Cider flights at Cider House in Toronto, 2017/09/08 – tasting notes

After an exhausting but very satisfying week in Toronto I welcomed the weekend with opened arms. Finally, I could start exploring Ontario’s craft ciders and Toronto’s cider bars. Cider House in Toronto was the first cider spot on my list as here I could sample a variety of local ciders at once from their rotating menu by ordering a tasting cider flight. After getting a recommendation from the staff I went for the following options.

Flight 1 (from left to right)

  • Sulkers Jalapeño
  • Collective Arts Blueberry
  • Duxbury Heritage 1650
  • County Blood Orange Cider

It’s their super dry cider made with pineapple and charred jalapeño. Appearance: cloudy, straw yellow.  Lightly carbonated. The body is also low. Aroma: rather weak with notes of green bell pepper and light pineapple. Taste: not entirely dry with low residual sweetness, almost no acidity, notes of green bell pepper and something herbal. Can pineapple in the aftertaste. It’s not spicy. Pineapple-Penos tastes interesting and is drinkable but lacks complexicity. It gets boring after a few sips. 2.5/6

Appearance: clear, cherry red. Lightly carbonated. Low body. Aroma: very weak, with a  bluberry note. Taste: watery with low sweetness and low acidity. Light bitter note. Blueberries. Light cherry and fermented apple note. It’s ok but not mind-blowing. I had other bluberry ciders before that tasted much better than this. Drinkable. 3/6

Appearance: clear, pale golden. Lightly carbonated. Low body. Aroma: very weak scent. Notes of fermented apples, green and yellow apples and something herbal. Taste: lemon-like medium acidity, green apples, apple seeds, fermented apples, light to medium bitterness, a touch of astringency. Pleasant crisp and refreshing aftertaste. Straight apple taste. It’s complex, rich and tasty. The scent was rather weak but taste wise appealing. 4/6

Appearance: clear, bright orange. Lightly carbonated. Medium body. Aroma: syrupy sweet with herbal and citrus notes. Smells like a medicine or a herb-flavoured liqueur. Taste: watery, low level of sweetness,  low acidity, herbal or medicine-like aftertaste. No astringency. Once it warms up it has a syrupy like aftertaste-like a medicine but not sweet and get’s tiring. But, I still think it’s quite interesting. The nose would indicate that the cider is sweet, but it tastes rather watery than sweet. I think it’s worth trying but I wouldn’t buy it again. 3/6

Overall, Duxbury’s cider was a clear winner. Straight apple taste, full-bodied, and not tiring.

Flight 2 (from left to right)

  • Ironwood Perrydise
  • Revel Liquid Gold
  • Shiny Pinot Noir
  • West Ave. Cherriosity

Advertised as a blend of Ontario Bartlett and Bosc pears, fermented on oak and then further aged 6 months on lees. Appearance: clear, looks like water with light yellowish hues. Lightly carbonated. Low body. Aroma: ripe sweet juicy pear. Taste: low acidity, low sweetness. Notes of a sweet ripe pear with green notes. Light tannins. Dry and creamy aftertaste. I was afraid that the Perrydise would taste very watery due to the appearance but no. I turned out that the Perrydise is a really pleasant perry with a straight ripe pear taste. I enjoyed it, but can’t call it marvelous. 4/6

It’s a dry cider made with Golden Russet and Northern Spy. Appearance: clear, pale golden. Lightly carbonated. Low body. Aroma: fermented apples, yellow apples, light funk. Taste: low acidity, low sweetness, yellow apples, light bitterness with notes of woods or stems, light astringency. It tastes like a combination of cider and culinary apples. Liquid Gold is rather average and doesn’t stand out. In fact, I have already forgotten how it tastes like. 3.5/6

  • Shiny Pinot Apple & Pinot

It’s a cider made with 10% pinot noir and 90% cider. Appearance: clear, cherry red. Lightly carbonated. Low to medium body. Aroma: rasberry, red wine, strawberry jam, fruity, light mustiness. Taste: medium sweetness, low acidity. Notes of strawberry and rasberry jam, light red wine, light astringency with a touch of bitterness. Aftertaste is dry with a rasberry jam notes and a light barrel mustiness. It’s quite complex although I couldn’t taste any apple here. Anyway, it’s a nice and simple fruity drop. 4/6

It’s a dry cherry cider. Appearance: clear, amber with orange hues. Lightly carbonated. Low to medium body. Aroma: fruity with notes of a (slightly) burnt cherry jam and kompot. Taste: low sweetness, low acidity. Light astringency and bitterness. A note of cherry and incense. I expected more cherry in this cider but I still enjoyed it. 4/6

The 2nd cider flight was much better than the first one in terms of taste. I found the Pinot and Cherriosity full-bodied and very drinkable. Especially, that I don’t often get to drink ciders made from other fruits than apples or pears in Europe.

Summarizing, I have tried eight different ciders from eight different local Ontario’s cider makers. Each cider was more or less drinkable but they all tasted similar in a way. Every cider represented the same style, which was kind of boring. They all had similar level of sweetness, acidity and fruitiness with very delicate tannins if at all. The only difference was in the fruit that was used for the cider. It’s like they all have been made by the same cider maker. I felt that the fireworks were missing so I guess I have to carry on my search for the best Ontario’s cider.

4 thoughts on “Cider flights at Cider House in Toronto, 2017/09/08 – tasting notes

  1. A UK cidermaker visiting the US told me (and I’m paraphrasing) that he’d never tasted so many lovingly-made yet uninspiring ciders. I assume he was referring to ciders you’d typically find on draft, like the ones you sampled.

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    1. This is exactly what I thought! And, believe me I was very surprised. When I visited NYC last year I sampled a number of really interesting yet different style ciders so I was expecting to see this also in Toronto. But this led to disappointment.

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  2. Ciders made from dessert apples are usually very boring for me unless they are sweeter and flavored. I definitely prefer the “real” stuff made from cider apples, or at least heirloom apples. Few cideries in North America use those (and probably moreso in the Northeast U.S. than the Pacific Northwest near me), as they are pretty rare. Places that offer flights of cider usually pour draft, and draft cider has an even higher probability of being made from dessert apples, as very few of the high end cideries keg their ciders. If you can find an orchard-based cidery which has their own tasting room, there is a higher likelihood it’ll be the traditional heirloom & cider apple types of cider. I’m not familiar with that area of Canada though unfortunately. Have safe and fun travels!

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  3. Thanks! Next time I will try to find a cidery that has a tasting room. However, I think that most ciders made in Ontario are unfortunately made only with dessert. However, I sampled a few ciders from Quebec as well and they were brilliant in contrast to those from Ontario.

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