Story By Heather Lang
This year marks the first ever Toronto Cider Festival and it all happen Saturday September 26 as everything boozy apple converges on Yonge-Dundas Square. Now all those beer drinkers who scoff at their slightly more delicate cider preferring friends should take heed, this isn’t your grandmothers apple juice. With some ciders so dry they make your lips smack and others sweet and spicy there is a flavour for everyone. Get your tickets to one of two sessions before it’s too late and let my following choices be your guide.
1. Angry Orchard Hard Cider
Launched in 2011, Angry Orchard is the number 1 selling brand of hard cider in the United States. Lucky for us they have crossed the border to let us sample their crisp apple sip made from blends of sweet and bittersweet European Apples. Varieties of their cider included flavour infused, apple specific and hops and apple combinations.
2. Waupoos Cider/Country Cider Company
The mighty town of Picton produces this robust artisanal cider made with fruit that is 100% locally sourced. Those who don’t like apples can definitely get on board with County Ciders pear, peach and blood orange flavours. Their flagship cider is a dry sparkling apple.
3. Okanagan Premium Cider
Our friends on the other side of the country will be making their first time visit to Ontario at this year’s Cider Festival. Local B.C apples are the perfect choice for their hard cider while other flavours like white grape, pear, peach and summer berries take advantage of the west coast’s bounty.
4. Ironwood Hard Cider
This regional cider comes up the QEW from Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Offering small batched one offs and seasonals this cidery is a perfect diversion from all the wine drinking.
5. Magnotta Small Batch Cider
Recently launched this month in the LCBO Magnotta Small Batch Cider is the newbie of the group. Using 100% Ontario McIntosh Apples this hard cider is crisp and refreshing.
6. The Duxbury Cider Company
Unfortunately you can only currently get Duxbury Cider at local restaurants and pubs so plan a date soon to Wvsrt or Bar Hop. Fortunately at the Toronto Cider Fest you can try their small batch vintages made from heritage and organic apples from Georgian Bay.
7. Coffin Ridge Forbidden Dry Cider
Don’t let the name spook you, Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery has created a robust and refreshing hard cider also using local Ontario apples.
8. Revel Cider
Thanks to the brain of one young Guelph entrepreneur and his love of fermented apples, Revel Cider uses the finest local ingredients to create a lighter dryer liquid that will appear to the reluctant beer drinker. These are also only available in select Toronto restaurants and bars.
9. Spirit Tree Estate Cidery
Using apples from their own orchard and sourcing other local ingredients Spirit Tree is one of the few brands that offer both a sweet, non alcoholic cider and a hard cider. Those concerned can rest assured, the one with kick will be present at the festival.
10. Brickworks Cider House
Last but certainly not least is Toronto’s own contribution to the cider world. Sourcing their apples no further than 300 miles the folks at Brickworks believe in supporting their community with 5% of all profits being donate to Evergreen, an organization focusing on environmental issues. If you haven’t seen them in the LCBO or on tap at any Toronto establishment you haven’t been getting out much.