Summer Drinks: For the Love of Hard Cider
Brooke Tucker-Reid, Lifestyle Writer
Cider is to me as cookies are to Cookie Monster. Oh, cider, cider, cider starts with C! I’m no cider sommelier, but I’m pretty damn close. I drink enough of it anyway. I don’t remember when I was first introduced to the crisp, refreshing, mug of frosty sunshine that is hard cider, but I know it was love at first sight. Since then, it’s literally always stocked in my fridge. Always. Cider obviously contains more sugar than your average beer. More sugar equals more calories and likely a worse hangover. However, cider is gluten free so you won’t feel bloated after drinking a few. This is also a plus for those with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. Another pro, cider is now being sold in some Ontario grocery stores. Admittedly, I have a bias toward dry cider as opposed to sweet and I always drink it served over ice. Here are a few reviews of some of my top choices, as well as some new brands I’ve tried lately. Batch:1904 Premium Dry Cider Brewed in Toronto at the Brickworks Ciderhouse, Batch is true to its name and maintains a dry, bubbly finish. It’s made from 100 per cent Ontario heritage apples which gives it a refreshing apple finish. If you’re afters something a little sweeter, Brickworks also makes a 501 Streetcar semi-sweet cider that’s worth a try. Good news for Toronto Blue Jays fans, both are sold at the Rogers Centre. Magners Irish Cider This is one of my ol’ faithful ciders. It’s a touch sweet for my current taste but it’s sold at several restaurants so I find myself drinking it often enough with a smile on my face. It’s made from mature fruit so the apple taste really shines. I find it’s also more carbonated than other ciders. Cool fact: once the cider is brewed, it’s aged for two years in the dark for improved taste. Savanna Dry Cider If I could marry a cider, it would be this one. With just a tad of sweetness, it’s easy to drink several of these in one sitting. It’s very dry as its name suggests. It’s crisp and bubbly, and comes in a cool stubby bottle which helps differentiate it from others on the shelf. Mad Jack Apple Lager Until I stumbled upon Savanna, Mad Jack was my go-to. I still really like it but don’t be fooled, it isn’t a cider. It tastes like a cider, but it’s actually an apple lager. It isn’t super carbonated and there is less of an apple taste than most ciders. Last year, it received Canadian Living’s 2015 Best New Product Award for New Beer. The people have spoken. Hard Rootbeer I’m not really a soda pop drinker but there’s a certain nostalgia about root beer. It was always a special treat for me when I was a kid. When I saw adverts for hard root beer this summer, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but you’ve got to keep an open mind right? I recently tried Mad Jack’s Hard Root Beer. Guess what? It tastes EXACTLY like root beer! I guess I was expecting it to taste more like beer. It’s pretty sweet so I couldn’t have more than one. Mill Street also makes a hard root beer which is locally brewed in Toronto and isn’t as sweet. There is a huge cider selection these days. In addition to the ciders listed above, I also like Thornbury, Strongbow and Stella Cider. We all have different palettes and preferences, but I’m not a huge fan of Sommersby (way too sweet for me) and Saucy cider (very dry and floral). What are your favourite cider brands?