From tree to glass: Lanark County’s apple heritage celebrated by two new cideries

Cider lovers will drink in news of the opening of two new cideries in Lanark County, both with a fresh take on one of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages – golden and delicious cider. Ugly Apple and Farmgate cideries are offering flavourful ciders with a homegrown (and Lanark County) twist.

Arguably the oldest alcoholic beverage on the continent, cider made from Lanark County apples is unique its region. In fact, cider is similar to wine in that respect; just as fine wines are flavoured by the terroir of the region in which they’re grown, so too does cider reflect the geography of the region where it’s produced.

For the adventurous cider lover, family-owned Ugly Apple is an award-winning Lanark Highlands micro-cidery bringing a twist to cider-making. By using exclusively wild apples to make its cider, Ugly Apple is creating a true “Lanark County” beverage, one that brings with it the flavours of the region. Fermented using natural or wild yeasts native to Lanark County, the ingredient list for Ugly Apple cider is short but sweet: Apples.

A visit to Ugly Apple cidery is a true adventure where visitors are invited to savour cider produced as it would have been hundreds of years ago, using organic, local apples that are crushed, fermented using wild yeasts, and served cold. Visitors can choose an educational experience and take a trail walk to learn more about wild apple trees and their role in the local ecosystem.

Ugly Apple ciders are offered in wine bottles and corked like wine, with a complex flavour profile, similar to European ciders. It’s also uncarbonated, crisp, and a one-of-a-kind product made exclusively with ugly apples; the small, and often mouth-puckering wild apples that can make cider taste so good. In 2019, Ugly Apple will be introducing a “Myzer,” made from maple syrup and cider, bringing a Lanark County twist to cyzer, a combination of cider and mead.

Another cidery making apple history is. Farmgate Cider, a new Arnprior-based cidery that branched into the Lanark County in 2019. With a farm property located in historic Pakenham, Farmgate offers 17 different varieties of cider made from regionally-sourced apples as well as the popular “Farmgate Estate” cider, produced solely from organic apples grown on the Farmgate farm property.

This family-owned cidery is using a combination of traditional and modern cider-making techniques to craft refined and well-balanced ciders. Lightly carbonated, barrel-fermented and crystal clear, Farmgate cider offers a delicate and appealing flavour profile. Of course, nothing is added to Farmgate’s ciders, no sulphites or preservatives, just yeast, and carefully hand-picked apples.

Cool and delicious, Farmgate’s  playful ciders reflect the character of the Lanark County region and its apples, with names like North Road, Sugar Bush, Russet, and Bee Squared. The addition of back-sweeteners like apple-honey and locally sourced maple syrup help to balance and enhance the flavours.

Farmgate owners, Jim, Brenda, and their two sons, Stuart and Jacob, are always experimenting with recipes – in 2019 visitors can expect to see a cyzer, a mead-like cider, along with other unique combinations like honey-apple, or rhubarb on the cider list. |