Merridale Cidery & Distillery
Cowichan Valley – September 2020
Just off the highway slightly hidden in the Cowichan Valley you will find a number of Vineyards and one very special Cidery & Distillery. Merridale Cidery & Distillery is a great pit stop on your way up island or a destination unto itself.
Sometimes when you travel to a distillery, winery or brewery you end up with someone that doesn’t like whatever it is you are going to taste but not at Merridale. With lots of options, cocktails, cidery, brandy and more there is always something for everyone.
The best way to decide which flight to go for is to go form them all! Which we almost did 🙂 Instead of one each we shared three, the Old World Cider, The Cocktail and the Brandy.
The Brandy – I loved the brandy flight. The Cowichan Cider Brandy was smooth, clean and had lovely fruit undertones to it. The Cowichan XXO Brandy was by far my favorite. I actually tried to purchase some but they were sold out. This Cognac inspired brandy was double distilled in copper and aged in an Oak Barrel for 10 years. Smooth and easy to drink. Finally the Cowichan Pear Brandy, you know when you taste something that tastes more like what it’s made of than what it’s made of? That is the Pear Brandy. Each sip has more pear taste than an actual pear! So my recommendation is if you like pears you must try this brandy.
The Cocktails – This flight is absolutely perfect for a hot summer day. The #Bliss was a refreshing citrusy drink with hints of lavender. The perfect cocktail to lounge poolside with in hand. As a big fan of Gin & Tonic I was anxious to try the Juicy G&T and I was not disappointed. A twist on the classic with Merridales house made Fennel Citrus syrup. If you like Gin & Tonics give this one a try! Honey Bee, a slightly smokey and sweet drink with a spicy bite of ginger at the end. I typically don’t like honey flavoured anything but I really enjoyed this cocktail. Tiki Time, ok. So if you follow this blog you will see that we love Tiki everything and with the pandemic in full swing we haven’t been able to visit any new Tiki bars in a long time so as you can imagine we were ready to get a taste of this cocktail. I found it very sweet, strong and full of flavours which were all fighting to be the dominant, but in a good way. It’s complex punch that you should try if you are jonesing for some Tiki.
The Cider – So to be honest I am not a huge cider fan which you wouldn’t know considering how many cider places we seem to go to. I will say this, I am a fan of traditional and doing things the “right” way and Merridale makes their ciders the right way. The Scrumpy has a lovely dry finish and is the perfect way to start your cider journey to the Old World. This may have been one of my favorites of the day. The Traditional is just that. If you are looking for a traditional cider without modern twists this is a good solid cider to drink. The Cyser, is an interesting cider. rich in both flavour and aroma I felt it was a cider made for someone like me, maybe looking for a traditional cider with a twist. If you only have one give this one a try. Finally the Oaked Harvest now back to my love of distilled liquor this one fits perfectly in my flavour wheelhouse at 19.5% Alc./Vol. It’s strong. Period. If you like a strong cider then you need to try this one, it’s simply delicious.
Something I didn’t realize about Merridale until I looked it up before visiting was there is an amazing restaurant on site. In the past couple of months we have been to Merridale twice and both times enjoyed a lovely breakfast\brunch. You can beat the setting and the food and service is fantastic.
If you are looking for a lunch or tasting destination for an afternoon adventure I recommend visiting Merridale Cidery and Distillery.
Location: 1230 Merridale Rd, Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L0