Well-travelled, exotic boozer Daniela CM samples a slice of the Canadian apple industry in Ontario.
From the moment I arrived in Canada until the moment I left, my cider journey didn’t stop. Accustomed to leaving the UK and finding myself in a cider-less desert, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that Canada is a cider haven. With so many ciders you’d think they wouldn’t import any more ciders but I did stumble upon the odd Magners and lots of Strongbows – not exactly the UK’s best import. Nine full days of Canadian ciders, I am not complaining.
My adventure begins with a cider called Pommies (almost literally as soon as I landed). Recommended to me, I am excited to quench my thirst after a long trip. As I inspect this green can with a white and almost-bare-tree on the front, I am surprised to find out that its a gluten free cider. As I take my first sip I initially find the cider to be pretty sweet but with a very dry after taste. So much that I already feel a hangover coming along. It is very fizzy and due to its very light yellow colour, it was reminiscence to the likes of Kopparberg ciders. It is not the best cider or the cheapest but hey, at least if you are gluten free, you too can enjoy a cider.
Thornbury’s Apple Cider
Next up is Thonbury. Probably my least favourite cider throughout the trip. This cider reminds me of the likes of Gaymers but with a more olive-y after taste. I find it hard to swallow so I give up a third into it. It doesn’t help that the cider is pretty dry, and just like Pommies, Thornbury seem to be trying to compete for the lightest coloured cider.
Growers’ Honeycrisp Apple
Growers Honeycrisp Apple is a cider I find by accident. I suppose my unconscious is hoping this cider will be more of a grower on my palate but it doesn’t work out as I expect. I tend to like some sweet stuff but this cider is too sweet -even by my standards. Smelling and tasting like sweet concentrated apple juice with a touch of fizz, it’s not the one for me. I can’t finish the can, but I suppose if you are into sweet ciders this one is your cider.
Coffin Ridge Forbidden
As I stumble into a random pub for a quick drink I look at their cider selection*. With only two ciders on the menu I go for the weirdest sounding one. I settle upon a Coffin Ridge Forbidden-an artisan cider. It is pretty dry and reminds me of a better version of a Strongbow. It is not as bitter but it does have some lemon hints which actually work really well. However, after half of the can it starts to get a bit sickly and venturing into dangerous olive water territory. It is a strange cider indeed; its very light yellow colour does not give it the appearance of cider.
During my Canadian culture immersion, I go to a comedy club to see what Canada had to offer. It is a local gig, with some good acts, some bad acts and over all very culturally diverse. However, there is a lack of diversity in the cider department. Batch:1904 is my only choice of cider and one that I am yet to try, so I proceed. Looking like a watered down beer, my hopes quickly dwindle and I stop looking forward to drinking it. Surprisingly, it is very cold and I find it extremely refreshing. I think it is safe to say that warm, it would be totally undrinkable, so ice cubes are recommended. It is quite a crisp cider with a heavy beer texture. So far the darkest cider in colour, which is great for a change. It definitively made the comedians a bit funnier.
Molson Canadian Cider
The only cider I have in a bottle this trip is the 341 ml Molson Canadian Cider. It is very refreshing and easy to drink. It is pretty sweet but definitively not the sweetest – it reminded me of a Stella Artois Cidre. Molson is part of Molson Coors family-a notoriously brewery for their ales and beers. It is good to see more ciders in the mix.
Alexander Keith’s Cider
With the view of Niagara falls to my right and a pint of Alexander Keith’s cider on my left, I am excited to try my last cider. Out of all the ciders so far this one is by far the one with a more beer appearance. However, it tastes nothing like beer and it is indeed a very sweet cider which smells oddly like an apple jolly rancher. It reminds me of a mixture of a traditional cider and sweet champagne and oddly enough it is my favourite. I must admit that the scenery might have also helped the taste.
*The more places I visited and the more alcohol shops I went to (alcohol can only be purchased at specific alcohol shops) I was surprised to find new ciders all the time. However, this variety isn’t reflected on the menus. Most place seem to support one or two breweries and that’s all the cider you are going to get.