There are many things I took from my time living in Bristol, a love of cider was not one of them. To this day that has always surprised me. My summers were spent sat in the garden with my friends trying every type of cider produced in the South West. Yet much to their dismay my preferred choice always seemed to be ‘anything with blackcurrant’. With that I found cider became a firm fixture on my ‘no go’ drinks list. However, this past July two events came up in Sheffield CAMRA’s diary that made me think I really should give cider another chance; these being the Wetherspoon’s Real Cider Festival and The Cider Pub of the Year presentation.
After sampling many, many different ciders I found a preference towards the medium-sweet varieties as I found they had a much fresher taste, perfect for the summer weather. I also preferred cask to keg – probably why I’d never truly taken to cider before as shop-bought is almost always fizzy. The cask ciders tasted had a smoothness that I didn’t experience with any of the keg varieties, which made them a lot easier to drink and allowed any tart flavours to come through the fruit. Although I tasted many ciders which were tasty and well-rounded (Scrummage by the Bottle Kicking Cider Company comes to mind), my top three reflect the ones that I found perhaps a little too easy to drink!
1) Slack Alice 4.6% – Celtic Marches: Over the course of the evening at the Cider Pub of the Year presentation I found myself continuously coming back to this drink. Described as a medium cider, I found it to be well rounded with semblance to a fresh apple juice, if not a little tarter.
2) Strawberry Cider 4.0% – Barbourne Cider Company: Noted in the tasting notes as being voted cider of the festival at the CAMRA Worcester beer festival 2016, this strawberry cider tasted in The Sheaf Island certainly did not disappoint. Unlike a lot of the other fruit ciders I tried it was not overly sweet and was extremely light and palatable.
3) Thundering Molly 5.2% – Celtic Marches: Also tasted in the Harlequin, Thundering Molly is a well-rounded medium cider. With a strong apple aroma, it tasted both fresh and fruity and overall was a solid cider, if not a little better after a few minutes left to settle in the glass.