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7 sweet craft ciders you have to try

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Much like craft beer market, the cider market is enjoying a serious influx of new cideries—they’re popping up everywhere. For us, the consumer, that’s nothing but a good thing; more competition leads to better ciders and more variety. Gone are the days when Strongbow was your only option. The shelves of your local liquor store are now full of choices, and the fall is the perfect time to take advantage of this sweet and tart treat. Here are a few of our favourites.

Spirit Tree Dry-Hopped Cider

The Spirit Tree Cidery began in the spring of 2005 when the owners planted 2500 apple trees in the small town of Caledon, just north of Toronto. They’ve added thousands more since then and their styles of cider continue to increase. Their dry-hopped cider is infused with Ontario-grown chinook and cascade hops. With extra citrus and grassy notes, this cider also offers a bitter finish, making it a must-try for us. More info: www.spirittreecider.com

Merridale Traditional Cider

Located in Cobble Hill, British Columbia, the region is much like the famous cidery regions of the UK. And Merridale’s goal is to make the best cider possible. All their ciders are made with 100 percent pure juice and their traditional cider has been called ‘the best English-style cider in Canada.”If you want to set a baseline of how cider should taste, this is one to try. More info: www.merridalecider.com

Waupoos Draft Cider

Located in lovely Prince Edward County, Ontario, the County Cider Company is located on a family farm that has been growing apples since 1850. Their award-winning Waupoos Draft Cider is made from late harvest and European cider apples and is semi-sweet and sparkling. More info: www.countycider.com

Sea Cider’s Ruby Rose

This award-winning cidery is on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island, BC. They produce more than 60 kinds of certified organic apples and their Ruby Rose is a semi-sweet cider infused with rhubarb. It looks like a sparkling rosé, but tastes of green apple, orchard leaves, rhubarb, and rose hips. This one’s a great sipper that pairs well with fish or salad. More info: www.seacider.ca

Cidrerie Saint-Nicolas’ Brut Crackling Cider 

Just outside of Quebec City, the Cidrerie Saint-Nicolas’Brut Crackling Cider is a dry cider with subtle apple notes and a crisp finish. At 8.5% alcohol, it’s on the stronger side of cider, making it the perfect substitute for wine. More info: www.cidreduquebec.com

Left Field Cider Company’s Big Dry

Just outside Kamloops, the Left Field Cider Company is a testament to two sister’s passion for cider making and their ability to drag their friends and family in, too. In 2011 they opened their doors and Big Dry became one of their flagship ciders. This dry cider uses Okanagan dessert apples and is, like the name suggests, really dry. With aromas of cider apple, the light blonde beverage is another great example of how traditional cider should taste. More info: www.leftfieldcider.com

Westons Wyld Wood

If you want to try some of the great ciders, then why not try one from the home of most things cider: the UK. Westons began producing cider way back in 1880 in Herefordshire—a region renowned for its cideries. This is a traditional, premium cider, aged in oak vats, offers a full-bodied taste with a ripe aroma. More info: www.westons-cider.co.uk