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Real Cider in Toronto?

Gumbril May 31, 2010 04:05 PM

I'm not often a beer drinker so in the summer when my usual red wine or gin and tonic doesn't feel very seasonal, I'm partial to hard cider. I don't mind the regularly available English/Irish varieties--Strongbow, Gaymers, Bulmers, Blackthorn, etc--as well as Grower's and the Swedish berry-flavoured stuff I've seen lately at the LCBO that's sort of like an alcoholized fruit punch. All the same, I'd rather have the real stuff.

I've had the good fortune of having "real cider" a few times, the stuff made from fermented pressed apples, rather than the standard sort that's chock-full of added glucose/fructose and filled with carbonated water. Does anyone have brand recommendations or know of branches of the LCBO that carry what I'm looking for? I've tried a few LCBOs in the west end and have only seen the same old brands.

I don't claim to be very knowledgeable about the stuff, but I'd like to broaden my knowledge of it and taste some of the best of what's available in this province. I'd prefer to get varieties I can drink at home throughout the summer but if anyone knows of some bars that have a fair variety available, let me know about those too! Thanks everyone!

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  1. jlunar RE: Gumbril May 31, 2010 04:10 PM

    I'm no expert either, but I see Waupoos cider on the lists everywhere as the cider of choice. I don't usually see more than one choice for cider on the menus.

    1. d
      Dean Tudor RE: Gumbril May 31, 2010 06:31 PM

      These are worthwhile Ontario, BC, and Quebec ciders at the LCBO. They come in a variety of styles and prices, so you'll have to try them all (no hardship by me). OR -- check with a Product Consultant at a larger LCBO store.

      Canada | Ciderie St Nicholas
      VINTAGES | 179473 | 750 mL | $ 12.95
      Canada | Mondia Alliance
      VINTAGES | 89490 | 750 mL | $ 12.80
      Canada | County Cider Company
      | 459370 | 1000 mL | $ 7.75
      Canada | Ciderie St Nicholas
      | 61671 | 750 mL | $ 10.50
      Canada | Vincor International Inc.
      | 384800 | 6x341 mL | $ 10.95
      Canada | Thornbury Village Cidery Inc.
      Limited Time Offer | 146043 | 4x341 mL | $ 10.95
      Canada | County Cider Company
      | 612804 | 4x341 mL | $ 13.25
      Canada | Cidrerie Solar
      | 173039 | 473 mL | $ 2.75

      1. y
        youdonut RE: Gumbril May 31, 2010 06:32 PM

        you can check for waupoos here http://www.countycider.com/products.html

        1. munchieHK RE: Gumbril May 31, 2010 06:45 PM

          I don't think the Waupoos cider is a patch on several kinds I tried in Quebec. I find it too fizzy and too cloying. The Clos Saint-Denis is superb.

          1. g
            Gumbril RE: Gumbril May 31, 2010 07:27 PM

            Thanks for the replies!

            I'm hoping to try some of the fancier ciders--the sort that come in wine bottles rather than cans or plastic containers--and I'll start with the Clos Saint-Denis. Frankly, I'm primarily looking for kinda "beer-equivalent ciders" that I can drink from a can or pint bottle but aren't crap loaded with sugar.

            I've had Waupoos at bars; it's not bad, so thanks for the reminder. I'll seek some out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gumbril
              Paulustrious RE: Gumbril Jun 6, 2010 12:51 PM

              A link you may well have seen...

              So you have never had scrumpy from the barrel?

            2. t
              Tatai RE: Gumbril May 31, 2010 09:27 PM

              There's a new cidery in Caledon -- Spirit Tree Estate Cidery -- that is putting out a hard cider any day now. They're very serious about what they're doing. http://spirittreecider.com/

              1. c
                crawfish RE: Gumbril Jun 1, 2010 04:10 AM

                I've been making cider at Fermentations and it's excellent. They really do everything, all you have to do is bottle it. They have 4 different kinds, I like the English one.


                6 Replies
                1. re: crawfish
                  Dean Tudor RE: crawfish Jun 1, 2010 02:34 PM

                  Crawfish -- do you know how many of the cider juices are from Ontario apples? Concentrates? Thx

                  1. re: Dean Tudor
                    precia RE: Dean Tudor Jun 15, 2010 02:02 PM

                    I've got an appointment Saturday to bottle my first batch of cider at Fermentations. They actually have about 10 varieties of cider (no idea why their website is incomplete). I'm getting the cherry cider, which I expect will be delicious.

                    I'm fairly certain they don't use concentrates - they don't for their beers. Only their organic cider specifies Ontario apples, but that doesn't rule out local apples for the rest. It takes about 4 weeks to do a batch.

                    1. re: Dean Tudor
                      crawfish RE: Dean Tudor Jun 16, 2010 01:29 PM

                      Sorry, Dean, I haven't logged on for a while. I'll check the ciders at Fermentations this weekend.

                      Of the LCBO commonly available offerings, I like Weston's Stowford Press Export Cider. Might just be the bottle though - I hate cans.

                      1. re: crawfish
                        Gumbril RE: crawfish Jun 16, 2010 03:19 PM

                        I haven't seen that. Which locations do you routinely see it at?

                        1. re: Gumbril
                          crawfish RE: Gumbril Jun 22, 2010 07:04 AM

                          Liberty Village always seems to have it but now that I am not in that neighborhood I am having a harder time finding it.

                      2. re: Dean Tudor
                        precia RE: Dean Tudor Jun 19, 2010 11:59 AM

                        The organic cider is made from Ontario apples (around St. Catharines), but the rest of their apples are from BC.

                        The cherry cider is pretty crisp and tasty, though the cherry flavour is very subtle.

                    2. b
                      bytepusher RE: Gumbril Jun 1, 2010 05:52 AM

                      There's a place in Niagara-on-the-Lake called Sunnybrook Farms that makes fruit wines and a hard cider but you have to go there, no sales in Toronto.

                      1. c
                        currycue RE: Gumbril Jun 1, 2010 08:38 AM

                        I'm a Waupoos fan too. I found that too many of the Quebec Ciders were too sweet. Must be the variety of apple they're using. Waupoos is nice and dry. Another good cider I bought at the SAQ in Quebec (seems unavailable in Ontario) is Kerisac from Brittany. Give it a try if you're ever in Quebec or across the pond.


                        1. w
                          Whats_For_Dinner RE: Gumbril Jun 1, 2010 03:52 PM

                          Had Waupoos for the first time recently and loved it. Highly recommended.

                          1. t
                            tickmouse RE: Gumbril Jun 2, 2010 01:29 PM

                            I absolutely love waupoos and it is available all over the city, I have also had the pleasure of trying pomdor which will be available at the LCBO at the end of June - I can hardly wait!

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: tickmouse
                              1sweetpea RE: tickmouse Jun 2, 2010 01:53 PM

                              I've taken to mixing UK ciders 50/50 with beer, because they are simply too cloyingly sweet for me to drink straight. I always thought Growers ciders are inferior to Okanagan, which is also on the sweeter side. I don't feel the same way about Waupoos cider, though, which is definitely drier and less sweet. It reminds me more of a sparkling wine than a cider. I really like it. I'm looking forward to seeking out some of the ciders mentioned by Dean Tudor that I've never heard of before now.

                              1. re: 1sweetpea
                                Paulustrious RE: 1sweetpea Jun 6, 2010 12:55 PM

                                Odd. There used to a number of bone-dry ciders in the UK. The sweet ones were for the ladies.

                                Cider and lager is known as snakebite in the UK and had a reputation for destroying reputations.

                                1. re: Paulustrious
                                  Gumbril RE: Paulustrious Jun 9, 2010 04:27 PM

                                  The problem is with the limited variety of UK ciders you see here. I routinely see Strongbow, Gaymers, and Bulmers (the latter two are made by the same company, I think?); the second ingredient in all of those is some kind of sugar.

                                  I found Stone's Ginger Wine in an LCBO, which is much more obscure; I should be able to find more than 3 or 4 kinds of cider!

                                  1. re: Gumbril
                                    gregclow RE: Gumbril Jun 10, 2010 10:22 AM

                                    It's actually Gaymers and Mangers that are owned by the same company - although Mangers is known as Bulmers in Ireland (where it's made), even though it's completely unrelated to the Bulmers we get here, which is from England.

                                    One other mass-produced UK cider available here is Blackthorn, but it's not much better than the ones you mention.

                                    I don't mind the Weston's Stowford Press Export Cider which is fairly widely available. And I recently picked up a can of a new cider from Quebec called William Premium Cider - haven't tried it yet, so I can't offer any opinion.

                                    1. re: gregclow
                                      mariecollins RE: gregclow Jun 10, 2010 11:06 AM

                                      Personally, I find Blackthorn superior to the other imports, and drier. Although it is certainly still mass produced, it is widely drank in the West Country of the UK, where they love their cider. When it first came to Canada I had to stockpile it for when my dad came to visit from Bristol.

                                      They recently changed the formula in the UK, to make it sweeter to appeal more to women. After lots of outrage and lobbying, they now have two versions - the original and the sweet. I briefly saw the new in Canada - beware of a different can with improved taste written on it.

                                      Real scrumpy (or rough, as it's called by the locals) can certainly be evil, and is not to everyone's taste. My husband (who is a chemist at the LCBO) wanted to get it back to Toronto and test it - he thought it was undrinkable.


                                      1. re: mariecollins
                                        Paulustrious RE: mariecollins Jun 10, 2010 12:46 PM

                                        Now I like scrumpy. It is the West Country equivalent of moonshine. It does have the appearance of an aged urine sample, but the flavour id distinctly apple. There are a number of ciders in the UK at over 9% so you can end up overdoing it quite easily. That happened on my last day of high-school.

                            2. j
                              jjmellon RE: Gumbril Jun 5, 2010 07:41 AM

                              Archibald's Estate Winery east of Oshawa is an apple orchard that produces hard cider and apple wines. Their website is www.archibaldswinery.com. Their listings for cider are:

                              Hard Cider (3) $10.95 750ml
                              Hard Cider Blends(Apple Raspberry; Apple Cranberry & Apple Black Currant (3-4) $11.95

                              They also produce a number of apple wines, which are generally less sweet and have a higher alcohol content.

                              Personally, I like some of the Quebec ciders a bit better than these, and in general I think the price is too high for all cider in 750ml bottles.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: jjmellon
                                froglegs RE: jjmellon Jun 10, 2010 10:37 AM

                                I agree with your choice of the Quebec ciders. Some are great. had a few from LCBO that were excellent. Hard to get though.
                                Cafe du Lac charges a whopping $8 a glass for a Quebec cider that tastes like apple juice. Very disappointing.

                                Cafe du Lac
                                2350 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON M8V, CA

                                1. re: jjmellon
                                  theSmangela RE: jjmellon Jun 12, 2010 11:28 AM

                                  I really enjoy Archibald's Ida Red Oak Aged wine, but I find their ciders are sickly sweet. Mind you, I've only had the regular cider; I imagine the Apple Cran would be more tart and dry.

                                2. g
                                  Gumbril RE: Gumbril Jun 12, 2010 03:33 PM

                                  I just tried William Cider, which is Canadian and comes in a grey-silver tin and has only very recently appeared at my nearest LCBO. It's got added sugar but its only other ingredient is fermented apple stuff--no carbonated water or caramel colouring or anything.

                                  It has a good beery-apple taste with a bit of acidity and while it could be drier, it's pretty good.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: Gumbril
                                    munchieHK RE: Gumbril Jun 13, 2010 01:46 PM

                                    I have to agree. I was really craving some cider while watching the world cup matches today, so I trekked off to the nearest LCBO on the less glamourous stretch of the Danforth. They had Waupoos, Bulmer, Blackthorn and Strongbow. They also had William and another cider from Picton in a 1 litre bottle. when I looked closely, the 1 litre was $7.75, whereas William in 473ml cans was only $2.75. I also noticed that William is certified organic and has no artificial additives. I grabbed a couple of cans and chilled them. It turned out to be the best version of cider I have had outside of the UK. It is a lot better than the UK imports and I think it is far superior to Waupoos and Growers. It is fairly dry, but with a touch of sweetness, crisp, appley and has no chemical aftertaste. It was the perfect accompaniment to watching Oz get its ass handed to it by Deutschland. I might need 3 cans for the next England game!

                                    1. re: munchieHK
                                      Gumbril RE: munchieHK Jun 16, 2010 03:22 PM

                                      Glad you liked it too! I was really pleasantly surprised. And if Spain's luck doesn't improve I'm going to have to keep drinking it.

                                      1. re: Gumbril
                                        currycue RE: Gumbril Jun 21, 2010 07:44 AM

                                        Ahh, if only they could import some cider from Casa Mingo in Madrid. Miss that place!

                                    2. re: Gumbril
                                      dobyblue RE: Gumbril Jul 10, 2013 10:37 AM

                                      I'm pretty sure there is only one type of William Cider and it does NOT contain added sugar, only organic apples and CO2. It is terrific and costs less than the other imported European ciders and doesn't have the additives like GMO beet sugar and GMO high fructose corn syrup (glucose/fructose in Canada) that the ciders from Molson and other big breweries have.

                                      1. re: dobyblue
                                        taterbrandy RE: dobyblue Jul 19, 2013 01:42 PM

                                        Dobyblue, William is no longer 100% organic; but it is still gluten free. The LCBO instructed the producer to remove the gluten free statement, I suppose to distract attention from brands that aren't.

                                        1. re: taterbrandy
                                          dobyblue RE: taterbrandy Jul 22, 2013 05:11 AM

                                          The only ingredient other than CO2 is organic apples, therefore it is 100% organic otherwise under Health Canada's labelling guidelines they would not be able to list "organic apples" as the sole ingredient, they would have to list "organic apples" and "apples".

                                          1. re: taterbrandy
                                            dobyblue RE: taterbrandy Jul 23, 2013 05:00 AM

                                            My mistake, you're right. I had a response from the company saying that they are 85% organic and need to hit the 90% bar to get the organic logo. They stated the product didn't change at all and that the apples are coming from the same orchards. How do you get 85% organic apples when they're all from the same orchards? Some pretty strange stuff.

                                        2. re: Gumbril
                                          taterbrandy RE: Gumbril Jul 19, 2013 01:35 PM

                                          Gumbril, William Cider (LCBO #173039) does NOT have added sugar!

                                          1. re: taterbrandy
                                            darlingclementine RE: taterbrandy Jul 28, 2013 11:26 AM

                                            you are correct, taterbrandy. however, i just got some cans that have been rebranded. the new ones no longer say "certified organic" (disappointing as apples are one of the worst fruits for pesticide content), and it no longer has the ingredients listed (apples, fizzy stuff), and now says it contains sulphites.


                                            1. re: darlingclementine
                                              dobyblue RE: darlingclementine Jul 29, 2013 06:02 AM

                                              Sulphites occur natually in some fruits lemons, limes, grapes (which is why all wines say this too) and apples.

                                              As stated just up above, the company says the LCBO told them to remove the ingredients list, but the reason the "organic" is removed is because they're currently at 85% organic using the exact same suppliers of apples whereas previously they were over the 90% marker that allows certified organic label to be there. I'd rather see 100% organic label, but I think the LCBO needs to be harrassed if it's true they are indeed telling manufacturers not to list their ingredients, how supportive of informed consent is that? What, they don't want one brand to have an advantage over the newer Keiths and Molsons products that we KNOW contain genetically modified ingredients like high fructose corn syrup (labelled glucose/fructose in Canada) or sugar from genetically engineered sugar beets (which is usually the case unless it specifies cane sugar which has no GE variety)

                                              With you on the apples pesticides link, #1 fruit/veg to choose organic. The Environmental Working Group do a great service to us all.

                                        3. estufarian RE: Gumbril Jun 22, 2010 07:25 AM

                                          This jogged my memory about some French ciders I used to enjoy from DUCHÉ DE LONGUEVILLE.
                                          I've contacted the agent to see if these are still brought in (the product code is no longer recognised).

                                          1. d
                                            darlingclementine RE: Gumbril Aug 29, 2012 11:57 AM

                                            i realize this is an ancient thread, but if anyone comes across it looking for a wonderful dry cider, try William Cider. It's organic, Canadian, sulphite-free, no added sugar. As far as I can tell, nothing but organic apples and whatever makes it fizzy. No cloying taste, no "battery acid" aftertaste like some ciders give me, no sugary teeth. It's crisp, light and subtle. It's so fantastic. Really well-priced, too, on par or cheaper than Strongbow, Bulmer's and good ol' Sir Perry. Happy drinking!

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: darlingclementine
                                              dobyblue RE: darlingclementine Jul 10, 2013 10:38 AM

                                              Yep, organic apples + CO2 only, fantastic product, good price, great taste. I look upon my previous faves with a bit of disdain now given all the additives in there.

                                              1. re: dobyblue
                                                LexiFirefly RE: dobyblue Jul 10, 2013 11:23 AM

                                                Is it at the lcbo?

                                                1. re: LexiFirefly
                                                  dobyblue RE: LexiFirefly Jul 10, 2013 11:33 AM

                                                  Yes it is, here's the product listing page where you can input your city or multiple locations close to you to see where the closest location is that has it in stock. On sale right now for $2.25/can, sweet! I'll have to pick some up this week-end.


                                                  1. re: dobyblue
                                                    LexiFirefly RE: dobyblue Jul 11, 2013 03:43 PM

                                                    Thank you!

                                              2. re: darlingclementine
                                                mariecollins RE: darlingclementine Jul 11, 2013 08:01 AM

                                                Still not my fave - I did enjoy the Thornbury Cider now at the LCBO.
                                                Also, has anyone checked out the Spirit Tree Cidery in Caledon? Going to take the Bristolians there in August for the acid test.

                                                1. re: mariecollins
                                                  Ted Richards RE: mariecollins Jul 12, 2013 12:16 PM

                                                  Yes, Spirit Tree is very good. My favourite after Stowford Press (sadly not available now) and Grower's Peach (a guilty pleasure). Growers has a lot of weird flavours now at their store in Shoppers World on the Danforth (mango, blackberry, a few others), but i haven't tried them.

                                                  I also like Thornbury better than most.

                                                  1. re: Ted Richards
                                                    Ted Richards RE: Ted Richards Jul 22, 2013 08:44 AM

                                                    Oops, I meant to say Blackthorn, not Thornbury. I haven't had the latter.

                                                    1. re: Ted Richards
                                                      mariecollins RE: Ted Richards Jul 22, 2013 08:55 AM

                                                      I drank Thornbury and William all weekend in an attempt to wean myself off of the artificial Blackthorn. They are nice but I do have a soft spot for Blackthorn.

                                                2. re: darlingclementine
                                                  Yongeman RE: darlingclementine Jul 13, 2013 09:07 PM

                                                  I'm more of a beer/wine guy myself, but I've had a couple of bottles of Pommies Dry Cider recently. It's crisp and only slightly sweet--quite delicious. Apparently made with 'heritage' apples. It's in a clear glass bottle, quite attractive. Here's their website for more info: http://pommiesdry.com/

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