Today we headed up Vancouver Island to take in some of the sites. Our most important stop was for cider at Merridale Ciderworks!
Merridale has a big facility with multiple spaces for guests. Besides tours & tastings they have a gastropub, a bakery, and even yurts to stay over night. It would be a great spot for an event or wedding!
After we toured around the farm, walked in the orchard and did the self-guided tour, we settled in for a tasting! Besides cider, Merridale also has fortified cider and spirits.
A drier version of our House, the popular English pub-style cider. Crafted from a blend of English cider apples, it’s a perfect balance between sharps, bitters and a touch of fruitiness.
A refreshing effervescent cider in true English pub style. Crafted from a blend of English cider apples, it’s the perfect balance between sharps, bitters, and fruitiness. A favorite at local pubs and restaurants.
A refreshing blend of local apples fermented slowly, then blended with BC black current, cherry and raspberry juices. Sweet, but balanced with the perfect acidity. Great for the patio, music festivals, or anytime.
A fresh and velvety sipping drink with an aroma of baked apples and buttery brown sugar. Serve straight in the tradition of fine Port. Pair with cheddar or blue cheese, melons, fruit desserts and dark chocolate.
A strong blend of sharp crab apples and tannic cider apples creates this distinctive, robust taste. Slowly fermented, aged to perfection in oak casks, then lightly carbonated to create the perfect craft sipping cider. In ancient England, the apples were stolen, or ‘scrumped,’ but ours are fresh from our own orchard.
English-style cider made with the perfect blend of European cider apples grown in our own orchard. A dry effervescent cider with a good balance of body, fruitiness, tannins, and refreshment. A favorite of cider connoisseurs.
A rich blend of aromatic cider apples and local wildflower honey from our own orchard. Inspired by the finest tradition of Medieval England, where the Normans and Celts credited cyser with magical powers. Aged for several months to a year after bottling.
A delicate balance of apple and brandy with a soft, slightly sweet finish. This is wonderful with soft cheeses. In the tradition of Normandy and Bretagne, we start fermenting fresh pressed cider apples in French oak barrels. At the precise hour, we add our own cider brandy to stop the fermentation and preserve the natural sweetness. It continues to age until it reaches maturity with an exquisite balance of fruitiness, body and alcohol.
The Cowichan Spirts were a really nice treat and piqued my interest in distilling! We tried these three spirits and I quickly purchased some to bring home for Nathan to try.
Apple Oh De Vie
A distinct apple and cider aroma with a slight floral undertone of spring apple blossoms. It is wonderful as a digestif or in your favourite martini.
Cowichan Cider Brandy
With the 2007 apple harvest, we fermented special batches of cider specifically for distilling. Our first batch of Cowichan Cider brandy is made from six different blends of cider apples which we then placed in French Oak Barrels of two different sizes, 100 litre and 225 litre.
Stairs Pear Brandy
The brandy balances its weight very well with rich, fresh pear flavour and consistent secondary and tertiary development. It exhibits a clean, fresh pear nose enhanced by the oak with subtle, fresh aromas of pineapple and lemon zest finishing with strawberries and marzipan. On the palate the pear skin is evident with undertones of maturation to support the cherry, mango, cooked pineapple and almond. The finish dances between juicy pear and exotic fruits.
I am very interested in apple-based spirits now and would love to explore this area more in the future.
Want More Cider Tourism Posts?
Read more about our travels on the Cider Tourism portion of our blog.