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When Nova Scotia cider meets Niagara grapes great things happen

By Tas Fraser

I first came across the Chill Street Beverage Company just before last Halloween. They were advertising photos on their Instagram for their pumpkin spice flavoured cider (yum!) called Hocus Pocus.

This, of course, captured my attention, and fast-forward to January, where I have not only sampled Hocus Pocus, but also 12 other flavours. I know 12 sounds like a large number of different flavours so you’ll be thrilled to know there are also four more that are pending review!

What Is Chill Street?

Ontario cider

Chill Street Beverage Company is a trend-setting beverage company located on the east coast of Canada in Elmsdale, N.S. They opened in 2017, and are located inside of a Sobeys. The owner is the equally chill Barry MacLeod. Chill

Street currently has ciders, wine-cider blends and non-alcoholic sodas available for purchase online through their website. They also have established many partnerships, one being with Noggins Corner Farm in Nova Scotia, and another closer to home. With Chill Street’s wine-cider blends, they use wine from Niagara-on-the-Lake, cool right? This brand’s main goal is to create a relaxing atmosphere where loved ones can connect, chill and enjoy a flavourful cider. They definitely accomplished this with their fun labels, creative names, and suggestions for food pairings right on the can!

Wine-cider blends: New on the scene

Now, I love wine and I love cider … but together? I was unsure how I’d feel about this interesting combination. I know, like me, others have expressed concern that maybe the wine flavours would dominate or the cider would make it way too sweet. I am thrilled to say that neither of these things happened. All of the blends are so masterfully crafted that you’re receiving the best of both worlds. They have the lightness of a cider, the wine flavour and higher ABV. I recommend these for those wanting to try something new, or venture over from one drink to the other.

And now … what you’ve been waiting for — the flavours …

Miracle on Chill Street (cranberry mulled wine-cider blend, 8.5% ABV, 750 mL bottle) — Miracle on Chill Street is a seasonal drink created last December. It is a cranberry mulled wine-cider blend. In this cider you have a Villard Noir wine paired with Chill Street’s classic cider, cranberry, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. I am a huge fan of spiced ciders when done right, and this one was out of this world with flavour. I am not the biggest red wine drinker, but this combination was amazing. It is perfect for a cold winter’s night in, relaxing with family or friends. Due to the “warm” spices in the blend there’s a nice touch of sweetness mixed with tart cranberry and wine flavours. Sadly, this was a seasonal blend, hopefully returning this year.

Chill Street Afternoon Delight (peach Riesling wine-cider blend, 7.2% ABV, 473 mL can) — Afternoon Delight was one of the first wine-cider blends from Chill Street I tried. I won’t lie, I was so unsure what to think as I’d never had a blend like this before. The wine taste was definitely a bit more distinct than the other flavours in this one. I am, on a normal day, as far as wine goes, a big Riesling person so, of course, this was of interest. In terms of flavour it is very light and perfectly carbonated, peach forward with the taste of wine blended throughout and in the aftertaste. In the middle of winter, it gives that perfect hint of summer.

Chill Street Wild Thing (blueberry sangria wine-cider blend, 7% ABV, 473ml can) — I know I shouldn’t be picking favourites, but if I had to this would be one of them (tied with It’s A Vibe, however, they are on different ends of the spectrum). Wild Thing is a beautiful pink colour and is also carbonated. It is made with a blend of wine (Cabernet Franc rosé) mixed with 100% Nova Scotia blueberries thus creating the sangria feel. I absolutely loved the combination here, which was nice and fruity with a tang of wine.

Chill Street It’s A Vibe (pineapple Pinot Grigio wine-cider blend, 7% ABV, 473ml can) — Meet my other favourite of the wine blends: It’s A Vibe. This one is one of the newest additions to the collection, and to be honest it was the one I thought I’d like the least. Pinot Grigio has never been for me but I was blown away with how well it paired with pineapple. This blend was fresh, light and full of juicy pineapple flavours. I felt as though I was sipping it on the beach (which is where I’m sure all of us would love to be right now). It is also made with honeysuckle and pear, which balance out the wine and the crisp apple into this perfectly light drink. This is super smooth and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.

Chill Street Wine N’ Dandy (sparkling apple wine-cider blend, 6.8% ABV, 473 mL can) — This one is more for the classic cider/wine lovers! Wine N’ Dandy is a sparkling wine and crisp apple cider blend. They suggest serving it in a Champagne flute, and you will see why when you have a look at all of those bubbles. Definitely a good alternative if you want to try something new. I found it to be semi-dry and you could taste more cider than wine. However, it is still incredibly refreshing!

Chill Street Head Over Heels (passion fruit rosé wine-cider spritzer, 5% ABV, 330 mL can) — Head Over Heels is a different breed than the rest, however, that makes it unique. This is the first in Chill Street’s spritzer line and provides a lighter option than the others. This one is in a smaller can, has a lower ABV but does not lack in flavour. The blend is a combination of passion fruit (such a tasty tropical flavour), rosé wine and cider. It offers the perfect amount of sweetness that makes you fall head over heels, of course.

Where to find Chill Street

Now, you may be wondering where in the world you can try these wine-cider blends. Luckily Chill Street has an online store that ships anywhere in Canada. Head over to their website here. While you’re there, consider ordering my favourite of their ciders, the Sweet Temptation, a honey mango cider. Such a fun, innovative brand that is one to watch for.

Note: Go here to read Tas Fraser’s bio.