The first entry in Ontario’s growing craft cider market to come from Ottawa is produced by Revolution Investments Limited. Flying Canoe Hard Cider pours with a noticeable chill haze and a light orange or pencil yellow hue to it. It looks like some of the ciders I’ve made in my basement (non-clear) and frankly I appreciate that. Though there’s a soda-like head, it’s gone within a few seconds and leaves behind a persistent and fine stream of carbonation that often gathers as a tiny collar; like a string of beach sand.
Flying Canoe Hard Cider has a very familiar and traditional smell reminiscent of a classic English cider. Baked McIntosh and freshly picked green apple are complemented by notes of white grape and sweet raisin. The apple blend, sourced from Smyth’s Apple Orchard in Dundela has a semi-sweet taste to start, then shows its tartness and even has a hint of sourness to it that lends a vinous quality to this uncommonly full-bodied and viscose cider.
A rather nondescript can with a white wrapper and forest green lettering that looks like it was punched out on an old typewriter houses Flying Canoe Hard Cider and an image of crossed paddles serves as the logo. You’ll find a QR code on the back and a declaration of suphites on the side. I’ve never noticed date stamping on the dozens of cans I’ve had to this point, though it could be under the wrapper and technically it’s not required on cider in Ontario.
It was easy to be skeptical of Flying Canoe as simply being someone with money trying to stake the claim as “Ottawa’s first craft cider”, but it’s come to make up about 85% of my LCBO cider purchases since I was introduced to it in early 2017 and had a chance to meet one of the brand’s proprietors.
I’d consider Flying Canoe one of the best ciders on Ontario shelves at the moment. It has a pleasant and refreshing taste (especially on ice) and strikes a lovely balance between sweet and dry. I also appreciate it being a more sessionable 5% ABV in comparison to most provincial contemporaries that clock in around the 6 or 7% range.
My absolute favourite thing to pair with cider these days is cheese and I lean towards creamier varieties with Flying Canoe Hard Cider, along with wheat or rye-based crackers. You’ll find this one listed at about a dozen stores in and around Ottawa and on tap at select licensees.
Type: Semi-Sweet Cider
Region: Ontario, Ottawa
Brewery: Flying Canoe Hard Cider (Revolution Investments Limited)
Format Purchased: 473 mL
Alcohol Content: 5.0%