Beer Me BC covered the 2015 event and what was truly remarkable about 2016 was the aspect of comparison. Do not get me wrong, 2015 had some great ciders, but this year we saw an evolution of product offerings. 2015 was the year of the off-dry cider and 2016 showed a strong element of experimentation and flavour diversity.
A number of cideries returned for 2016 with their traditional offerings. Brands such as BC Tree Fruits, Howling Moon and Left Field sampled the products that they debuted last year but many also brought something new to the table. A total of 15 tables were set up pouring cider, mead and gluten free beer at the event.
Year over year, one dry-hopped cider option grew to four, fruit infused options came out of the woodwork and Sea Cider even came out with their Wolf In The Woods cider which uses coniferous needles to give a distinct citrus-pine flavour. Others played with yeast strains to give uniqueness to their products. Vancouver’s Sunday Cider uses a combination of wild, white wine and champagne yeasts to give a unique, bubbly and pino-grigio inspired flavour profile to their cider.
Craft Cider has changed drastically over the past year but this is likely just the beginning. Styles have still yet to be defined and many cideries are just starting to get traction. There are similarities between BC craft cider and where BC craft beer was five or so years ago. Those that love cider have their local favourites but even better things are on their way. The innovation game will be the defining factor between good and great in the years to come. Those that push the boundaries of flavour while staying true to quality and craft will win the race here.
The CiderWise event has been a crucial element of pushing craft cider in Vancouver and British Columbia. Linking craft beer enthusiasts with locally produced cider brings a mass of people passionate about all things craft to a unique, growing and gluten free industry. Craft cider in unrecognizable compared to its former self and we can thank CiderWise for introducing us to where flavours are heading.
Who knows what we will see in 2017? The industry is likely to evolve even more in the coming year.