Somersby Cider Launch – The Monk’s Table

It’s really worth mentioning upfront, that by day, I am under the employ of The Monk’s Table.  As a web/social media guy, I sorted out their website and keep up their social media channels.  I only mention this, as I have a tendency to kind of go on and on about The Monk’s Table, and I would hate to be accused of some sort of under-handed favouritism.  So, with that said and done, let’s move on. Also, obviously I know this is a post about cider, not beer, but I didn’t feel like starting up TorontoCiderBlog.com, so deal with it.

If you find yourself invited to an event at The Monk’s Table, you really want to accept.  Adam throws great events, and gets excellent products and guests for these fetes.  This past Monday, Adam was hosting the launch of Somersby Cider, which is a brand under Carlsberg (they’re popping up a bunch around here…).  Don’t let the name throw you, Somersby is the cider pride and joy of Sweden (not England, as the name sounds).  Ciders are kind of a big deal, for draught market-share in Europe, as well as here in North America.  I had a sheet with some interesting numbers, but seem to have mis-placed it after a very temperate consumption of cider.  It seemed like cider sales were on the upswing though.  I mean, even AB-InBev have put out the unusually spelled Stella Cidre, to try to capture some of the good apple juju.  It seems like you can’t swing a stein in Toronto without hitting a pub with a clip-on Sir Perry tap.

Somersby Cider LogoAdam and the rep from Carlsberg, Jay, welcomed the crowd who came out as we settled in and got to know each other.  The first round of cider came out, and immediately one of the unique elements of Somersby became apparent: the draught cider is served over ice.  And not just “some ice”, rather, the branded glassware have a line in them that indicates how much ice to add.  Which helps keep the pours pegged at 400ml/glass.  Now, if you know the reality of tasting stuff, cold temperatures kills flavours.  Generally whisky-drinkers avoid ice, as most of the nuances are lost in cold temperatures.  “Lite” beers are served ice cold, so that what little taste they have is more or less hidden, and you can just guzzle it. So I was instantly suspicious about how this was going to go.  And here’s the thing: at just off 0*C, it tasted pretty damn good.  Bright apple tartness hinting at Northern Spy’s right off the tree.  A nice sweetness that isn’t cloying, but is definitely not dry.  A fairly gentle carbonation gives the beer an even more effervescent pop.  The meal pairing was a starter of bruleed chicken liver pate, and a schnitzel with a cream sauce made with Somersby cider.  The rich fattiness of the pate gave an excellent juxtaposition for the sweet and tart bite of the cider, while the savoury schnitzel and creamy sauce made the zippy summer-patio cider drink like a fall-harvest deep juicy quaff.  Dessert was more cider and the Bruins/Canucks game 6.

Some notes about the cider:  It’s made with no artificial flavours etc, though the main Carlsberg site notes that the apple cider (in other markets they have a pear cider too) is 15% real apple juice.  Which I’m guessing means that it has a lot of added sugar, albeit “natural” sugar.  Still, it definitely doesn’t drink like a soda, all sickly-sweet.  There is a huge pop of nice natural apple taste, which is quite lovely.  At 4.7%, it’s on the lighter side of the draught scale, which is also nice on the patio during the forthcoming heatwaves.  Also, we let a few ounces in the bottom of a glass come up in temperature a bit.  At “cool”, it was very sweet indeed, and moving into the cloying territory.  But that’s okay, I seriously doubt I would ever drink a glass of this slowly enough for that to be a problem.  For a guy who generally doesn’t get down to cider, I certainly had a fair few of these, and would have stayed for more, if I didn’t have to go home for a few hours worth of late-night work.

Thanks to Adam and the crew at The Monk’s Table, and Jay and the good folks at Carlsberg, it was a great night with a great product I’ll definitely have a few more of this summer.

7 Comments

  1. annika
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    hey! where can you buy it. I love this kind. I was in Estonia for the summer and they had it. where can i buy it in Canada?

  2. chris
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Hey Annika, you can get it at The Monk’s Table, where I drank it. It’s a product by Carlsberg, so any bar that serves Carlsberg products might have it. Queries on lcbo.ca and thebeerstore.ca return no results, so I assume you can only get it at pubs and restaurants.

    I spent a few weeks in Estonia in 2004 and loved it. One day we’ll go back, as we have family there. The old part of Tallinn is just lovely.

  3. Meagan
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Really surprised when I found out this was under Carlsberg! Pretty accurate notes, too.
    Had my first glass (which was soon followed by many more) at a bar in London, Ontario.
    Really hoping they’ll stock it in the Beer Store and the LCBO!

    • Dave
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      Hey Meagan! I know this is an old post but at what bar was this, in London, Ontario that you found Somersby? On tap or in a can? Trying to find it at the LCBO is like hitting the Lotto Max 🙁

      Thanks,

      Dave.

  4. chris
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Meagan, thanks and I’m glad you liked it. Watch out for a lot more ciders at the LCBO in the not-too-distant-future!

  5. sara
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    The restaurant that I work at has just started to sell Somersby, and after trying it, I love it! I love it so much infact that I contacted both Carlsberg and the LCBO, and it is stocked in the LCBO warehouses, and are currently being priced. The Carlsberg sales rep hoped it would be in the LCBO by the end of april 2012, however the LCBO was unsure of a date. Somersby has been assigned a product code, 279307, which at the moment cannot be searched on LCBO.com. Once it is in stores, search the code and it will tell you which LCBO location you can buy it at.
    Happy drinking!

  6. Kerry Dennehy
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    The pint served half full of ice is so much bosch.You get just half a pour which is a rip off. Just got back from Ireland and there ,no ice is served in the pint.

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