Second Saturday is a “club” consisting of my friends Lynette, Katheryn, Tangle, and I, where we go out somewhere for drinks and food every second Saturday of the month (hence the name).
This weekend I went on a Second Saturday outing to a cider tasting at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, a local cidery in Sidney. Tangle was unable to join us – she was busy doing a show with her puppetry troupe, Entangled Puppetry – so it was just Katheryn, Lynette, and myself.
Lynette managed to score a sweet deal on the cider tasting from Groupon.com, which included nine samples of cider, a platter of local cheese, meats, preserves, and bread to compliment the cider samples, hot buttered Rumrunner cider (yum!), and a bottle of your choice of cider. It was awesome, and would still be totally worth going even without the deal – the full flight of nine cider samples is only $16 regularly, and it was enough for all three of us to get a good taste of all nine. And it was delicious, of course!
The ciders we tasted can be found here, in order from driest to sweetest. The first two, Flagship and Wild English, were both “ultra dry” and champagne-like, and none of us were big fans – they didn’t have a lot of apple-y flavour (at least not to our uneducated palates!). Kings & Spies and Pippins were slightly sweeter, less dry, and had more cider taste. Katheryn liked Kings & Spies, and I liked Pippins, but again, not our favorites.
Then we had the Bramble Bubbly, a seasonal cider made with apples and blackberries. This was Katheryn’s favorite, although she swore it tasted like cranberries rather than blackberries. I could taste (and smell) blackberry, but not so much the berries themselves as the blackberry canes – you know the smell of blackberry brambles in the hot summer sun? That was what the cider tasted like. Incredible!
Next was the Rumrunner, which is aged in rum barrels. It was seriously delicious – it had sort of caramely toffee notes and just enough sweetness. It was the cider used to make the hot buttered cider – Rumrunner, mulling spices, and butter (recipe here). Awesome!! We all had this one down as a favorite, and Lynette ended up taking it home as her free bottle.
The sweetest ciders started with Cyser, fermented with honey. It had almost a buttery, nutty taste that was amazing. Another favorite all round! The last two were more apératif or liqueur-style ciders. Pommeau was 18% alcohol and tasted like apple scotch or whiskey – it had the smoky taste as well as the alcohol taste. I managed to sip it without making a (really bad) face, whereas Lynette and Katheryn both threw this one back, tequila style. Not one of our favorites. The final cider was Pomona, which was like a desert or ice wine. It was delicious and syrupy, and would have been fantastic over ice cream. Again, a favorite for all of us.
As I said above, this tasting would be a great way to spend an afternoon, even without the deal. The cider was delicious (and even when it wasn’t to our liking, it was interesting and fun), the food was yummy (and locally sourced), and the tasting room was beautiful: vaulted ceilings, big cast iron chandeliers, long rustic trestle tables, and windows looking out over the fields and water. I will definitely put this on my list of “things to do again”!