Tongue twisters are always great fun, especially when they’re paired with nine different ciders and oh-so-yummy cheeses and chutneys!
Our first stop on the island today was Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse run by Kristen & Bruce Jordan.
Kristen gave us a tour of the place, including a run-down about how ciders are made. It’s a fairly simple process in theory (take apples, squish them, and ferment the juice), but learning about the history of the farm and the barrels that the cider is made in makes it that much more impressive.
The Sea Cider farm was once a logan berry farm, and then a sheep farm, but five years ago the Jordans bought the place and planted 1,000 apple trees to start their organic cider business. They brew several different types of ciders using both Canadian and European apple varieties, and experiment every once in a while with things like bourbon infused barrels to create cider varieties like the Rumrummer (damn that thing is strong). Most of our group voted for the Rumrunner and the other “sweet” varieties, but of the nine that we tried, I think Ang and I both preferred the “off-dry” Perry and Pippins. I also really liked the Flagship, but it was a bit too dry for Ang’s liking.
The Taste Testing Lineup
Flagship 8.0%abv brut
A gentle German style cider made from empire and winter banana apples with a dry aftertaste and light bubbles.
Wild English 7.2%abv brut
This is a cider that I think all beer lovers would appreciate. It has a light beer scent with earthy flavours and would probably go great with a steak.
Kings & Spies 8.5%abv off-dry
This was Ang’s favourite before she tried the Pippins. It’s a North French style cider made from Northern Spy apples with a light floral scent. I really liked the smell, but I didn’t like the taste as much.
Perry 8%abv off-dry
OoOoo this one was one of my favourites. It’s made from fermented perry pears from North Saanich and has a very distinct (but delicate) flavour. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s definitely worth trying! Odd fact about this cider though: the fermentation process naturally produces lactose. I wasn’t sure how I would react to it (I’m lactose intolerant), but all was well and both my taste buds and tummy were happy.
Pippins 9.7%abv off-dry
If you’re ever unsure about what cider to buy as a gift, go with this one. It’s the safest cider and very similar to a typical sweet white wine. It’s made with Yellow Newton Pippin apples and really, you can’t go wrong with this one!
Rumrunner 14.2%abv semi-sweet
My taste buds had a shocker with this one, particularly because the Pippins was so calming. Did you know that there’s some weird rule in Kentucky where you have to use new barrels to produce bourbon? Random fact? Not so much. Because of this weird rule, Kentucky ends up with a ton of used rum infused barrels that it sells off to places all over the world, including Sea Cider that uses it to produce this strong rum-like cider. This was a favourite among most of the bloggers on the trip.
Pommeau 18%abv sweet
And this is where I started cringing. This was also a favourite among the group, but I’m just not a fan of brandy-like beverages. It’s a Normandy style cider made from snow apples, caramelized sugar, dried fruit and spices. You can use this as a substitute for a sherry or port.
Cyser 16%abv sweet
I liked the idea of this cider (fermented honey blended with organic cider) but it was also too strong for me and smelled a little too much like nail polish. It was a favourite among the other bloggers.
Pomona 16.2%abv sweet
Made from frozen crab apples, this last “sweet” cider was just as strong as the last three and equally unfizzy. It is paired well with aged cheeses and sweet desserts.