Guest Review by Owen
Merridale Cidery, near Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island
Merridale Estate Cidery is located on the far side of Cobble Hill from Cherry Point, and is the first Cidery in British Columbia. Since then, a sort of British style cider has been made in the Okanogan, but this is the original, and I think, the best.
When we arrived, the whole operation was in the process of changing hands and being renovated for better production capacity, with an new bottling line and new storefront operations. Also, we didnít see much of the orchard, because it was raining quite hard by the time we arrived. What we did see was the tasting bar, where we tried the entire product line with the exception of the champagne ciders, which were unavailable at the time. My favourites were the Berry Cider and the Scrumpy, which was 11% by volume and sold by the pint. Thatís my kind of cider. Also the flavour of the Scrumpy was very complex and even smoky, reminding me a bit of scotch.
All in all, I want to see more of the Cidery, and drink more cider, which, I suppose, is a recommendation in itself. It gets three and a half pints of Scrumpy, but it would have gotten more had there been Champagne Cider, had the place not been torn apart for renovation, and had the owner been willing to give us a quick tour of the back end operation even though it wasnít a weekend and we hadnít called ahead.