This article was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of Cottage Life magazine.
New, artisanal cideries are popping up all over cottage country, reviving traditional methods and inventing new styles. This cider field guide will get us up to speed in time for the harvest.
Soft cider (meaning non-alcoholic) generally comes in sparkling and flat. The former is lighter and more refreshing, but the latter, with its robust flavour and cloudy appearance (#NoFilter), is favoured by those who appreciate that craft cideries such as Ontario’s The Cider Keg simply clean, mash, and juice apples, pre- serving the integrity of the fruit.
Fermented hard cider is usually dry, sparkling and, in the case of the BC Tree Fruits Cider Co. (which makes Broken Ladder from local apples), could pass for a food-friendly, crisp champagne with a slightly fruity profile.
Hopped cider is trending. We’re about to see more of this style, which gained a lot of ground when Spirit Tree, a craft cidery from Caledon, Ont., added hops to the mix, making a super-dry, sophisticated, and slightly bitter standout of a cider.
Tip: If you see “white cider” or “cider beverage,” it’s usually an indication of an artificially flavoured drink, often clarified to make it “white.” Rule of thumb: steer clear.