As it occasionally happens, one of the two of us has the good fortune to venture into distant cider territories flying solo for our lives outside of the cider world. In this case the location is the UK. What a fortunate experience it was to be able to do some cider exploring there! From first bag-in-box experiences in a proper pub to Westons on draft, the availability of cider in the UK is so much more prevalent than in the States. It was a challenge to even get started on which ciders to try, not to mention there was limited time to explore.
This journey started in Manchester with a colleague from Germany. The cider scene in manchester is nothing like in the more southwestern portions of the nation but it seems to be growing with a few new local producers and a Cider and Perry Festival that is now in its 6th year. Despite this there were still a few local spots where real cider could be found, with the Font having one of the better selections from the limited exploring on this trip.
The real find of the trip however was on the southern edge of Birmingham at Cotteridge Wines. Their selection of beer and cider was incredible. A few bottles even had to make the trip back to the States. The best manner to illustrate the products they had in stock is to dive right in to the tasting notes for the week!
Oliver’s Gold Rush #4 Cider
Him: This is the third time I have had the Gold Rush #4, each time I have picked up on different aspects of the cider. The first thing I notice about the cider is the color! It is a deep golden brown color and crystal clear. The aroma coming from the glass is fruity and earthy, like wet straw in mid-spring. The smell seems to tell about the place where this cider came from. It is carbonated, however this is only apparent when you first pour it as the bubbles are invisible in the glass and its only once you have a sip that you remember they are still there. The carbonation gives a pleasant tingly sensation on the tongue that fades as the tannin in the cider takes over. Full in the mouth the taste is fruity at first but transitions to slight caramel and subtly spicy before the finish of the tannin takes over. On the finish the flavor is that of apple peel with a dryness comparable to a Cabernet or a Merlot. Definitely a score for a cider explorer!
Her: Another English style cider…another funky smell. This time it had a more subtle barnyard-y smell which I am learning to get past. I absolutely love the color of this cider. It’s golden brown just popped and was beautiful in the glass. After getting past the smell and taking an initial sip so many things ran through my mind. It started out fruity but soon the tannins take over and left my mouth dry. The dryness made my mouth salivate which in turn made me want to take another sip. I am slowly learning to appreciate this craft of cider and I think my palette will only continue to change as I am introduced to more and more incredible ciders.
Until our next adventure,
A & S