Craft beer is all the rage in BC right now, but behind the scenes there has been a growing movement of dedicated drinkers and brewers pushing the envelope when it comes to cider.
It may seem like cider is a niche market, but we’re actually talking about a $55 million dollar domestic market that is growing rapidly. The growth makes sense: cider is gluten-free and simply made from fruit and yeast, it provides a alternative to craft beer and is highly sessionable.
In a market where craft drinkers are constantly looking for new options, craft cider is a smart choice. Just look at the newly opened cider-centric pop-up Orchard and the Sea to get a sense of how popular craft cider has become.
If you’re up to give cider a chance, there are a number of local ciders that are great alternatives to craft beer this summer. Here are a few that you should scoop up before the season ends:
Salt Spring Wild offers a number of different ciders in their line-up, but the ones to really get your hands on are the dry (with crisp notes of honey) and the hopped apricot (which is very reminiscent of a Hefeweizen).
Sunday Cider is Vancouver’s first proper cidery, co-founded by the team from Bestie. Right now they offer two varieties, an english cider and a hop-based cider with galaxy and cascade hops. They even offer growler fills!
Dominion Cider comes from Summerland and is truly a small-batch operation. The apples are handpicked and pressed into a dry english style cider, and because they are dealing with small-batch, there are slight variations each time.
In a relatively short amount of time, Left Field has managed to win a number of awards for their cider coming out of Logan Lake. If you’re feeling truly adventurous, they offer a Cidermaker Series limited run with experimental varieties, in addition to their regular ciders, Big Dry, Little Dry, English Dry, and Pear Dry, as well as their Bunk House Dry Hopped Cider.
Honestly more akin to wine than beer, Vancouver Island’s Sea Cider elevates the craft cider reputation. Many of their ciders are brewed with champagne yeast, offering a bubbly alternative to Prosecco or other sparkling wines. Try the Kings & Spies or the Rumrunner for some clever twists on cider.