Bramble Bubbly – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

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Wassail – Sea Cider., 6.0% (now 9.9%) ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

from the seacider.ca website:

“The mighty blackberry is a tenacious invader of Vancouver Island orchards, but a touch of its sun-soaked sweetness added to apple cider makes for a sinfully delicious blushing semi dry sparkling cider. Raise a glass of Sea Cider’s Bramble Bubbly, and celebrate Vancouver Island fruit at its best!

The Story:
Bramble Bubbly combines the best of BC cider apples with wild local blackberries. Vancouver Island’s native species is called ‘The Trailing Wild Blackberry,’ a cousin of the Himalayan Blackberry. Bramble Bubbly is produced by milling and juicing our apples, and adding champagne yeast to begin fermentation. Fermentation happens at cool temperatures to maximize the aromatics of the cider base. Finally, blackberries are added to achieve the rose hue and luscious blackberry flavour.

Tasting Notes:

  • Appearance: Sparkling rosé
  • Aromas, flavours: Green apple, orchard leaves, blackberries, confectionary notes.
  • Acid/sweetness: Tart and balanced with residual sweetness.
  • Mouthfeel: Sharp yet smooth with minimal tannins, long and viscous finish.

Suggested Food Pairings:
This is an ideal sipper for the patio—thirst-quenching on its own for a summer day, or anytime with a salty snack. Bramble Bubby is perfect for a post-beach libation, and for the base of a unique sangria. Anything goes!

Pairs with salmon, summer salads, berries, outdoor barbecue, mild or sharp cheeses, cured meats, and poultry dishes. Also pairs well with desserts—warm apple and berry crumble, bite-sized bonbons, or vanilla ice cream. Pairings are only limited by your imagination!


  • Style: (flavoured – blackberry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Dense cloying apple sugars tangy medium acidic vinegar blackberry fruity
  • Where I got it : Firefly / Vancouver
  • How much: $16 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., July 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: (old labeling prior to 2015, cellared for 4 years). Pours pale pinkish orange with no head, ringed micro bubble retention, slow singular micro bubble streams.

Nose: woody VANILLA, fieldberry fruitiness, apple cider vinegar background. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: dense cloying sugars, incoming acidity

Mid-palate: woody with funk-apple throughout, background tangy, apple cider vinegar sour, (lvl-6-sweetness), red apple juice, blackberry

Finish: cinnamon, residual apple sugars, cloying finish.

Summary: This one at 6% ABV is on the cloying side but still with likable fruity flavours from start to finish. The newer bottlings at almost 10% ABV should be more balanced.

Somersby Blackberry flavoured Cider (Denmark)

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  • My Rating: D+

Somersby Blackberry flavoured Cider, 4.5% ABV, 500ml, (Denmark)

Ingredients: water, apple wine (water, glucose syrup, apple juice concentrate), sugar, apple juice concentrate, carbon dioxide, natural flavour, citric acid (acidifier), potassium sorbate (preservative), colour (ammonia caramel, anthocyanins and carmine). Contains sulphites.

  • Style: (flavoured) Apple Cider
  • Taste Profile: soapy sugariness -> artificial candied blackberry/apple -> cloying/candy-sweet finish.
  • Where I got it : Port Moody Liquor
  • How much: $3, August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: Judging by what they put in the ingredient list, it looks to be a whole lot of sugar and apple juice, with several chemicals to enhance the flavour, appearance and texture. It pours clear rosé-orange with a quickly dissipating bubbly head, thin ringed retention, countable steady streams.

Nose: Pure soapiness. Aromatized liquid soap, bar soap, you name it. Though not completely unpleasant, all the naturalness of the apple juice is gone.

Attack: sugary (9/10)sweetness, fizzy crispness

Mid-palate: (MAIN) soapy-candied artificial blackberry, dense apple sugars

Finish: medium-cloying, thickened saliva, fizzy burpy candied-sweet finish

Summary: Sadly, the apple in the cider has been highly masked and covered up by artificial (despite “natural flavour” being in the ingredients) blackberry flavouring. McCashin does a much better job with their Fruté flavoured ciders by adding real fruit to their ciders; be sure to grab a 3pack of theirs if you ever see them at your liquor store.