Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and while for some that might mean getting wasted on dubious green beer, for me it’s an opportunity to pay homage to one of the many cultures that make up my heritage. I mean, I’ll still wear green, but I won’t wear one of those head bands with the little clovers on springs. Moderation, people.
Here are some beverages on my weekend sample menu. If you’re feeling particularly celebratory or, like me, have some Irish blood in there somewhere, I encourage you to give these a go.
Ciders are a great beer alternative, especially if you’re looking for something a little lighter and more approachable for a palate that might be less used to, say, IPAs with a 75 IBU. And, just for the record, I mean ‘hard cider’, the kind that’s been fermented as opposed to ‘soft cider’ which is essentially pressed apple juice. Also delicious, but not our focus for today.
If cider doesn’t have a regular place in your drinking line-up you are missing out. Here are six great ciders, all available through the LCBO, that you can (and should) enjoy immediately. We’re talking optimal autumnal enjoyment, here. Get on board.
[I should preface this list by saying that my palate is quite sweetness-averse, and so these ciders are all dry or semi-sweet in nature.]
This cider is so light and subtle that it reminds me of French bubbly, which makes sense since this cider comes to us from Québec. This particular cider was introduced to me at my last birthday party, and its delicateness was a great gift. If you’re a wine drinker looking to expand your palate into the cider world this would be a great way to make the jump.
Waupoos is a cider from my corner of the world – Eastern Ontario. Located deep in Prince Edward County (or simply, ‘the county’ for locals like me), this cider is sturdy and refreshing, with a dry crispness that always leaves me wanting one more sip. No trip to the county would be complete without a visit to Waupoos.
I love the name, it connects the cider to the earth in such a lovely way.
Another gem of a cider from Ontario, this time from the Caledon area. Spirit Tree Estate Cidery (sounds so fancy!) is run by people who have been farming in the area for years, and in 2005 decided to do something different, which included brewing cider. And let me tell you, I am so glad they did. This cider has a gorgeous pale yellow colour and this really cool sweet, tart, apple-y, but slightly musky aroma and flavour. The LCBO calls this cider ‘dry and rustic’ and, while I think that’s a touch precious, I have to admit I kind of agree. Give it taste, would you?
This cider’s packaging reminds me of the Sahara for some reason. Am I the only one?
This is another Ontario cider, and another one from the Caledon area. What is with those country folk and their delicious apple concoctions? In addition to having an adorable name, this cider also has a dry but slightly sweet flavour – a solid cider all around. It also has a similarly crisp finish to Waupoos, enticing you to keep sipping away, but where Waupoos has a more sturdy flavour, Pommies is like sipping apples that have been dried out but haven’t lost their flavour. Pommies is a bit sweeter than the others I’ve mentioned so far though, so keep that in mind as you make your cider choices.
Ah, Magners. My first cider-love and, for many, the gold standard in hard ciders. Hailing from the Emerald Isle, Magners comes in apple and pear varieties, and is another one that the LCBO likes to call ‘rustic’. It’s got a beautiful golden colour and a sweetly crisp flavour. This is a cider you could easily drink all night – a sessionable cider, if you will. It’s also commonly found in lots of bars and restaurants. Do yourself a favour – if you’re out at a place and they have Magners AND Strongbow on tap, go with Magners. Your tastebuds will thank you.
My new favourite! This cider hails from the big city of Toronto, though it’s made at the Brickworks, a lovely little place tucked away in the heart of Don Valley – and yes, it actually used to be a brickworks! Dry and citrusy, this guy is light and delicate and super refreshing. Priding themselves on slowly fermenting their ciders, they also have a semi-sweet version adorably named after Toronto’s Queen St streetcar.
And there you have it. Six delicious ciders, just in time for the autumn chill. Enjoy! And let me know how you like them.