Wild English – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

Wild English – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 7.5% ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

on the back label:

“Earthy, robust and ultra dry, Wild English is not for the faint of heart. Named for the wild yeast fermentation of English cider apples, Wild English delivers the country aromas of a crisp autumn day in the orchard. Raise a glass of Sea Cider and indulge your wild side!”

  • Style: (Dry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Dry woody slight funk red apple juicy tangy tart more woody exhale
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey /N. Burnaby
  • How much: $16.60 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 750ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: decent, but too dry for its juiciness

Visual: Bailer top re-sealable bottle. Pours medium-deep golden apple juice yellow with no significant head, very thin ringed retention, a bit of activity but not a lot.

Nose: musky apple juice, some woodiness, trace amount of funk. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, acidic-dry impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-1)-sweetness, juicy woody red apple juice, medium tart, trace funk, tangy crisp acidity

Finish: woody apple exhale, residual tart puckeriness,

Summary: The woody depth and slight funk adds some interest to this – a decent meal cider and an palate-whetter.

Ginger Perry – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

Ginger Perry – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 5.5% ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

(no longer available on their website, checked 2/2017)

on the back label:

“Ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg were prized by European explorers. Finding new routes to source these spices led to Cabot’s voyage of discovery in 1497 and Victoria’s early tea culture. Sea Cider pays homage to the history with Ginger Perry, made from the pears of early British Colonialists and the spices traded by our seafaring ancestors. Raise a glass of Sea Cider to the voyage of discovery!”


  • Style: (flavoured – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon) Pear Cider
  • Taste: Sour vinegary soft puckery acidic ginger/nutmeg pear wine tart sticky gums
  • Where I got it : Firefly / Vancouver
  • How much: $16 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., December 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: discontinued, but worthy

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). Bailer top re-sealable bottle. Pours crystal clear light yellow with quickly disappearing fizz, a few singular streams, no head, thin spotty-ringed retention.

Nose: nutmeg, slight cinnamon, apple-pear wine (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: sour-vinegary, crisp light fizzy, slightly thicker

Mid-palate: (lvl-2-sweetness), mild tart-medium sour acidic, medium puckery, benign ginger notes, pear wine

Finish: persistent puckery acidity, nutmeg and pear juice exhale, sticky gums.

Summary: Good body, robust and noticeable advertised spices, complete with a sour-puckery-vinegary backbone that engages the palate nicely. Lightly carbonated, but sufficient.

Wolf in the Woods – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

Kings & Spies – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 9.9% ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

from the seacider.ca website:

Botanically infused with hops and grand fir needles, Wolf in the Woods is a hard apple cider with a timberland twist. This unique union creates a dry cider that leads with grapefruit aromas and finishes with hopped herbal notes. As part of our Canadian Invasion Series, Wolf in the Woods draws attention to invasive species and their threat to farms and natural areas alike. Raise a glass of Sea Cider to the rainforest!

The Story:
As part of the Canadian Invasion Series, Wolf in the Woods was created to continue our awareness campaign around invasive species and their implications in farming and the natural world. A few years back, Sea Cider owner Kristen Needham, planted some hops on the perimeter of the Sea Cider forest to be used in our first hopped cider, Tillicum. Little did we know at the time, hops have many invasive qualities – spreading by underground rhizomes that can quickly get out of control. Wolf in the Woods was born as a juxtaposition of the agricultural landscape and the natural world. By combining grand fir needles that we’ve collected from the forest on Sea Cider Farm and Pacific Northwest grown hops, we’ve created a unique union of farmed and wild. Wolf in the Woods is here to tingle your senses with botanical delight!

Tasting Notes:
Appearance: Clear, bright, light verdé
Aromas, flavours: Grapefruit, pine, rainforest and hopped notes
Acid/sweetness: Off-dry, good acid balance
Mouthfeel: Soft astringency, gently effervescent

Suggested Food Pairings:
The balanced botanicals of Wolf in the Woods pair well with salty and fried foods – try french fries and jalapeño poppers. We’d even tackle the spiciest Indian and Mexican dishes with this rainforest wonder!

  • Style: (flavoured – grand fir, hopped) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Short-bodied off-dry crisp fizzy red apple yellow grapefruit sour light fir
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $16.65 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 750ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: nah, too plain

Visual: Bailer top re-sealable bottle. Pours clear light apple juice yellow with no head, soda-like big CO2 activity, big bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Nose: faint apple juice, restrained fir aroma (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: sharp crisp, fizzy-tart

Mid-palate: off-dry (lvl-2-sweetness), fruity red apple, muddled yellow grapefruit, medium sour-puckery

Finish: fleeting fir exhale, residual tart sticky gum acidity

Summary: The crisp, fizzy, dryish mouthfeel are pleasant but there isn’t a whole lot of lengthy or bold flavours. The apple is neither woody or fleshy; the grand fir is only slightly noticeable at the finish; overall the taste experience is rather tart and thin, not leaving much of an impact.

Kings & Spies – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

Kings & Spies – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 8% ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

from the seacider.ca website:

Victorian by provenance, Kings & Spies is a cider fit for royalty or rogues. Crafted from King apples, Northern Spies and others of mysterious lineage, this off-dry cider reveals a secret: Vancouver Island apples make winning cider. Proceeds support LifeCycles, a Victoria non-profit that promotes local Island food production.

The Story:
Kings & Spies is the result of our partnership with LifeCycles, a Victoria-based non-profit that promotes Island food security. Volunteers pick apples every Fall from backyards and local heritage orchards (such as the one at St. Ann’s Academy). Most of the apples go to people in need, but some are saved for us to craft into Kings & Spies. The name was coined when we noticed that our first shipment of apples from LifeCycles contained many King of Tompkins and Northern Spy apples. Kings & Spies is truly a community cider and proceeds support the community work done by LifeCycles. The blend of apples varies from year to year, depending on the fruit brought in by LifeCycles, but the style is consistently gently effervescent and off-dry. Depending on the year, it may show soft tannins, plus either fruity or floral and herbaceous notes on the nose.

After the apples are pressed to release the juice, fermentation takes place in pressurized stainless steel tanks to capture CO2, resulting in a naturally sparkling cider. The yeast strain used promotes a malolactic fermentation, which softens the acidity of the cider (Island apples can be very acidic). The cider is fermented to dryness then a juice reserve is added prior bottling to balance the acidity.

Tasting Notes:

  • Appearance: Clear, gently effervescent, light straw in colour, bright.
  • Aromas, flavours: Reminiscent of Prosecco; delicate; hint of floral and herbaceous notes; cut apple.
  • Acid/sweetness: Mellowed acidity, off-dry.
  • Mouthfeel: Minimal astringency, slight creaminess.

Suggested Food Pairings:
Delicate flavours and light sauces such as white fish, raw oysters and poultry. Salads and mild, hard cheeses. Prosciutto, margherita pizza.

  • Style: (off-dry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Fruity clean tangy soft acidic champagne apple juice light woody
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $16.60 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 750ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours clear golden yellow, just a few bubbles in the glass, a few singular very slow sporadic streams.

Nose: rounded woody apple juice. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, bright clean fruity

Mid-palate: light burpy, off-dry (lvl-3-sweetness), firm soft acidic bite, light champagne, tangy apple juice

Finish: fruity woody apple exhale, clean finish.

Summary: Pleasantly clean, structured, and drinkable. Visually and aromatically not that assertive but goes down crisp and smooth. A good aperitif.

Bittersweet – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)


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.

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


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.

Wassail – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)


Wassail – Sea Cider., 16% (now 14%) ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)


from the seacider.ca website:

Waes Hail! To your health! Spiced with orange peel and star anise (now cloves), our Wassail spiced cider harkens back to the wassailing tradition of drinking spiced cider and singing to the apple orchard. This scared away evil spirits to ensure a bountiful harvest. Raise a glass of Wassail to good health, a good harvest, and good cider!

The Story: 

Sea Cider’s Owner Kristen was inspired to create a traditional winter warming cider that embodied all the traditional Wassail characteristics and leant itself to the traditions of wassailing. Wassailing refers to drinking and singing to the health of an orchard. An ancient practice from southern England that’s still performed at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse today. The purpose of wassailing is to awaken the cider apple trees and scare away evil spirits ensuring a good harvest. Wassailing also refers to the tradition of raising a glass with good friends and neighbours in celebration of the season.”

Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Rich amber, gently effervescent
Aromas, flavours: Candied orange peel, caramel apple, hints of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg
Acid/sweetness: Semi-sweet, good acid balance
Mouthfeel: Smooth, long finish

Food Pairings:

This winter warmer is perfect just as is, or paired with your favourite seasonal dishes. The candied orange peel, caramel apple aromas and flavours, and hints of clove and cinnamon make this perfect for pairing with sausages, sausage meat stuffing, roasted pork, duck and of course turkey. A great fit for all your traditional sides too: garlic mashed potatoes, braised winter vegetables, and roasted turnips. The spices ensure it’s also ideal with strong cheeses, apple pie, apple crisp, pumpkin pie and of course Figgy Pudding.

  • Style: (orange peel, star anise – spiced) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Big star anise cinnamon candied orange peel spiced apple juice tangy sour
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $16.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., March 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: definitely

Visual: (old labeling prior to 2015, cellared for 4 years). Pours clear orange amber with no head, lots of slow and steady micro streams.

Nose: big clove aroma with cinnamon and orange peel. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: crisp, thicker mouthfeel

Mid-palate: light fizzy, star anise, alcohol zing and mild heat, fruity (lvl-7-sweetness), apple juice backbone, cinnamon, tangy sour candied orange

Finish: residual sticky sugars, apple juice & star anise exhale.

Summary: Lots of spices augment the clean apple backbone in this one, making it quite an interesting cider. It drinks something like a mead but lighter 0n the palate, especially at the finish. Beautiful aroma.

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


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.”


  • 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.

Rumrunner ’08 – Sea Cider Farm (Saanichton, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: B-

Rumrunner ’08 – Sea Cider Farm, 12.0% ABV – 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

from the seacider.ca website:

“Rumrunner is crafted with home-grown heritage apples including Winter Bananas and Winesaps. The apples were hand pressed using our traditional rack and cloth press, slowly fermented with Champagne yeast then aged in rum barrels. Notes of brown sugar and spice give complexity to this semi-dry sparkling cider.@

on the back label:

“The secret to Rumrunner lies in the barrel. Rich, full-bodied and intriguing. Newfoundland Screech barrels were the inspiration for this semi-dry sparkling cider, which opens up to reveal complex notes of brown sugar, rum and vanilla.”

  • Style: (Rum) Barrel-Aged Apple Cider
  • Taste Profile: vinegar sourness/fizzy -> semi-sweet/tangy green apple -> woody/off-dry/rum/cinnamon/tart/light warm finish.
  • Where I got it : Legacy
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off), June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: perhaps as a batched cocktail
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: pours almost clear rich copper golden brown with practically no head nor any retention and a few countable slow streams.

Nose: Pressed unfiltered tangy/sour woody apple juice with a bit of brown sugar.

Attack: strong acidic vinegar-sourness, light fizziness

Mid-palate: 5/10-sweetness, tangy sour green apples, barnyard

Finish: barnyard, woody exhale, partially dry, oaked rum, cinnamon/vanilla, medium tartness, light-med warmth

As you may or may not know I’m a big fan of barrel-aging. IMO the process adds depth while rounding out flavours and softening alcohol harshness. Case in point – this cider has gained another dimension of flavour while still retaining the underlying properties of a cider.