Bringing Home the Gold

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Red Rover Brewing Company win big at 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards.

Red Rover Brewing Company's Nicola Mason and Adam Clawson.
Red Rover Brewing Company’s Nicola Mason and Adam Clawson.

Fredericton’s Red Rover Brewing Company made brewing history this month by winning Gold at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards. The company’s Firecider topped one of four categories, besting over 40 other entries.

This year marked the award’s first year celebrating cider producers from coast to coast.

‘Those four categories cover everything from traditional English cider all the way through to sparkling French cider,” said Red Rover’s Adam Clawson. “We were hoping for the bronze and if possible, the silver. We were very surprised by the gold in the Herbs and Spices category.”

The company first introduced its Firecider this past winter during Fredericton’s FROSTival celebrations with an eye towards creating something to compliment the cooler months. The end result is a drink that can easily be enjoyed year round.

“Our Firecider was designed to be a little bit sweeter so that it could be enjoyed cold or warm,” said Clawson. “We get those occasional minus 40 degree days every so often here in Fredericton and what we wanted to do was make something that would be equally enjoyable at just below room temperature and also at 20 or 30 degrees when we can drink it as a hot toddy.”

The award-winning cider blends fresh ginger for a signature nose and mouth, with a touch of cayenne pepper for warmth.

“Most people when they think of ginger flavour they think of a punch-in-the-face taste, but this is different,” said Clawson, noting the drink’s mild yet distinct flavour. “We wanted to have something that’s a crowd pleaser and like all of our ciders, we didn’t want to simply create a novelty. We want to create ciders that can be enjoyed without growing tired of the taste. We always go for the last three sips.”

Clawson expects to see Canada’s growing cider industry continue to flourish. The way he sees it, having four categories added to the Canadian Brewing Awards for the very first time signifies the beginning of a very exciting time for cider producers.

“All of the cider makers right now are very much pioneers,” he said. “Cider right now is where beer was in the early 1980s and 90s. That sort of time period where those first craft beer makers were saying, ‘hey, we can make something that isn’t mainstream beer’.”

Unlike beer with its numerous categories ranging from dark, thick stouts to lighter ales and lagers, today’s cider producers are free to explore the boundaries of possibility, writing the rules of taste, flavour and category as they go.

“There are no set rules on cider,” said Clowson. “Everything’s fair game and that’s very exciting.”

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