It’s cider time!
12th July 2019
Times Drinks Editor, James Viner, picks the best craft ciders which boast a true taste of summer
- Organic Supermarket Choice: A Potent Off-Dry Herefordshire Delight
Dunkertons Black Fox Cider, 500ml, Herefordshire
(£1.83 offer, down from £2.29, until July 16, Waitrose; also Abel&Cole, Alc 7%)
Named after the elusive local legend and hand-crafted in Herefordshire, this skilful 10-apple blend, including the scented star Stoke Red, classic bittersharp Kingston Black and bittersweet Dabinett, packs a potent bite. Secure a stash now for summer. One for sausages and mash, pulled pork or a cheeseboard (think Cheddar, Camembert, Gruyère and Beaufort). 20% discount until July 16 at Waitrose. An organic beauty.
- Zingy Local Canned Hero from Bekesbourne, near Canterbury
Kentish Pip Wild Summer Sparkling Elderflower Cider, 330ml can, Kent
(£1.66-£2.50, Amazon/Eebria/Woolton Farm Shop/Kentishpip.co.uk, Alc 4%)
Sam Mount exemplifies the contemporary face of Kentish cider, mixing creative logistic skills (he used to produce music festivals) with a natural inquisitiveness about flavours. This light and accessible cider in tinny form is medium to sweet but rounded and refreshing. An elderflower cordial was added to the ripe, mainly dessert apple mix prior to a light carbonation and canning. It’s very easy to drink and perfect for hot, summer days. Vegan friendly and gluten-free too.
- Complex and Contemplative Out-of-this-World Sparkling Dry Cider
Oliver’s Bottle-Conditioned Vintage Fine Cider, Season 2013, 750ml, Herefordshire
(£7.50, Oliversciderandperry.co.uk, Alc 5.3%)
Renowned cidermaker Tom Oliver has won more awards for his cider and perry than there are wasps in his orchards at harvest. I dream of this stuff – a magical blend crafted from the very best barrels. Sublime! 100% juice and wild-yeast fermented without preservatives/filtering/ pasteurising. Put this on any dinner table and drink with roast pork. A triumph of a grown-up, food-friendly, sparkling dry cider.
Where to enjoy cider on tap locally
Craft keg cider can really complement your booze offering, publicans. Thankfully, there are now several top-tier producers who are kegging (Kentish Pip, Hawkes and Crafty Nectar for example; Worleys will start soon) and this will continue to grow. Fuggles in Tunbridge Wells has a nice small but well-curated selection – try Andy Hallett’s incredible full-bodied Dabinett-blend ‘Real Cider’ from Caerphilly. Sublime with organic Hafod Cheddar!
Must-Try British Master Cidermakers:
- Little Pomona Cidery & Orchard (Herefordshire)
- Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry (Herefordshire)
- Oliver’s Cider & Perry (Herefordshire)
- Find & Foster (Devon)
- Pilton Cider (Somerset)