Nova Scotia Cider 101

A flight of cider at Chain Yard Urban Cider

Despite its success abroad, cider has only become a Nova Scotian favourite more recently. It’s increasing popularity means complex (and delicious) ciders are constantly being made for you to enjoy. Because of this, we’ve created a guide to help you navigate the Nova Scotia cider industry, and hopefully, discover your new favourite cider!

Cider is an alcoholic beverage that comes from the fermentation of unfiltered fruit juice. Although it’s made all over the world, Nova Scotia’s ciders reflect the character of the region. They can be sweet, dry, or strong, and are loved for being lighter than beer but as sophisticated as wine. 

Apple Varieties

Each cider is unique because of its special blend of apples. Cider makers will use their own blend of apple varieties in different combinations to maximize taste and flavour. A cider will usually include two to five different varieties, depending on the apples in season, but the possibilities are endless! 

Some common apple varieties found in Nova Scotian cider are:

Variety Taste Profile
Ambrosia Sweet, low acid, crisp
Cortland Mild, sweet, crisp
Empire Slightly tart, juicy, crisp
Gala Sweet, fragrant, crisp
Golden Delicious Sweet, mellow, crisp
Gravenstein Early, juicy, tart, fragrant
Honeycrisp Sweet, juicy, crisp
Idared Tart, low acid
Jonagold Tangy-sweet, crisp
McIntosh Mildly tart, juicy, low acid
Northern Spy Sweet, crisp
Red Delicious Sweet, crisp
Spartan Slightly tart, crisp
Sunrise Early, sweet

Types of Cider

Both sparkling and still ciders are made here in Nova Scotia, in a variety of styles. Common ciders are higher in acidity than other styles. Fruit ciders have multiple fruits or juices added before or after fermentation, like cherries, blueberries, and cranberries, while pear cider uses pears instead of apples as a base. 

Since cider is now the beverage of choice for many Nova Scotians, a wide range of new cider flavours, styles, and varieties have hit the market. Some styles can include:


Many cideries have started ageing cider in barrels. Bulwark Cider, for example, has released a Barrel-Aged Cider, which is dry, earthy, and pairs well with cheese, roast chicken and seafood. Maritime Express Company is featuring Oaked Russet Cider, made from 100 per cent Annapolis Valley Golden Russet Apples, fermented and aged for four months with Hungarian Oak.

Seasonal flavours

Experimental and seasonal flavours among ciders have become more popular, such as Lake City Ciders P-Factor Cider, which is a limited edition cider series that celebrates the myriad flavours Nova Scotia inspires. Annapolis Cider Company always features a rotating “Something Different” cider on its website, which changes regularly. Currently featured is the Arctic Kiwi Perry, a sparkling pear cider crafted by combining the juice of locally harvested arctic kiwis with dry perry made from a blend of Bosc and Bartlett pears. 

Expanded flavour profile

Ciders with more complex or dry taste profiles are quickly becoming fan favourites, such as Chain Yard Cider Hopped Up Dry Cider or Noggins Corner Farm Market’s Raspberry Bramble, an apple cider topped with a splash of fresh raspberry juice. 

GoodCheerTrail Widget

The best way to learn about Nova Scotian cider is to try it for yourself! There are many cideries on the Nova Scotia Good Cheer Trail with bartenders, servers, or cider makers who are happy to talk about the Nova Scotian ciders they have in stock. This summer, explore the trail and enjoy the all the cideries our province has to offer.

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