DRINK THIS: Chain Yard's Drunken Cherry cider

An earthy, aromatic and rum-infused new release

click to enlarge LENNY MULLINS
lenny mullins

Jay Hildybrant
isn’t afraid to play around with ingredients, but the head cidermaker at Chain Yard Urban Cidery never wants to bury the best parts of cider under too much sugar.

“For the longest time there’s been a stigmatic idea cider needs to be sweet and needs to taste like apples. To me, it’s time we change that perception. We want to create a wine-like product,” he says. “My passion is definitely with cider but we always try to use winemaking techniques. It’s very much like saying wine has to taste like grapes, it doesn’t make much sense.”

It’s his storied background in (and contagious passion for) cider that keeps the taps at Chain Yard so carefully considered, meticulously crafted—and full of creative ferments like the latest Drunken Cherry. Made with cherry wine and aged with Compass Distillers’ rhumb (spelled funny, but it’s an un-aged white rum), Hildybrant calls this 9.4 percent drink robust and earthy, with a hint of sour cherry, too.

“We do something that’s fairly unique here at Chain Yard. Whenever we get in a fruit juice, we actually create a wine from that. It pulls out interesting flavours and aromatics. So we’ll ferment the cherry and get notes like cinnamon and nutmeg and really interesting nuances,” he says of the blend which he anticipated
would ring in at around 8.5 percent ABV. “The cherry went farther than we thought and hit 9.4 percent but I didn’t want to stop it because there were really unique notes coming out.”

You can taste all those nuances for yourself at Chain Yard (2606 Agricola Street) this weekend, Drunken Cherry is pouring now.

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