Bridgetown, a small town on the West Coast with a history of growing apples. This is where 20 years a hobby became a business. Today, that business Blackwood Valley Brewing Company make a range of ciders by The Cidery. Lets start with the Bitter Sweet Cider.
For the American readers, when I say the West Coast I mean Western Australia. Bridgetown is a couple of hours drive south of Perth. The apples are sourced from the local Newtown Orchards. Newtown Orchards are a serious player in Australia’s fruit growing and packing scene. If you are eating an apple in the UK imported from Australia there is a good chance it was packed in Newtown.
To be able to produce the quantity of apples needed to supply the international market you must have good growing conditions. The apples that supply The Cidery receive over 900mm of rain a year plus drip watering in the dry spells experienced in the Mediterranean climate. This insures juicy apples. Couple this with loam soils and you’ve got a good base for growing apples.
This region of Western Australia is where the Pink Lady was originally bred. This makes them well suited to the loam soils of the area. The Cidery wanted to make a cider of the area, so the Pink Ladies were a natural choice for bulk of the Bitter Sweet Cider. It’s then topped off with Lady Williams (a relative of the Pink Lady and also bred in the area) and the Golden Delicious.
Before I get the smell let me tell you how this cider sounds. It’s a crackle with the twist of red wine style screw cap, then, … nothing. Not a hiss of gas, nothing. Bang! That’s when it hits, a powerful aroma. Big, sour acidity dominates.
I said there was no gas escaping the bottle. That’s because there is only a little bit bubbling in the batch. These beads only last a moment. The moment The Real Bitter and Twisted Cider hits the palate it’s a sequel to the scent. The bitterness is the star of the show; it’s sharp and brutal like vinaigrette. It took me my surprise. I reread the label. “Serve over ice.” Added a couple of ice cubes to the pint. The bitterness was tempered and the sweetness comes through. Now its starting to revive a subtle undercurrent of the Pink Lady sweetness to break the reign of the of acidic bite, providing some fruitiness around the edges.
Final Thoughts on The Bitter Sweet Cider
Sometimes you want an easy drink, other times your want a challenge, an acquired taste. Something to match with other bold flavours. Something salty. Blue cheese or grilled chorizo, maybe match it fish and well salted chips.
I’ve said many times about the need for labeling laws. Ingredients list are the first step into reclaiming the word cider as a drink made from 100% fruit and not 4 types of sugar or with added vodka like Barcadi’s newest “effort”. The Cidery has to be given full credit for putting a full ingredients list on the back of the bottle.
The Bitter Sweet Cider is not an everyday cider but hard-core cider geeks will appreciate trying something unlike the mass market. The label calls “Real Bitter and Twisted”, I think that a good call. This may be the start of the rebellion. Like Punks rebellion against Disco. Now Punk has dedicated has a fan base. This is the start of the rebellion against the sugary synthetic ciders.
|Product||Bitter Sweet Cider|
|Sweetness||Medium Dry / Bitter|
|Price||$72 carton of 12 x 500ml|
|Country of Origin||Australia|