention, spread out clusters of active streams.

Nose: acidic apple juice with hints of grape, a bit of woodiness (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming puckery tart

Mid-palate: light-med sour tart, (lvl-4-sweetness), sticky apple sugars, tangy apple juice, soft woodiness, medium tart

Finish: subtle bitterness, light burpy, sticky gums, red apple juice exhale, residual sour acidity.

Summary: Drinks like a sour, light-tart puckery Martenelli apple juice with undetectable alcohol.

the Hostler – The BX Press Inc. (Vernon, BC, Canada)

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BX Press the Hostler – The BX Press Inc., 7% ABV, 500ml, (Vernon, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider)


on the front-right label:

“Refreshing and authentic, this thirst-quenching cider is our salute to the Barnyard’s Express (BX) Hostlers. These agile old horsemen were charged with caring for the renowned company horses at each station along the Cariboo Road. Trained for staging alone, these spirited steeds required great skill to handle. Proud of their work, hostlers vied with one another to turn out their teams in the finest condition, and impress the stagecoach passengers.

Dedicated to our orchard and passionate about our cider. ‘The Hostler’ takes us a full year to craft. Starting as delicate blossoms which slowly transform into sugar-rich fruit, each batch is carefully hand-picked, pressed, and matured. It is not until the next season’s buds are opening that our apples are re-introduced to the world as crisp, sparkling cider.

Whatever the season, share in the fruits of our labour today, and enjoy a bottle of hardworking Hostler spirit.”

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  • Style: (Organic) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Clean off-dry balanced med-soft acidic tang red apple
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $8.70 CAD (after 10% off) – 500ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: not too special

Visual: Pours crystal clear straw yellow, no head, fast, medium-sized bubble streams.

Nose: watery apple juice, a touch of apple wine. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: dry, apple fruity-crisp

Mid-palate: clean tangy acidic backbone, hints of lime/minerality, apple cider vinegar, soft dissipating sour, red apple, (lvl-2-sweetness)

Finish: medium tart, red apple juice exhale, sticky

Summary: It being on the dry side, you get to appreciate the subtle nuances of the acidity along with the bright clean apple flavour. All around clean.

Black Fox Organic Cider – Dunkertons (Herefordshire, UK)

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Black Fox Organic Cider – Dunkertons Cider, 7% ABV, 500ml, (Pembridge, Herefordshire, UK)


on the back label:

“Dunkertons Cider Mill is set in the ancient parish of Pembridge, an area of farmland, woods and hedgerows, where medieval half timbered villages meet the stone market towns of Wales.

From earlier times, rural communities have told stories of fantastic and unusual creatures which have supposedly lived in their locality. The lush rolling countryside of North West Herefordshire is no exception. Here stories tell of an animal which has evaded capture by farm and huntsman alike: a Black Fox. The red fox has always existed, but the belief grew that there was a fox ‘as black as night, so that it might live in a man’s shadow and so never be seen’.

A favoured haunt of the BLACK FOX is ……………the Cider Orchard.”

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  • Style: (Organic) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Big woody med acidity sweet apple juice vanilla mild white grape medium tart
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $13 CAD (10% off) – 650ml., February 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yep, dig the woody

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Pours almost golden orange, no head, small clusters of slow steady micro streams.

Nose: heavy wet woody yeasty apple wine, vanilla. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, incoming tangy

Mid-palate: tangy medium acidity, (lvl-6-sweetness), woody apple juice,

Finish: medium tart, woody exhale, vanilla, white grape

Summary: Big wood vanilla, solid taste and body, all around clean.