Monday, August 5, 2013

Gravel Run By Carrick Wines

Colour:  Champagne/Pale Straw
6.3% alc.vol - 750 ml bottle

Pour:  The carbonation appeared really heavy on the pour but disappeared quickly.  There was just a hint of carbonation as you could see some bubbles on the side of the glass. This made no difference at all in the taste.
Taste:  To me it was slightly sweet but very close to being a dry cider.
Aroma:  A subtle hint of apples

Synopsis:  I served this cider right from my fridge (chilled for a couple of hours). As normal, I didn't drink it over ice as I prefer to experience the natural taste.  Gravel Run is really refreshing with a crisp finish.  I thought I had picked up a hint of citrus which gave it a sour undertone, which I noticed after a few sips; it was very subtle and not in your face.  It left my taste buds tingling...wanting more of this liquid gold.

 As mentioned earlier, I found it not to be overly dry but not sweet either.  Right on the cusp of being one or the does have some wine qualities to it. 

History:  Gravel Run won the Gold Medal at the 2013 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition in Grand Rapids Michigan.

Gravel Run is gluten free and it can be purchased from Carrick Wines via their website .  You can also follow them on twitter at @Carrick_Wines. I won't go into much detail about Carrick Wines as it is worth viewing their website.

Synopsis:  Not an overpowering  apple taste, this is a really refreshing cider.  I could drink it all day! After I had made my notes, I decided to look up Carrick Wines to see what they had to say about Gravel Run.  They call it an off-dry lightly carbonated sparkling beverage.  It says to serve over ice, but I found it to be refreshing chilled.  Gravel Run is made only from apples locally grown in Bruce and Grey Counties. 

Rating:  9.4 out of 10

I would like to thank @OntCraftCider - OCCA for providing me with this excellent cider.  Let's keep supporting our Ontario Craft Cider makers as they are making some amazing stuff.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Whipper Snapper Red Cider by Carrick Wines

Colour:  Red
Alc. Vol - 7.2% per 750 ml bottle

Well the name says it all!  This puts a little whip into your step.  I shared this bottle with a friend at a gathering of cider drinkers in Toronto back in May.  For those who have a strong constitution you may not want to share it with anyone. 

Whipper Snapper is not your traditional cider.  It is not a sweet a cider at all, yet it is smooth and mellow.  You feel mellow after a few glasses too!  For me it could easily replace your red wine with a meal as it isn't heavy in look and taste.  There was no carbonation on the pour or after.  This is really not your traditional hard cider, but I was fascinated by it.  It's colouring and flavouring were amazing.  I personally couldn't really get a sense of it being made from apples.  You could give this to a non cider drinker and I don't think they would know they were drinking hard cider.

A Little History:  I am not going to get into great detail about Carrick Wines as one should really visit their website.  Whipper Snapper Red Cider is made by Carrick Wines and this beauty won a bronze medal at the 2013 Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition in Grand Rapids Michigan.

To find out more about Carrick Wines visit their website at and follow them on twitter @Carrick_Wines.  Carrick Wines offer tours as well and you can order their cider on line for delivery (Ontario Only).  See the website for details.

Final Verdict:  Wow!  Great craft cider from an Ontario cider maker. I would definitely get this cider again.  It is hard to compare it to anything else as I haven't had anything else like it which makes it unique.  This cider is gluten free. Great cider to have with a meal, as it not like your traditional hard cider. The taste is really subtle, there is not one thing that is overpowering in it. Very sophisticated.

Rating:  9.5 out of 10


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sir Isaac's Premium Pear Cider

First of all I would like to thank @OntCraftCider (Ontario Hard Cider) for providing me with this product to sample and review. I am not an expert on cider by any means but as an avid cider drinker I know what I like and what I don't.
6.5% alc.vol per 341 ml bottle
Available: LCBO - $2.75 per 473ml can
Puddicombe Cider Company  - please see website for information
Twitter: @puddicombecider
Pour: No carbonation
Aroma: Pear
Colour: Clear
Taste: Distinct pear taste but not overpowering. To me, it had a dry like.
Texture: I found it to be smooth and creamy.
History: I tend to visit the websites of the producers after I have finished their product. I gleamed from Puddicombe's website that their cider is 100% pear. It does contain sulphites and isinglass.  As well, they give you pairing suggestions and how best to serve their product. You can also purchase their cider directly from them if you cannot find it in the LCBO. Their website also confirmed it is gluten free.
My Final Thoughts: I put this cider in the fridge to chill, as I tend not to drink my cider over ice. I found this to be quite refreshing and not very acidic. It achieved a fine balance of not being overly sweet or dry. As mentioned before, I found it to have a creamy, silky texture and very subtle taste....something I have never really experienced before. Great alternative to wine with meals but it can also be a cider that you take to a party on a hot summers night. I must admit I was a bit leary of trying pear based ciders, but this one has dispelled any worries I may have had. Like Sir Isaac Brock who charged up that hill in the battle of Queenston, this cider leads the pack in pear ciders.
Rating: 8.6 out of 10
PS....Give this pear cider a go and let's support our Ontario Hard Cider makers! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spirit Tree: Apelager

First of all, before I begin this review, I would like to thank Ontario Hard Cider (@OntCraftCider), a trade organization of hard cider makers in Ontario for hooking me up with this cider to try and review.

As mentioned in previous postings, I like to drink my cider straight ice.  My cider was nicely chilled in the fridge when I finally opened her up.  I noticed that when I  popped the cap off, a faint but nice apple/citrus aroma hit the senses.  So far so good.

 Pour:  When I started pouring my cider into the glass, I noticed it was very carbonated.  There wasn't a long lasting foaming head, but after five minutes there was still a lot of little bubbles dancing around in the glass.  It also poured out cloudy, which reminded me of some of the craft ciders I had on my last trip to the UK.

Colour:  As mentioned, it poured out cloudy, and it remained so, but the longer it sat, you could see a faint pale yellow.

Texture:  Well to my surprise, it has a real creamy texture.  Talk about silky and smooth on the pallet.  With my first few sips, my first thoughts were what a nice mellow, creamy cider. 

Taste:  I decided to delve further to see if I could find any other underlying flavours.  I gave it a swoosh around the mouth, and I was convinced  I could pick out a hint of pear.  The more I drank the more aware I became of the undertones....Pear, granny smith apple, green kept me guessing but all I know is the tip of my tongue was tingling.  What I liked about it is that it is creamy, but it does get a sour bite at the finish.  What a trip the taste buds go on.

My Final Thoughts:  To me, this cider is not overpowering in taste (apple). It takes the drinker on a magical ride of trying to figure the main flavour and undertones.  Its unique feature is its creamy texture.  Most of all, since it is only 3% alc.vol per 341ml bottle, what a great cider to take to a party or to have when wanting something light.  My only complaint, and this is that I found it a bit too carbonated. This wouldn't stop me from drinking it again, but if you have stomach issues be aware.  This little light cider, has a complexity to it that will have individual drinkers experiencing different tastes and having different ideas which is a good thing!

Rating: Right up there with their pub cider....this one gets an 8.1 out of 10. 

For further information you can visit their website at

I hope you get a chance to try this cider. Remember, this is just a view from a person who likes their cider and is not a professional.  So on that note... ENJOY!



Monday, April 1, 2013

Spirit Tree: Traditional Pub Cider

I first tried this cider at C'est What in Toronto.  This amazing place serves only craft ciders and beers.  NO big name corporate bigwigs here.  I had my choice of the Traditional Pub cider or their Perry Cider.  I decided to go with the above as I have tried many ciders over the past few years here and abroad.

The Specifics:  6% alc.vol per 341 ml bottle

The Pour:  I was lucky enough to be given a glass, so I will able to pour out this liquid gold on my own.  It was clear, not cloudy, with some carbonation.  No foaming head. 

Aroma:  Distinct apple smell.  I didn't get the chance to smell the cider when the lid was first popped opened.

The Colour:  Well in the pub light it looks crystal clear.  It is light in colour.

Initial Taste:  When I took my first sip, I thought it was very clean, with a hint of citrus.  At first, I thought it was a sweet cider, but as soon as you swallowed it finished off being more on the dry side.

Further Reflection:  After my first few sips, and giving it a swish around the pallet, I picked up a slight creamy texture with a smokey finish.  I found this cider to be very complex in moment I pick up citrus tones, then it's creamy then back to citrus.  That's what I call teasing the taste buds.  I am sure, each drinker would pick up different flavours and undertones.  Near the end, I had decided that this is happy medium cider....not overly sweet nor not a overly dry.  The dry taste definitely comes at the end of each sip, especially if there is  long periods in between each sip.

The Verdict:  This is one cider I would recommend to any experienced and first time cider drinker.  It did remind me of the various ciders I tried while over in the UK.  The complex tones of this bevy will have each individual experiencing different tastes.  I found it wasn't too acidic which is what I like. I hope to get my hands on more of this excellent cider. 

History:  Well I won't go into great detail as Spirit Tree has an amazing website.  For further information visit or on twitter @SpiritTreeCider. 

Rating:  I give this 8.3 out of 10.  



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Carrick Old Boys Cider

My friend Ruth and myself went to this cider event in Toronto being held at Tequila Bookworm.  Put on by @CiderToronto, it was showcasing 12 different Ontario ciders. My mission was to try something that wasn't available at the LCBO.  After browsing the list, Ruth and I decided to split a bottle of Carrick Old Boys Cider.  I wish I had remembered to take a picture, but by the time I remembered it was mostly consumed.

Carrick Wines:  Located in Carrick Township, in Bruce County, Carrick Wines produces cider and other goods using local produce.  They have a really neat website.  They offer tours and you can place an order on line.  A minimum of 3 bottles is required.  Of course there is a delivery charge.  Their website is  Their twitter handle is @Carrick_Wines

The Scoop:  The alcohol content is 6.3% per 750ml bottle.  To quote the information found on the list provided "Old Boys Cider is a slight off dry still cider, produced in the traditional way, using a high quality apple blend."

The Pour:  What I liked was that there was low carbonation. 

Aroma:  No matter how hard we tried, we could not get a distinct smell of apples. 

The Taste:  This cider produced a great conversation between the two of us.  We both agreed it had a light, dry, crisp and clean tart taste.  Obviously it was made from apples but it wasn't in your face. 

Synopsis:  I had noted that I really enjoyed it but, wasn't the type of cider I would crack open after work or on a hot summers day.  What we did decide is that this would be an excellent choice to have in place of wine when serving a meal.  Though it is sweeter than most wines, it is mellow and sophisticated enough to please your guests.  Why not bring a bottle instead of wine at your next dinner engagement!  This is the type of cider, I would have a special occasions, but not for everyday consumption.  Overall it was a great cider and we enjoyed it!!

Rating:  Ruth gave it an 8 out of 10.  Me:  7.8 out of 10

On another note, it was a pleasure meeting @OnCraftCider and @Pommiesdry.  Thanks to @tequilabookworm for hosting this great event.  We need more businesses in Ontario to start supporting our local cider makers. 



Sunday, March 10, 2013

GrandeTentation Rose Cider

 Size:  330ml bottle
Alc/vol:  6.4%

I have been very lax lately (3 months almost) in writing my thoughts about various ciders I have had the opportunity to try.  I have been sampling many but instead of writing my thoughts down I was too busy enjoying myself.

On my visit to Montreal way back in October, I happened to pick up a bottle of Michel Jodoin carbonated crackling rose cider Grand Tentation.  The fact as the name suggests it was rose in colour was enough for me to give it a try.

The pour:  No foaming head but very carbonated.  Minutes after the pour the little tiny bubbles were still jumping away in the glass. 

The Taste:  Now unlike your traditional apple ciders, this bevy was very fruity.  In fact, I couldn't taste any apple at all.  Yet according to their website it is is made from Geneva and McIntosh apples. Wow, if you can hide the tones of apples then it is a great job.  My first impression was that it was more of a wine than cider.   At the same time, it was very enjoyable and a great change to your apple tasting hard core ciders.  It did have a bit of a sour bite too it.  Credit to the the cider maker for making this unique drink.

The Verdict:  I really did enjoy this and would have it again.  The downside is that the carbonation got the stomach growling and rolling away.  Would this be an everyday cider one would have at the pub?.....No.  It it is the type of cider that could be served in place of wine at dinner or just to have as a variation from your traditional ciders.  It is for this reason I give it 7.8 out of 10.

For more information on this specific cider or other products available visit their website at: