This week’s Canada’s Craft Beer post comes from our Atlantic Canada craft beer guy, Todd Beal. This week Todd is celebrating the fall apple harvest with craft ciders from Red Rover Brewing Company and Bulwark Cider (part of Muwin Estate Wines).
This month, in honour of harvest season I take a small break from beer but I'm staying with craft. The growth of hard apple cider has paralleled the meteoric rise of craft beer in Canada owing to consumers wanting to support local companies and drink a more natural product. The definition of craft cider is fairly simple in that the juice must be from local fruit and no extracts used. Cider can also have the health benefit of vitamins and antioxidants and is gluten-free to fit into lifestyles and dietary restrictions.
The creation of cider is somewhere between beer and wine; the apples are pressed and the juice put into tanks with yeast. The two ciders I chose are from producers that are leaders in my area.
Red Rover Brewing Company — Fall Cider
Red Rover Brewing Company was instrumental in defining the burgeoning cider category in New Brunswick as there was no definition in place. Red Rover launched two and a half years ago and can be found on tap throughout New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Liquor stores. Red Rover has a large stable of ciders it produces throughout the year made from New Brunswick apples. My favorite is their Fall Cider. It's a spiced semi-dry cider that's slightly warming — perfect as the weather cools.
Fall Cider is an amber colour that produces very little head. There are cinnamon and spices on the nose with apple, clove and allspice on the taste. It's a little like drinking an apple pie.
7% ABV | Available NB
Muwin Estate Wines — Bulwark Gold Traditional Cider
Apples in Nova Scotia are king, having a great area to grow in and producing many varieties. Bulwark has been produced from New Ross Nova Scotia for four years and is a success story shipping internationally. They use a signature blend of 100 percent Nova Scotia apple varieties in their ciders: Macintosh, Cortland, Russet, Honeycrisp and Northern Spy. The Gold cider also infuses golden honey to sweeten it.
The cider pours a clear, pale straw colour with slight white head that quickly dissipates. Aroma is light apple with a hint of earthiness and the flavour is nice fresh apple with a nice little sweet honey note and a very gentle earthy character. Refreshing, lightly carbonated and pleasant cider that's very slightly sweet.
5% ABV | Available NS, NB
Check out all our Canada’s Craft Beer articles.
Todd Beal follows the craft beer scene closely in the Canadian Maritimes and reports on it weekly on his blog, Maritime Beer Report. He’s frequently asked to comment on television, newspapers and magazines as a craft beer expert. He can be heard Friday afternoons on News 95.7 commenting on beer. Visit his blog and follow him on Twitter @MaritimeBeerRpt.