Recently I had a meet with Luke Tilse of Tilse Cider. We got chatting about the cider industry and how it is growing rapidly in Australia. The growth, however isn’t without its’ challenges. One of the challenges was bottling enough product. That challenge has made the Tilse’s Pear Cider, in this form, somewhat of a limited release.
Dickens Cider, such a pun worthy name for a cider company. Today I’m reviewing the Dickens Old English Cider.
Like most of the other guys from the Tassie, the cider is made from real apples. And why wouldn’t you. The state has, what are probably Australia best apple growing conditions.
The Dickens family had a few drinks back in 2008 in their home which just happened to be a converted apple cold store. They decided to make cider. Today they now own a cider house and produce a range of ciders. Today I’m trying their Old English.
Red Sails Medium Dry Gold Cider is the first bottle conditioned, keeved cider I’ve reviewed. When a medical researcher retired he set about cider making. Pairing together some of England’s best cider making apple varieties, with a cider making technique so intricate it could have only have come from France. So what is keeving and how does it taste?
The guys down at Willie Smith’s have a new cider. Willie Smith’s Bone Dry Cider, is, as the name suggests, it’s a dry cider. While their first cider I reviewed was based on the French farmhouse style, the Bone dry is based on a traditional Herefordshire style. The big difference between the Herefordshire and this Tassie cloudy is the apples used. Here we have eating apple and not the traditional cider varieties. Sam Reid, the head cider maker at Willie Smith’s told me, the Bone Dry is a favourite among the local farmers when served at The Apple Shed. It’s earned itself the nickname “The Knee Bender” as its easy drink and quite strong.
In this real cider review it’s all about wild yeast, open fermentation and unfiltered cider . This is as raw as cider gets. The guys over on the west coast at Custard & Co have made a Scrumpy. Some say scrumpy cider is the pinnacle of traditional cider making, others get the impression that is gut rot cider and is best avoided, not the case here. The Custard & Co Scrumpy are heavily influenced by the British cider making styles and techniques. The head cider maker trained in the UK where scrumpy is more common than on the Aussie cider market.
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.
Continuing the theme of Aussie ciders I’ve reviewed named after water fowl, Lucky Duck and Sitting Duck being the other two, Gilbert’s The Goose is made by the Gilbert Family of wine makers. This is one of only a handful of Aussie ciders made with traditional British cider apples. The Foxwhelps and Kingston are blended with the eating apple developed here in Australia: Pink Ladies and Granny Smiths.
Like Napoleon Cider, The Goose is made by wine makers. I think it would be an easier transfer of skills between grapes and apples compared to the transition from brewing beer to fermenting apples. Wine and Cider making require you to focus on the fruit’s juice and how yeast act on it. A delicate balance of flavours is needed to make a great drink. A good wine maker has the potential to be a good ciderist. So can the boutique winery make a quality boutique cider?
Earlier in the year I meet the boys from Custard & Co who made the trip over from Western Australia for the Sydney Taste Festival. Where I tried a few of their real ciders. One of them I tried was the Custard & Co Original Apple Cider I was very impressed by it and I’ve been looking for a bottle of it ever since for a proper review.