St Ronan’s are doing things a little different in the Yarra Valley. Their real cider is unfiltered, has no added sugar or water, couple this with white wine yeast makes this draught cider an interesting little number. But the fact that this cider is only half of a double act is the real story.

St Ronan's Bottle

So, St. Ronan’s make 2 apple ciders, this draught (in 500ml bottles and in kegs) and as well  a Méthode Traditionelle, stay tuned for that review coming soon. Both start life as 3 varieties of table apples grown in the Yarra Valley.  Selected from local family run orchards. The team behind St. Ronan’s has, last year, planted around 100 traditional cider apple an perry pear trees. This should help them both produce more volume and have greater control over the flavours. These won’t begin fruiting for a few years yet. There is a saying “plant pears for your heirs”

On the farm near Healesville, the juice is pressed and it begins fermentation. It’s only the apple juice that makes it to the fermentation barrel, no water, no sugar and no weird stuff from a packet that “may contain traces of wheat” in site. The only thing that is added is an aromatic white wine yeast.

After this yeast has finished the primary fermentation, the batch is split in two. One sibling is now off to be bottle conditioned to make St. Ronan’s Methode Traditionelle but that is a story for another day.

The Draught Cider is now ready for kegging and bottling. The cider bypasses the filtering system to ensure all the flavour from the fermentation vessel ends up in the bottle, this leads to a nice cloudy colour.

The Nose

As I pour my pint, the escaping bouquet reminds me of a berry compoté with a creaming soda chaser. That white wine yeast does create a powerfully inviting perfume.

The Taste

The first thing I noticed was the mouth feel was quite creamy. This is nicely balanced. In the sweetness department, not too sweet not too dry. There are some dark fruits like raspberry that give way to a more traditional cider taste. The low carbonation helps with that creamy mouth feel and leads to a  finish that is really smooth. This reminds me a lot of Custard & Co Vintage Dry, which is no secret, this is one of my favourites.

As the cider warms some sourness reveals itself, in not unpleasant just another layer to think about.

Final Thoughts on St. Ronan’s

These guys have a lot going on. Besides making cider, the guys have side ventures into growing heirloom veggies. The techniques used in there Methode Traditionelle are very labour intensive. This doesn’t leave much time for them to fiddle with the Draught cider, which is only to the ciders advantage. The flavour here is bold and refreshing, it doesn’t need matching food to be at its peak. St Ronan’s is well suited to hot days served cold and a good chat.

Product Apple Cider
Company St Ronan
Sweetness Medium
Alc/Vol 5.4%
Country of Origin Australia
Region Yarra Valley, Victoria

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