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.

Cracked Apple Cider with Tequila & Lime (UK)

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  • My Rating: [D+]

Cracked Apple Cider with Tequila & Lime, 5.5% ABV, 500ml, (Gloucester, UK)

printed on the front-left of the can:

“Cracked Apple is a cider with real character and barrels of personality. With our drinks, as in life, we like to keep things zingy and that’s exactly what we’ve done by adding a splash of smooth tequila and a squeeze of lime to our tangy apple cider. Enjoy super-chilled.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Fermented Apple Juice, Sugar, Ethanol, Citric Acid, Flavours, Tequila, Lime Juice Concentrate, (Preservatives) Potassium Sorbate, Sulphur Dioxide.”

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  • Style: (tequila, lime flavoured) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Sour puckery lime red/green apple light tequila
  • Where I got it : ???
  • How much: $3 – 500ml., ???
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: Pours light apple juice yellow a small fizzy quickly dissipating head, virtually no retention and only a few sporadic bubbles.

Nose: bright lime, green apple, background agave. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming sour sugars

Mid-palate: soda-like fizzy, HUGE sour-tangy, (lvl-8)-sweetness, tart (MAIN) tequila, lime, red & green apple -> cloying sugars

Finish: plasticky, puckery-sticky gums, palate roughness, candy-eqse fruity exhale.

Summary: Initial sips are decent, but it becomes too puckery too basic too fast. It might be okay with a meal but very aggressively sour and candy-like without any real boldness of flavour.

Ruby Rose – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

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Ruby Rose – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 9.9% ABV, 750ml., (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

on the front-left label:

“A captivating semi-sweet cider infused with rhubarb, Ruby Rose is a beguiling vixen and part of our Canadian Invasion Series. She may be as aromatic as rhubarb pie, but her namesake is the merciless Rosa Rugosa, an invasive plant that threatens many coastal regions. Proceeds from our Canadian Invasion Series support efforts to combat invasive species in sensitive ecological areas.”

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  • Style: (rhubarb) flavoured apple cider
  • Taste: Flat fruity berry alcoholic apple dense sugar
  • Where I got it : Crosstown Liquor (Vancouver)
  • How much: $20 – 750ml., August 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: not for those averse to sweet ciders

Visual: Pours pale pinkish-orange with virtually no head, barely any activity, a few bubbles on the surface. Not much visual appeal.

Nose: woody tangy apple wine, some prickly acidity. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: crisp-flat CO2,

Mid-palate: cloying sugars -> (lvl-7)-sweetness, mild alcohol bitterness, medium tangy-sour, (MAIN) apple wine, dense apple sugars, strawberry & nondescript fieldberry.

Finish: apple peel/rhubarb exhale, sugary flat mouthfeel finish.

Summary: Okay flavour but nothing punchy or memorable; That coupled with the lack of textural mouthfeel makes this one just average. It’s okay with a meal.

Ginger Apple Cider – Lonetree Cider Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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Ginger Apple Cider – Lonetree Cider Co., 5.5% ABV, 355ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

on the back of the can:

“We believe the old ways are still the best. That’s why we always use genuine cider apples to craft our authentic cider selections. Now, we’ve added a zesty twist of real ginger, for an exotic and lightly spicy cider experience. We know you’ll taste the difference.”

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  • Style: (ginger) Flavoured Apple Cider
  • Taste: Spicy ginger apple
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $11/6pack – 6x355ml., October 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes, if you like ginger

Visual: Pours clear light yellow with no head and a few slow and steady streams.

Nose: tangy ginger + cane sugar, almost like a ginger beer. Very bright and inviting. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: sharp carbonation, dense sugars

Mid-palate: tangy acidity, fizzy-tingly, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) ginger, apple juice,

Finish: light-med ginger burn, burpy, light-cloying, lingering ginger burn finish.

Summary: Authentic ginger as advertised with a substantial burn, quite good all things considered. Not too pretty visually or texture-wise, but very sippable with a meal.

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.

Strawberry Rhubarb flavoured Apple Cider – Growers (Oliver, BC, Canada)

Strawberry Rhubarb flavoured Apple Cider – Growers, 7% ABV – 330ml, (Oliver, BC, Canada)

  • Style: Flavoured Apple Cider
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Cloying sugar rush -> strawberry/apple juice -> sticky finish
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $9.50/6pack, Spring 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours clear light pink, no head, just a few slow-moving CO2 streams. Candied strawberry on the nose. First sensation is a hit of cloying sugar, followed by tartness, strawberry candy, apple juice, detectable alcohol, finishing with a light stickiness. Low complexity, low depth, okay transitions, okay carry, okay drinkability (with food). Sugar from start to finsih.