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First-ever Vancouver Craft Cider Festival says cheers to local industry, quality production and community

By Yasmine Shemesh
Giving apples their day in a grain dominated world. Photo: Courtesy of Vancouver Craft Cider Festival

Giving apples their day in a grain dominated world.
Photo: Courtesy of Vancouver Craft Cider Festival

VANCOUVER — There is far more to cider than that stuff you drank in high school. You know the kind — the sickly sweet mixture that hurts both your molars and your stomach lining after a couple of sips. But that mass-produced swill is a world away from the flavourful ciders that us British Columbians have fermenting in our own backyard. In fact, the province is a bounty of cideries — many of which will be showcased at the Vancouver Craft Cider Festival on November 27th.

The inaugural annual event (which sold out quickly) is presented by the Vancouver branch of the Campaign for Real Ale Society. The non-profit organization is behind the popular CiderWISE festival, but while CiderWISE includes gluten-free beers and ciders from Washington, Oregon, and Spain, the VCCF will only focus on BC-made cider. After all, says David Perry, president of CAMRA Vancouver, supporting and promoting local industry and community is at the heart of CAMRA’s mandate.

Hard Apple Cider Ale. Photo: Courtesy of Vancouver Craft Cider Festival

Hard Apple Cider Ale.
Photo: Courtesy of Vancouver Craft Cider Festival

In choosing participating cideries, CAMRA worked with craft cider bar Orchard & the Sea. As the only of its kind in the province, the Vancouver establishment had a discerning insight on whom the festival could highlight. “We wanted places that are producing, if not exclusively, predominately cider,” adds Perry.

Amongst the featured cideries are Scenic Road Cider Co., Salt Spring Wild Cider, and Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse. The latter produces some of Perry’s personal favourites. Of note is their award-winning Rumrunner — the apples that make up the cider are homegrown, hand pressed, and then aged in rum-soaked bourbon barrels for six months. The result is dry and slightly carbonated, retaining gorgeous rum profiles with rich hints of brown sugar.

The VCCF will also have educational component where attendees get to learn more about the long history of cider, dating back to its believed birthplace in Spain, as well as the niche of land-based ciders (cideries that own their own orchards). And, of course, there will be food pairings to accompany the tastings, with gluten-free options to accommodate those with wheat sensitivities.

With its vast spread of cider varieties and inclusive community atmosphere, VCCF promises to be a delicious evening of discovery — with none of that sickly sweet stuff.

Vancouver Craft Cider Festival is held at The Beaumont Studios on November 27.

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