From the website: “A traditional blend of pure apple juice and wildflower honey that dates back to the Viking days. Favourite of sherry drinkers or for an aperitif or dessert drink. Aged for several months to a year after bottling. Winner of Silver Medal at the North American Beer Awards”
- Appearance: Copper, Clear
- Aroma: Cidery, Oxidized Apples
- Taste: Tart, Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Honey, Oxidized Apples
Background: Cyser is a blend of honey and apple juice that is fermented together. Because of honey’s complex sugars it tends to take longer to ferment than just apple juice alone. Generally, long and slow fermentations make for some of the best tasting and most flavourful ciders. The French and English are masters of slow fermentation…
Merridale is a artisan cidery on Vancouver Island. They grow in a maritime micro climate similar to Normandy in France and West County in England. I like Merridale – they can do almost no wrong in my eyes. See my other reviews for proof…
First Taste is: This lightly effervescent, naturally carbonated cider has a sweet upfront taste. It’s not sickly-sweet or unnaturally so, it’s just there. The middle has a nicely acidic sour taste at the back of the throat with a slightly tart finish with a bitter after-taste of wildflower. At 10% you might think this cider would taste a little ‘hot’. It doesn’t. It’s very quaffable which is a little scary…cause you could easily get rocked on this delicious nectar of the cider-gods.
What’s in it? BC Apples, Honey, Yeast. No advanced Chemistry needed to figure out what you’re drinking.
Overall: If every ‘sweet’ cider was like this, I would be a very happy man. It’s complex flavours and balance of tannins and acids make for a great example of cyser. There is something very honest about Merridale Ciders. What I mean is, no fancy bottles, no giant marketing budget, just damn fine cider. It has the the same characteristics and tastes that makes me such a fan of the rest of their ciders. Some people would say that oxidized apples is a fault, but I find it to be a nice reminder of what you are drinking…fermented real apples. I really enjoy these ciders from Merridale and would be proud to put them up against anything else out there.
Would I buy it again? Yes! Definitely.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
X-factor: I was able to taste this cider on tap at St. Augustines and it was awesome! I really prefer my cider on tap if possible.
Full Disclosure: I don’t drink coffee or tea, so for almost a year I drank hot water with Wildflower Honey. So, I guess I’m a little biased in my love for this cider. I do wish that Merridale would use glass bottles as I feel the plastic doesn’t represent best this truly artisan product…that’s just me though.