Hallets Real Cider is the first Welsh cider I’ve reviewed. Hallets is a tiny company making this a bit of a rare breed. Being a small company they embrace seasonality. The flavours change with the seasons and that is just the beginning of what makes Hallets Real Cider exciting.
Down in deepest, darkest Somerset, the Sheppy Family started making cider around 200 years ago. In the Great British summer of 2013 that family picked cider apples from the Three Bridges Farm, they then age that young cider in oak barrels. But is it worth the title of Sheppy’s Vintage Reserve 2013?
I was in the mood for an English cider. At my local bottle shop in the back corner I saw Hogan’s Dry Cider. Proudly sitting on top of the bottle was a sticker proclaiming 1st Place at the Royal Bath and West Show. I thought to myself the competition at the Bath and West must be pretty stiff, this is in the middle of the West Country cider making region. That has got to be a good recommendation.
As Somerset is to the Glastonbury Festival, King Arthur and the Exmoor National Park, but we’re talking cider here so its more like The Wurzels. The Charmer By Orchard Pig is as they say is “Rooted in Somerset”, part of the West Country, the spiritual home of cider as far as most people are concerned. Back in the 18th century, local farm hands were paid in part with around 4 pints of cider for a day’s work, more if they earned it. This meant most farms had a small orchard to make their cider. Out of this the West Country cider tradition was born. Today a few farmhouse style cider houses are still making cider. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to stop by one of these you will know the unique smell of yeast eating the apple juice sugars turning the juice into cider, as well as splashes of last years batch soaking into the woodwork going a bit vinegary. Its a good place to be, so its happy smell for me.
It’s a bloody hot Friday afternoon. It’s been a long week. This is the Reveller, the side of the bottle says its refreshing and I hope its right. Coming in at 4.5% the Reveller is one of Orchard Pigs lighter offerings. Designed as their “pub product” available in bottles and on tap. Although, it’s only on tap if you lucky enough to be in a quality British pub. My tasting was from the bottle. I paid $8.50 for a 500ml bottle from a specialist bottle shop in the Sydney CBD. It might seem a little dear but is probably a low volume import and its a biggish bottle.