Published on July 11, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour


Wriggling and wiggling and tiggling in cider

When taking a look at cider – and having a taste of it, of course – there’s surely no better folks to ask than those at the region’s cider pub of the year. The Station House in Durham wears that title with pride. Co-owner Susannah Mansfield takes her pick of the summer crop

All the draught ciders recommended here are often available at The Station House, and have also been seen regularly in other good cider retailers in the area, so let’s go.

On draught:
Chants Badger Spit (7.5% abv): If you like your ciders dry enough to strip paint, this is the one for you. Chants is based near Glastonbury Tor in Somerset and Badger Spit is one of their most renowned products. This exceptionally dry, sharp, but clean-tasting cider is an incredibly refreshing palate-cleanser, perfect for hot days.

Harleston Cider Co, Cid’er’oad (6.2% abv): Harleston is relatively new on the scene in the North East. The company started in Norfolk, but now works between there and the North East – the apples for Cid’er’oad are collected and juiced in Norfolk and fermented in Newcastle. The cider itself is medium, rich and fruity with a strong flavour of russet apples that slips down a treat.

Circle Cider, Butchers Boy (5.5% abv): Butchers Boy is a sweet Wiltshire cider, made from a mixture of apple varieties. Although it falls at the sweet end of the spectrum, this full-bodied beauty has plenty of tannins which give a nutty, oaty flavour that balances the sweetness and makes it taste like apple pie.

Pulp Rhubarb (4.0% abv): Pulp is a brand of wholesalers the Real Cider Company based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Rhubarb is their best seller (and ours, as it happens), made from medium, easy-drinking apple cider blended with fresh rhubarb juice. The result is a medium-sweet cider that tastes tartly and refreshingly of rhubarb.

Now let’s get on to the bottles:
Whin Hill Perry (5.8% abv): Whin Hill, from Wells-Next-The-Sea in North Norfolk, produce a range of refreshing ciders which can be bought via their website (www.whinhillnorfolkcider.co.uk). Their perry (made from pears) is particularly good, pouring a pale yellow colour and light in body with a slightly floral, citrussy aroma. In bottle it is lightly sparkling and being less sickly sweet than some perries, this is superb as an aperitif or as an alternative to sparkling wine.

Caple Road (5.2% abv): Caple Road is Weston’s “craft cider” brand, available in supermarkets in cans. Weston’s proudly proclaim that the cider is made from “fresh pressed, not concentrate” apple juice. Caple Road is a deep straw colour, with an initial aroma when first poured hinting at oak and leather that dissipates quickly to leave a strong apple aroma. Initially sweet on the palate, it finishes dry and astringent. This is the one for taking to barbeques and music festivals.

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Alastair Gilmour

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