The debate could go on for years however for the blog post, yes it is real cider. It is not, however, farmhouse cider. In recent years cider makers have gone rather upmarket, producing ciders using pear, berries and even passion fruit! All this makes for aisle after aisle of cider at the supermarket. It’s nice to support local if possible but with so many to choose from sometimes it’s not so clear cut. There is a selection of ciders tried for this post some of which are local and others further afield, so far as another country even.
If you can, try and buy ciders from a farm shop or even better a brewery itself. To start with a trip to our local farm shop. Sheppy’s cider is sold here, a lovely local brewery with great family values.
Sheppy’s have been making cider for over 200 years here, in Somerset. Though the main stay is traditional Somerset cider, the choice has become huge with offerings of elderflower, berries and all manner of delights. The 2015 vintage has a very oaky colour with plenty of life to it. Tasting this for the first time I was amazed by just how crisp and refreshing it is. The smoothness, the way it just lulls you to have another sip. Recommend having this on an evening with friends for sure.
I can’t say I have been a massive fan of flavoured ciders, most being sickly sweet in my experience but wanted to give them a fair trial. Blackberry and elderflower, hmm I was not convinced, wow, just wow! Think of a thirst quenching squash, yes that but with alcohol. Super refreshing, clean tasting, and ever so moreish. I am amazed by how they have managed to keep the subtle elderflower after taste whilst using something as strong as the blackberry but they have.
Another local brewery is Thatchers, they have been producing cider for a little more than 100 years. Initially, my thoughts turned to those horrid yellow cans of fizz you find in all the shops but no, Thatchers make some good quality ciders. First up was the single variety, Katy. Unfortunately for me, this was a real disappointment, Sharp, throaty, and with very little aftertaste. It almost left me wanting to have a drink to take my mind off it. Vintage 2016, what a contrast, light coloured, deep bodied, bursting with flavour, a real treat in a glass.
This little blinder got me very excited, I had heard of this little company from a few friends and they had raved about how tasty it was. A young Somerset company, based near Glastonbury, they produce some fantastic ciders to suit most tastes. My taste was for the truffler, a dry cider, only slightly sparkling. Deep golden colour and crisp bitter sweet taste allow this cider to live up to its name. The real turn up for the books was the fact this cider for me was on par with ciders from far larger companies.
It’s only fair to give the larger, more commercial brand’s a go, so Bulmers it is.
Established in 1887, Bulmers have made quite a name for themselves in the retail world of cider.
Until recently I hadn’t tried the pear version, as expected, he years of commercial production has made both drinks like fizzy pop with none of the characteristics related to cider at all, shame really.
Whats this? Has he gone mad? HE has put a cider from New-Zealand in with Bulmers. Old Mout is one of four fruit ciders cheekily labelled established in Nelson, New-Zealand, however, it’s made in the EU under licence by Bulmers. I have to admit it soured the drink as I felt a little hoodwinked. That aside, it would be a great summer bbq drink or a great drink to alongside a fish meal but not what a cider is.
The last year or so, people have sung the praises of this Cornish cider, I had to try it for myself. First off the straight apple, bitter, clingy in the mouth and yet bland at the same time, a real disappointment!
Hopes were high for the pear, surely this would be a winner? No big surprises here either really, it was at best mediocre, a little livelier than the apple but not my favourite by any means.
What a surprise this was! Walking the aisles and came across this, instantly liked both the name and the style of label. Once I took it from the fridge at home I then realised Its American. Produced in the USA and imported here, I was gobsmacked. Angry orchard is quite a sweet cider and has a very artificial colour, if you are more of a die hard scrumpy guy like me then this cider would not do. The person who likes to drink fizz from a can would like this cider as would anyone who likes Perry but for me, it was too sweet, very nice for after a meal but that is all for me.
WHICH WAS THE FAVOURITE
After trying all these ciders I had to decide on my favourite. Having just one favourite might be a problem, maybe my favourites. yes. better. The outright winner for me was the sheppys vintage, such a pleasure to drink. Orchard pig would be a close second for me with the fruity offerings from sheppys being my number one choice in that category. I felt very disappointed with a few of the ciders but understand everybody’s tastes are different.