In a time of great uncertainty, one thing is for sure: summer is almost here! The trees are getting greener, the days are getting longer, and our thirst for local ciders grows…
The annual BC Cider Festival‘s main event might be cancelled, but this Sunday afternoon (May 24th at 1pm) Massey Wines will be hosting an Instagram panel discussion and tasting with several BC growers and producers. It’s free and open to the cider-loving public, and we advise you get in on the action by following @bcciderfest right now. In preparation, we asked our favourite BC cideries to offer up a glass and a pairing to go with it. Since several of these ciders are limited to extremely small quantities we encourage you to treat this list as your treasure map to apple-y deliciousness…
Try This: ‘Traditional‘ | “Traditional is an English-style cider that has the perfect balance of strong tannins and sharp acids. It’s made from a blend of heritage cider apples grown in our orchard in Cowichan on Vancouver Island. Cowichan’s long, slow growing season is what helps give it body and balance. So, it’s a cider that pairs well with almost anything. However, at the Merridale Eatery, we suggest pairing it with one of our hearty burgers or brick oven pizzas.” — Janet Docherty, Owner & Chief Disruptor.
Try This: ‘Birds and the Bees‘ | “We’re buzzin’ for Spring! I’d have to recommend our newest spring seasonal cider – Birds and the Bees. It’s our farm-crafted apple cider blended with Vancouver Island honey and lemon bitters.” — Mike Pepperdine, Marketing Manager.
Try This: ‘Dry Cider‘ | “Our favourite cider is our Dry Cider. Our Dry Cider is a long, slow, wild fermented cider that is made with English bittersweet and heritage apples handpicked from historic orchards on Salt Spring. Just the other night we enjoyed it with a Moroccan Style vegetarian Shepards Pie (it was vegan save for the feta on top).” — Gerda Lattey, Co-Owner/Director.
Try This: ‘North End Pét-Nat‘ | “We recommend our North End Pét-Nat, 2019 harvest. One in a series of three pétillant naturel batches exploring the terroir and history of three different orchards on Pender Island. Native yeast fermentation, no SO2, light-bodied and aromatic. Pairs well with funky cheeses and mushroom dishes.” — Katie & Matther, Cidermakers.
Try This: ‘Cascadia‘ | “This season we are excited to recommend our newly rebranded cider: Cascadia. Formerly our ‘Hopped’ cider, Cascadia is to be rereleased with a new hop profile. Still featuring grapefruit and citrus flavours, it now also includes mandarin and tropical fruits, pairing perfectly with seafood, especially white fish and salmon.” — Nick Farrer, Founder.
Try This: ‘Blackcurrant Cardamom‘ | “With refreshing cider from our own apples, tart BC-grown blackcurrants, and peppery cardamom to bring savoury notes, this small-batch cider is complex, surprising and delicious. The 2020 batch is a small one so grab a bottle if you see it, or try something from our same series featuring other BC-grown fruits such as Lavender Raspberry or Vanilla Plum.” — Melissa Dobernigg, Owner & Cidermaker.
Try This: ‘Arancia‘ | “Our favourite Cedar Cider is our newest release, Arancia – a bone dry cider Ripasso with Gewürztraminer skin contact, available in 750ml bottles. This limited availability cider pours pale gold and effervescent with orange zest and floral notes. We suggest pairing with a fruit & brie board or a green coconut curry, although it is just as delectable enjoyed on its own!” — Jacquelyn & Gabriel Jefferies, Founders & Cidermakers.
Try This: ‘Orchard Blend‘ | “Orchard Blend, like most beverages bright and bubbly, goes great with: cheese, seafood, and poultry. We at the Cidery are located next to a Cheeserie and can say with absolute certainty that it goes great with all of their cheeses. It’s not just versatile by itself but is also great as a fun addition to cocktails; it’s an excellent base for a French 75, and a wonderful addition to a citrus punch – preferably made with Creek & Gully’s non-alcoholic Certified Organic juices.” — Annelise Simonsen, Director.
Try This: ‘Pretty To Think So‘ | “A wild-fermented apple cider aged on crushed raspberries. Berries on the nose, tart raspberry on the palate, mild tannin and dry. Latest harvest is now in bottles and cans.” — Robin Cairns, Co-Founder.
Try This: ‘Elderflower‘ | “My recommendation would be to try our Elderflower cider. It’s slightly sweet, a little bit citrus and a little bit floral, with all the flavours of a Vancouver spring – perfect for this spring-like weather we’re experiencing. It goes brilliantly with Thai food; try pairing it with a pad thai or green coconut curry.” — Rachel Bolongaro, Owner & Cidermaker.
Try This: ‘Big Dry‘ | “It is so hard to pick a favourite, but I think I would have to go with our flagship cider, Big Dry. Our driest cider, Big Dry is a blend of bittersweet cider apples whose rich tannins are balanced by the fruity aromatics of Okanagan dessert apples. As we move into patio season, I can’t help but crave a sunny day and a cold Big Dry. Big Dry is so versatile and food-friendly that it can be easily paired with a wide variety of foods. The crisp acidity of the cider is the perfect balance to a spicy curry or can be used to complement the freshness of a big salad or bright ceviche.” — Kate Garthwaite, Owner/Cidermaker.
Try This: ‘Keeved‘ | “A naturally sweeter cider with full apple flavour and smooth acidity. Made through a traditional French process of denutrification resulting in an incomplete fermentation, leaving some residual sugar. Made with 100% organic apples. Food Pairing: Roast pork, wild mushroom crêpes, pheasant terrine.” — Brad Klammer & Mike Petkau, Owners.
Try This: ‘Woodland Cider‘ | “Made with a blend of both traditional English cider apples and new world varietals our Woodland Farmhouse Cider is aromatic, bright and refreshing. A firm and tannic structure results from the addition of Porter’s Perfection, a classic old world cider apple grown in Cawston, BC. Food Pairing: Crepes, Creamy pastas and soups, Ham, Quiche Loraine.” — Strange Fellows Brewing.
Try This: ‘Gose-Style‘ | “My choice would be our Gose-Style cider as the pick of the season. I would pair it with any grilled fish, particularly mahi-mahi if I were put on the spot! As for the cider itself, here are a few words: With a bright orange aroma, this dry cider is made with mostly bittersharp cider apples reminiscent of a traditional gose sour beer. Infused with orange zest, coriander and a dash of Himalayan salt, this gose-style cider is a refreshing twist on the ordinary.” — Lauren Wilson, Co-Owner.
Try This: ‘Hazy Wild‘ | “This cider is wild fermented from 100% BC grown cider fruit including Kingston Black, Dabinett and Michelin. No pitched yeast, unfiltered, unpasteurized and unfined. This cider is made in a natural style with a crisp finish and easy going vibe. Pair it with anything fried. Try the Hazy Wild with: veggie spring rolls, deep fried oysters or crispy fried cauliflower.” — Clinton McDougall, Cidermaker.
Try This: ‘Billy’s Best‘ | “Billy’s Best is a classic semi-dry refreshing cider made from our farm-grown apples, laced with subtle notes of vanilla and cinnamon. Made in small batches and part of our signature product, the Barnyard Pack, Billy’s effervescent texture is best paired with fragrant cheeses, seafood, and poultry.” — Loren Taves, Owner.
Try This: ‘Bourbon Blackberry Cider‘ | “For the adventurous cider drinker. It starts with a fresh, bright blackberry infused apple cider which then goes on to spend a few months in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels before heading into bottle. This cider offers the essence of Bourbon, while delivering a crisp berry kick and a beautiful purple tint.” — The Truck 59 Team.
Try This: ‘Calville Blanc‘ | “A semi-sweet wild ferment using French apple varieties that date back to the 17th Century – specifically made with majority Calville Blanc d’Hiver and the Bulmers Norman – and displaying rich exotic fruits on the nose and the perfect amount of effervescence. Slightly sweet on the front with a touch of astringency, Calville Blanc is highly versatile, not only pairing well with fatty dishes such as duck confit and rib eye steaks. It also pairs perfectly with a patio and a chilled glass.” — Kaylan Madeira, Co-Owner.
Try This: ‘Jackpot‘ | “Although I always get excited about our funky seasonals, my favourite cider has to be the Jackpot, basically our firstborn. Balanced and crisp with a bit of sweetness, Jackpot is made from a premium blend of BC dessert apples with a hint of tropical fruit on the palate. Like a little sip of good fortune in every can. Trusty and pairable accross the board. Pair with cheese, roasted pork, charcuterie and Asian cuisine.” — Nathaly Nairn, Co-Founder.