Recently, at the Australian Cider Festival, I had a chat to Shane from Hillbilly Cider who introduced me to the best in class award-winning Sweet Julie Cider. This is the first cider to feature the new Australian apple BPN 02 or to give it its’ trade name “Julie”

So about the Julie apple. Back in 1992 on an orchard on the outskirts of Sydney a seeding from a discarded seed had sprouted up behind the sheds. This was the first Julie apple tree. This variety was grown by pure chance, just like the Granny Smith apple, one hundred odd years earlier. Once the orchardist, Bill Sheilds, noticed the apple, he knew he was onto a winner.

Branches of this original tree have been grafted onto a couple of thousand sets of root-stock. Trials of the Julie apple have started in all the major Aussie apple growing regions from the Adelaide Hills to the Huon Valley. Some commercial quantities of the sweet Julie apples have been shipped to some markets around Sydney.

The Julie apple is large and bright red. They say it tastes of strawberries, pineapple and a dash of pear. The growers are saying it is pretty good at resisting many common apple ailments. This is why Mr. Shields has sunk thousands of dollars into securing trademarks and breeding rights around the world. It’s already in Italian orchards and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to the US next.

This orchard is just down the road from the Hillbilly cider operation. So It was only natural that this would wind up in a cider.

Sweet Julie Cider

The Nose

You’re going to want to stick your nose deep inside this one and get ready for a big fruity hit. Dried fruit like a red berry roll up from your primary school lunch box (they might be called fruit leather in other places). Secondary elements of slight biscuit notes make the whole thing remind me of a jam drop biscuit.

The Taste

The is basically raspberry cordial for grown-ups. Bucket loads of fruit without being sickly sweet. The Julie apple was never meant for cider but it works so well here. It sits between a pink lady and punnet of raspberries with the acids and florals of the pink lady and the fruitiness of the berries. Up front there is a massive hit of fruit. The finish is long but clean. There are elements of a pear cider with no bad aftertaste

Final Thoughts on the Sweet Julie Cider

The Sweet Julie does the full Miley Cyrus and comes in like a wrecking ball with the amount of fruit in this one. At a modest 3.5%, it’s easy to drink which is good and you’re probably going to want a couple. Coming into summer this will be a great afternoon drink. Put it on the shopping list.

Product Sweet Julie
Company Hillbilly Cider
Sweetness Medium Sweet
Alc/Vol 3.5%
Country of Origin Australia
Region Bilpin, New South Wales


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