Bromley CAMRA brings real cider to the borough
Saturday 9th March sees CAMRA’s Bromley branch throwing a ‘for one day only’ cider festival in the town centre. The Mad March Cider Festival – so called because it’s more usual to see a cider festival in October – aims to show punters that real cider and perry can be enjoyed all year round, not just in the summer and autumn months. It’s also a great excuse to say goodbye to the dreary dark months and raise a glass to the coming spring.
Julian Barrett, Bromley CAMRA’s cider representative, explains:
“It would be an understatement to say that Bromley is a tough place in which to promote real cider. Like most British towns, it isn’t heaving with real cider drinkers. And most pubs reflect this lack of demand in the ciders they offer, usually the same unholy trinity of mass-produced fizz. Therefore we are hoping to introduce real cider to the townsfolk who are really missing out here. Real cider is exciting stuff, with the hundreds of cider apple varieties producing a huge range of drinks. There’s something to suit every taste.
At the festival, we’ll be featuring at least 20 real ciders and perries from some of the best producers around, and showcasing some wonderful Kentish ciders.’ In the borough of Bromley there are only a handful of pubs where you can get a pint of proper stuff. The star that flies the flag for real cider is the Grape & Grain freehouse, just up the road in Crystal Palace, which always offers six real ciders and perries. Bromley CAMRA is delighted that the Grape & Grain is sponsoring our March cider festival. Rick Wright, landlord of the Grape & Grain, says: ‘At The Grape and Grain, we take our ales and real ciders very seriously – they are our ‘raison d’etre’ – so we are really pleased to work alongside Bromley CAMRA to help promote Real Cider in the South East London area.
The Mad March Cider Festival is on Saturday 9th March at the HG Wells Centre, St Marks Road, Bromley BR2 9HG. Open 12 noon – 11pm.
Update March 5
Bromley CAMRA are proud to be featuring the following 30 ciders and perries at the Mad March Cider Festival.
Brook Farm, Herefordshire (Dry) 6.8%
Made from a blend of local cider apples to produce a crisp, bittersharp cider, with quite a bit of tannin and an oaky character. Sadly, Brook Farm has recently ceased production, but we are fortunate to have a box of their final pressing.
Crossman, Somerset (Dry) 6%
Excellent quality cider produced from apples grown in Ben Crossman’s own orchards. A fruity start with a dry but smooth finish. Very easy drinking.
Double Vision, Kent (Med) 7.4%
Unfiltered cider using Kentish apples.Good apple character, nicely dry and tart with light tannins.
Gwatkin: Kingston Black, Herefordshire (Dry) 7.4%
Small, family-run business, based at Moorhampton Park Farm in Abbey Dore, Herefordshire.The Kingston Black is the most famous apple used in cider-making. Matured in oak barrels with natural yeasts. Rich apple aroma, sour apple and sulphur notes
Gwynt y Ddraig, Glamorgan
Gwynt y Ddraig cider started production in the late autumn of 2001. Bill George and Andrew ‘Drew’ Gronow embarked on a cider-making venture with one remit, to make cider using traditional methods.
Happy Daze (Med) 4.5%: A new cider in Gwynt y Ddraig’s range, fruity, apply aroma, well-balanced finish. A light and very easy to drink medium cider.
Dog Dancer (Med) 6.5%: Produced from bittersweet cider apples blended with a true sharp cider apple, it’s a light straw-coloured cider with a medium dry, smooth, crisp, slightly sharp characteristic.
Hecks, Somerset (Med) 6.5%
The Hecks family have been making traditional (award-winning) Somerset farmhouse cider for six generations, since 1840. Farmyard and green sour apples, some earthy and leathery notes, and hints of fruit sugar.
Kent Cider Co. Russet/Bramley, Kent (Med) 8%
Kent Cider Co. uses 100% Kentish apples to produce its distinctive range of award-winning, craft ciders. An award-winning blend of nutty and earthy Egremont Russet apples with a dash of Bramley. A full-bodied, grown-up and distinctive cider.
Made from apples grown and hand selected from their orchards in the heart of the Somerset countryside, Millwhites Cider is fermented and matured in oak barrels using the juice of whole pressed English apples.
Hedge Layer (Med) 4.8%: A light and refreshing cider. Lovely rounded, medium flavour. A real thirst quencher.
Apples & Pears (Med) 5%: A refreshing blend of Millwhites scrumpy cider and the juice of fresh pressed pears.
Rum Cask (Med) 7.5%: Excellent premium cider aged in barrels from the Jamaican Rum Company. This cider was Champion Cider of East Anglia in 2009, and is simply a fantastic example of a cask-conditioned cider. One of our favourites!
Richs Farmhouse Cider, Somerset (Sweet) 6%
Cider has been produced at Richs Cider Farm at Watchfield for over 50 years. A sweet, still cider made from a blend of apple varieties.
Richs Traditional draught ciders are made with Somerset bittersweet/bitter sharp apples, then matured in oak vats, giving a well balanced, cloudy cider with a fresh apple aroma.
Rosie’s Triple D, North Wales (Med) 7%
A multi-award-winning cider. Aroma is apple, vinegar, alcohol and some sweet notes. Flavour is sweet apples with some herbs, earth and mild fruitiness.
Rough Old Wife, Kent (Dry) 7.5%
Using a range of apples from Hawkin’s Rough Orchard and matured in aged Scottish whisky barrels from the famous Bruichladdich Distillery on the coast of Islay. Dry with a rich apple bouquet and a hint of peat. Not rough at all!
Seidr O Sir, Mid Wales (Dry) 6.8%
Founded in 2000, Seidr o Sir are makers of traditional cider and a limited amount of perry using 100% fruit, nearly all of which is sourced from their own or other cider orchards in Radnorshire. Entirely natural fermentation with absolutely no additives.
Troggi, Monmouthshire (Dry) 6.5%
Troggi specialises in whole juice dry cider and perry and is developing bottle-conditioned products. If you like your ciders dry, then this is the one for you: plenty of depth and character.
Ventons’ methods are as traditional as they get! Hand-picked, vintage cider apples are crushed and pressed a ton at a time through straw on a traditional oak twin-screw press, then fermented and matured in oak barrels to produce a clear and clean natural cider.
Skippy’s Scrumpy (Dry) 6.5%:
First prize at the Devon County Show 2009 and 2010. A fine example of straw-pressed, oak-matured cider.
Apple Vice (Med) 6.5%
Medium, fruity, straw pressed and oak matured. Made traditionally from full cider-apple juice.
Westcroft Janet’s Jungle Juice, Somerset (Med/Dry) 6%
In 2007 Westcroft Janet’s Jungle Juice was voted Champion Cider of Great Britain by CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival (from a blind tasting of over 150 ciders). In 2008, JJJ was runner up for the same award. JJJ had also been Champion Cider in 1997. No other cider has been been so successful, and quite rightly so, an all-round winner, and perfect balance of flavours in our book.
Mr. Whitehead’s, Hampshire
We were bowled over when we visited Angus Whitehead’s set-up on CAMRA’s national cider and perry trip last year. Almost all the apples and pears Mr. Whitehead’s Cider Company use are grown on the south-east facing Hampshire Downs of the neighbouring Blackmoor Farm Estate in Selborne, one of the most respected growers in the south of England. The amount of varieties grown has allowed Angus to create some new and interesting blends, while using old and traditional methods to make special ciders throughout the strength range.
Boxing Dog (Med/Dry) 7.5%:
A strong cider made from apples with a high sugar content, including Worcester and Cox, coming in at an impressive 7.5% ABV. Traditional scrumpy fans will love this.
Newton’s Discovery (Med/Dry) 3.8%
A revival of a historical light and dry cider made for quaffing while you work the fields! This is made from many varieties of apple, including Discovery. The pulp is soaked before a second pressing to extract the remaining juice. Awarded 2nd place cider at Wallington Beer Festival 2007. Good flavours despite its low abv.
Wilkins, Somerset (Dry) 6%
Roger Wilkins is a real character and visiting his place is an enjoyable experience in pleasant surroundings, with his farm overlooking Westhay Moor Valley. A fairly dry cider, but not in an overpowering way. There is a slight bitterness and tang to it and just a genuine cider taste.
Double Vision, Kent (Med) 7.4%
Sweet and spicy apple and pear flavours with a little sulphur.
Gwatkin Squeal Pig, Herefordshire (Med) 4.5%
The name Squeal Pig comes from an old Herefordshire term used in taverns, where they requested a pint of squeal pig. The legend is that “squeal pig” was the sound made after drinking it. Perry with an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable balance of sweet and sour flavours.
Gwynt y Ddraig Two Trees Perry, Glamorgan (Med) 4.5%
A pale, fruity perry with an aroma of fruit and a hint of honey on the palate.
Hartland, Gloucestershire (Med) 5.8%
This small family operation, based in North Gloucestershire, was started by the late Ray Hartland, a local farmer at Flat Farm on the outskirts of Staunton. This award-winning perry is rich and tasty with flavours of pear, wood, spices, mild yeast and some white wine-like notes along with mild sweetness.
Hecks Blakeney Red, Somerset (Med) 6.5%
A gorgeous, smooth, quite sweet perry with dessert apples/pears and vanilla flavours. Has an attractive fruit-purée character. Very more-ish.
Ross-On-Wye, Herefordshire (Med/Dry) 5.5%
All Ross-On-Wye Cider & Perry Co’s produce is made from 100% pure apple and pear juice, pressed at Broome Farm mainly from their own fruit. This is a really good, award-winning perry - an overall sharp pear taste with an initial sweetness that gives way to a tart, dry finish.
Troggi, Monmouthshire (Dry) 6.5%
All of the fruit used in the ciders and perries only come from Monmouthshire orchards. Sweet and tarty with a lots of juicy pear flavour.
Mr. Whitehead’s Midnight Special, Hampshire (Med) 5%
Midnight Special Perry uses a unique blend of fresh dessert and perry pears, and contains no added sugar, perservatives or flavouring. Midnight Special was awarded a Bronze medal by CAMRA as Champion Perry of Britain 2006.