Spirit Tree Cider – Apelager

VITAL STATISTICS

Spirit Tree Apelager

ABV 3%

From the website: This is a light cider with a creamy texture, a yeasty lager aroma, and strong fresh apple characteristics with hints of caramel and orange. It has balanced acidity and is slow-fermented with select lager yeast. It is classified as an unfiltered craft cider, thanks to its sur lees body and bouquet (similar to quality Champagne)

  • Appearance: Cloudy, Hazy-Straw
  • Aroma: Apple, Yeast,
  • Taste: Fresh Apple, Pineapple, Cinnamon

Background: Spirit Tree is a cidery, bakery, kitchen and farm store in Caledon Ontario. Their property was built environmentally-friendly and with sustainability top of mind. Spirit Tree’s journey in cider making started in the spring of 2005, when they started planting apple trees with an initial block of 2,500 apple trees comprised of 15 different varieties. In 2006, an additional block of 1,200 trees with 8 varieties was added. In 2007, 1000 more trees were planted in conjunction with a visit to Somerset England for Cider Making Principal & Practice by Peter Mitchell. Peter is practically the modern-day Johnny Appleseed of cider-making in North America. He’s helped to provide the practical knowledge to dozens of cider producers all over the World. Apelager won a Silver at the 2013 Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition.

Courtesy of Oldtimecider.com

Courtesy of Oldtimecider.com

First Taste is: Darn good! It has a pronounced fruitiness that really make this 3% cider appealing to any palate. This sweet, but balanced cider starts with gentle effervescence and a creamy mouth-feel of honey and fresh apple. It finishes slightly tart with pineapple, strawberry and slight spice (cinnamon). There is a subtle softness about this cider that is really unlike anything else I’ve tasted.

What’s in it? Nothing listed other than apples and sulphites.

Overall: This is a very tasty and rustic-styled cider. It’s quite interesting as it walks the line of new styles and old. Old-style, because of the cloudiness (typical of scrumpy) and low alcohol (tyipcal of Cidre Doux). And new-style with the non-traditional utilization of cultivated lager yeast. Typically old-world ciders are made with wild yeast which can give off-flavours and result in a dry tannic taste. Because of the choice of yeast and slow fermentation, this cider leaves many of the fermentable sugars unconverted resulting in a naturally sweet, fruit-forward cider with a fresh apple bouquet. Some might question the haziness and be hesitant to try it as it doesn’t look like ‘typical’ cider. To these people I would ask the question; How do you feel about Hefeweizen or Saison beer? Both are hazy and delicious and so is this cider from Spirit Tree. Make the trip out to Spirit Tree in Caledon and tell them the Cider Monger sent you. You won’t regret it.

Would I buy it again? YES! This is a great cider!

Where to get it? Spirit Tree can be found here as well as select restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area. A 6 pack will set you back $17.70. You can also find it at the upcoming ciderfest.ca in Winona, Ontario.

Rating: 8 out of 10

X-factor: Spirit Tree grows 27 different types of apples. Only 5 are desert, the rest are a mix of traditional English, French, and Heritage cider apples. They are make great REAL CIDER.

Full Disclosure: This is the first out of 3 three Spirit Tree ciders I plan on reviewing. I’m excited as there is a lot of buzz about Spirit Tree in the Canadian Cider Community.

4 responses to “Spirit Tree Cider – Apelager

  1. Thanks for the post. We’ve put a link to your blog from our Facebook page. Cheers from the team at Spirit Tree!

    • Thanks Nicole – I really enjoyed the Apelager.

      Although I must say that I personally like to call it APE-LAGER rather than Apple-Lager for obvious Gorilla-type reasons :)

      You guys are really onto something special there at Spirit Tree. Stay tuned, more reviews to come.

      Cheers!

      Cider Monger

  2. Great review! It’s nice to finally see some hype about ciders.
    We stumbled on Spirit Tree by way of mentions on Facebook and decided to stop in on our way back from Niagara.
    The aroma when we walked in the door, from the wood fired pizza oven, had me drooling.
    I’ve bemoaned the fact that the LCBO doesn’t carry a lot of Canadian Ciders. When I started drinking them (not a beer fan and coolers are way too sweet) Strongbow was the only choice.
    We walked out of Spirit Tree with a selection of all their ciders and a couple of their huge pizza slices.
    Can’t wait to go back to replenish our supply.

    • Hi Dale,

      I wonder how many people like you and I started their cider journey with Strongbow only to find amazing craft REAL CIDER? Good on you, and welcome to your next obsession!

      Spirit Tree is on my cider-must-visits for Ontario. So much great stuff going on there! You sure are lucky with the ciders you have in Ontario. You might have to search them out, but there are some really special ciders being made in your neck of the woods on either side of the boarder…

      I have a few bottles waiting to be reviewed from the Mid & Eastern US which are only a border crossing away from you…Once I get over this cold I’m planning on reviewing them right away!

      I hope you continue to check in with your thoughts!

      Cheers,

      CM

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