Queen Street 501 from The Brickworks Ciderhouse in Toronto, Ontario has a deep golden colour that more closely resembles a typical American lager than it does a commercially produced cider and retains a small collar of bubbles longer than most. This semi-sweet blend of Ontario heritage apples smells McIntosh-heavy, with a soft and warm baked character and background sweetness that reminds me of Cortland or Gala.
That sweetness translates through to the taste of Queen Street 501, which is similar to a higher quality, not from concentrate juice that you might find at your local mom and pop grocery. Though this moderately effervescent cider is a bit sweet for my palate, there are some mildly funky yeast notes that open things up and the finish has a nice tartness Granny Smith fans will enjoy as well as a vague sourness that might even make you pucker a bit. The body has a mild viscosity and I was typically left with a soft fuzziness on my tongue.
Owned by Constellation Brands, Inc., Growers Cider Co. has produced a number of flavoured ciders of varying potability over the years. Growers Pear is the latest beverage to appear on shelves and is presented as a clear, almost colourless liquid that bears the faintest of chartreuse tones and sets free a torrent of fine bubbles when poured into a glass.
Growers Pear has a big, natural-smelling fruit aroma that really pops from the can or glass, along with a thick, syrupy quality that brings to mind a fruit cup you might pack in a child’s lunch. There are also hints of stonefruit and citrus in there, but the pear aroma is dominant and surprisingly convincing.
This hard cider from Molson Coors Canada is deep straw yellow in colour and pours with an oddly large white head that is even more oddly retained as a small collar and leaves some lace; something I have never seen from a cider before. Molson Canadian Cider smells absolutely rank and quite acidic, like the cheapest of white wines with a vague whiff of green apple juice and a peculiar rubbery note that evokes Silly Putty.
The taste of Molson Canadian Cider does fair quite a bit better. It is sweet at first with a nicely balanced dryness, however the apple flavour reminds me of a store brand drinking box; a cheap melange of Granny Smith and McIntosh apples with a lot of added sugar. The cider has a surprising amount of body and its persistent carbonation and collar give it some life on the tongue, but the experience is rather syrupy overall.