Craft/Micro Cider?

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Philip1
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Craft/Micro Cider?

Postby Philip1 » Mon Aug 29, 2005 11:05 am

It recently occurred to me that I'm still drinking the same cider as I did back in my Labatt/Molson/Tennant's days. Now that I've moved on to better beer is there better cider out there than my usual Strongbow and Magners? For all I know these are to cider what Molson is to beer. I've seen something called Waupoos on draught in Toronto and Granny Smith something or other at the LCBO. Are these much different from the Strongbows of the world? Thanks.
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JerCraigs
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Postby JerCraigs » Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:21 pm

My all time favorite cider in memory was Black Sheep cider, I think it was imported to Ontario by the guinness folks. I have no idea if it would still be pleasing to my palate, but I loved the stuff at the time. I haven't seen it for years.
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tupalev
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Postby tupalev » Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:57 pm

Waupoos is pretty decent, but I'm hardly a cider expert. There is limited quantity of their "Premium" cider at the better LCBO's in town (Summerhill, Cooper St., etc. do a search on the lcbo site and you'll see a few). They also have 3 other brands but I have only ever tasted these from their location in Waupoos (near Picton, ON). Worth a try anyway if you enjoy cider (their "ice-cider" made in the tradition of ice-wine was pretty neat, and expensive, as well). Off topic, but they are also doing a beer contracted through Church Key for the Picton area.
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tupalev
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Postby tupalev » Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:58 pm

Back to cider, I used to enjoy Scrumpy Jack in the UK (wasn't it also available in wine-like bottles at the lcbo as well?).
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Postby antirealist » Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:46 pm

Even in England, really good ciders can be pretty difficult to find. The best are often produced in smallish quantities with limited distribution. I find most of the big name ciders, including those imported to ON, to be too sweet. Waupoos is pretty good though - certainly better than Strongbow and Magners - but still a little sweet for me. It's also a bit on the expensive side. C'est What usually have it on tap.

It's not a cider, but the Éphémère Apple from Unibroue is an outstanding, um... beverage, but is only available seasonally (and is also a bit expensive).

I wasn't aware of the Premium County - thanks for bringing it to my attention, btw. It sounds interesting, and I'll try to get hold of some. According to the County Cider website, it's available in 1 litre bottles, but it doesn't seem to be available in any Toronto bars. Pity.
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Postby antirealist » Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:50 pm

I agree, Scrumpy Jack is definitely one of the better mass-produced ciders, and is drier and more tart than most.

I believe Big Rock do a dry cider, but I've never been able to find it. Is it any good?
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clasher
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Postby clasher » Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:22 pm

I choose blackthorn if I have to something other than my homebrewed cider.

I had a bottle of premium county once, and it had a serious acetone aroma. I should have taken it back to the LCBO, but it went straight down the sink. I really ought to revisit this, but haven't been able to muster the courage.
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Postby Josh Oakes » Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:29 am

Ever since Barn Owl flew the coop I wouldn't drink cider at all in Ontario, since Strongbow was the best one available. Then, and now, I get my cider fix via Quebec, where they have dozens of cideries and some excellent products. And that's before I start drooling about the ice cider, which is another matter entirely. In short, Marché des Saveurs du Québec in Montreal is the best cider hookup in Canada.

Vermont also has a good selection of quality ciders. Again, not available in Ontario. Because why would anyone in Ontario want good cider?
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Postby Shiner » Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:23 am

Ontario is a very unusual market for ciders. It is the only province in which ciders sales are declining. The cooler market really took a big chunk of these sales versus other provinces. There is a new person at the LCBO in charge of the ciders and she is working hard to try and revive the category. One of her mandates is to not only bring more attention to the category, but to add more products to it. There is a sparkling cider coming in the fall, and an ice cider for the winter holidays this year.
Philip1
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Postby Philip1 » Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:46 pm

I tried Waupoos Premium Cider last night. It was nicer than Strongbow with (and I hate to use a term from a macro beer commercial) a "cleaner finish" without the slightly sickly aftertaste that can be experienced with Strongbow - particularly North American Strongbow which I think is a bit sweeter than the British version. On the con side it is about 20% more expensive than my usual ciders - $12.95 for four 331ml - and it is 6.5% ABV. Given how easy it is to drink (it went down quicker than a standard lager) the high alcohol level is a bit of a problem. I'll look at for County Cider's other brands.
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Postby Lubiere » Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:44 pm

Shiner, will these be the ciders that you distribute in QC (and that you bottle in Mtl)?
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Shiner
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Postby Shiner » Wed Aug 31, 2005 9:17 pm

No, Mystique Cider will not be making an Ontario appearance as of yet.
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Postby old faithful » Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:56 am

Cider is one of those drinks I could see getting into in an alternate life. (I feel the same about tequila and maybe rum). Of all the ciders mentioned in this thread I don't think I've had a single one, which I regret. If a pub organised a cider tasting I'd go to get some education in this area. I recall in England at real ale pubs a craft cider or two was sometimes available. This cider was often dispensed from a small cask on the bar counter by thumb taps. It was often described by interesting variant names such as Zum Zider (almost sounds Dutch - I thought they brought hopped beer to Britain, not cider :)), Scrumpy Cyder, Old Scrump and so forth. (Now I see where "apple scrumping" in the The Who's song 5:15 on Quadrophenia came from although I think that meant kids nabbing stray apples from orchards, not getting high on cider). Anyway some of those local ciders were really good, they were intensely dry almost like a traditional lambic and usually strong. At first the dryness seemed odd but then you got used to it and it had an appeal of its own. I wonder if any of the Canadian ciders taste like that. I've made a note to try the next Canadian draft cider I see.

When I was at McGill in the late 1960's we used to buy cider from farms in Rougemont and go on rambles in the area, eg, up Pain de Sucre hill which has nice views of the surrounding countryside. It was only a few years later that you could buy cider in grocery stores in Montreal so I now realise the farmers must have sold the home brew under the table. We also bought fresh white loaves and curd cheese from them and ate it with the cider at the top of the hill. The winding walk down was much easier than the climb. :) That cider was fairly good and quite dry, somewhat like the English scrumpy.

Gary
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Rob Creighton
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Postby Rob Creighton » Thu Sep 01, 2005 10:36 am

I have spoken with a couple of small brewers that are looking at the cider market again. The problem lies in running two operations with separate equipment within the same facility.
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SteelbackGuy
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Postby SteelbackGuy » Thu Sep 01, 2005 11:22 am

Ill second the Waupoos notion!
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