Barrel and Hatch, a cider company founded by guitarists and inspired by chickens. Ok, it’s a little more complicated than that. They are approaching this from a completely different angle.
Stu and Todd love a Saturday afternoon jam session with their guitars over a few ciders. But the problem was they could only enjoy 1 bottle before they found their mouths clogged with sugar and they would need to swap to beers. They came up with the idea, let’s make our own cider, a dry cider with New South Wales apples, cider making apples.
They had set themselves a tough task. Todd spent a few months travelling Spain, Normandy and the south-west of England on a learning mission.
By the time he got back, they knew they needed a premium product. They opted for a 750ml bottle, which is normally a tough sell as people aren’t willing to spend the money on a bigger bottle if they think they might not like it. This is the problem with a young product category. Stu told me at one wine bar the Barrel and Hatch was listed at the back of the menu next to some drinks questionable labelled as “ciders”. These were 375ml bottles and were well less than 1/2 the price of the Barrel and Hatch and it wasn’t selling well. So, they decided to list the Cider in the Sparkling wine section of the menu and served it in a champagne flute. Then, that’s when it sold much better. The team behind this cider have also targeted Sommeliers and not pubs which means it’s going to be matched by experts with the fine dining experience.
The cider is made with equal parts Foxwhelps, Kingston Blacks and Somerset Redstreaks, grown in the Orange region of New South Wales. They have worked with a top winemaker to keep the cider down to 3.75 grams of sugar per litre and a fine bubble. The cider spends since time in old oak barrels.
And the name Hatch and Barrel, well that comes from the experimental batches when the chickens on the farm were running around the oak barrels as they worked on the Cider.
Vanilla and a little hit of raw sugar, lots of juicey apple notes but it doesn’t have that often intimidating hardcore British cider scent despite being chock bung full of British cider apples.
The Barrel and Hatch Cider is made from a blend of Kingston Black Somerset Redstreak and Improved Foxwelps. The Redstreak and Foxwelps stand out but the Kingstone is light on the ground, which is a bit of a shame, I love me some Kingos. Upfront it is nice and fruity tricking you into thinking it’s a sweeter, more fruit-forward cider but then it fades pretty quickly into a reasonably dry blend with a few woody oak undertones. There is a moment just before the cider hits your tongue that has a great perfume. It’s got fine bubbles and not too many of them. There are more bitters than tannins and the bitters hang around for a while. The texture is very smooth.
Final Thoughts on the 2015 Barrel and Hatch
This is a very interesting cider, if you are going to introduce a foodie audience to a cider that uses these more complex apple flavours, this could be the one. The subtle oak notes are just enough of a familiar touch stone to guide wine fans onto this Apple Cider.
Regular readers will know that I’ve been banging on about getting cider into restaurants. Cider works with food so well. Starting with educating the chefs and somms will lead to educating the public. If you are looking for this Cider don’t look for it at the local bottle shop, save your pennies and find Hatted restaurant (Australia’s version of a Michelin Star) with this on the wine list, listed under sparkling wines.
|Barrel and Hatch
|Country of Origin
|Apples from Orange, NSW