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.
“To drink sediment or not to drink sediment that is the question.” – a quote there from William Shakespear’s West Country cousin.
If you speak to enthusiasts about bottle conditioned cider and beers they will tell you its fine to drink sediment and its a source of vitamin B, but doesn’t really add to the taste. Others will say “it will just make one rather windy” and it’s best left in bottle. The Adelaide based Coopers Brewery encourages drinkers to rock the bottle around a bit to mix in the sediment. LOBO Cloudy Cider is unfiltered meaning some of the finer parts of the apples flesh makes it all the way from pressing to the bottle. These along with the dead yeast cells settle at the bottom. In a cunning move LOBO’s website says the following
Pouring LOBO cider, excellent over ice – invert the whole bottle. It can also be rolled gently or poured carefully leaving the sediment in the bottle, each method giving different levels of clarity. The flavour changes, experiment and see which you prefer.
Basically try it a few times in different way see what works for you. I didn’t pour mine over ice, instead I gentle poured the bottle of cloudy cider into the pint glass leaving the sediment in the bottle. I figure the LOBO looks thick and cloudy enough without adding the yeast cells back in.
I decided to review Tilse’s Apple Truck cider after seeing it my local pub. They poured the pale cider from the tap into an icy schooner. Produced at top end on the Hunter in the little town of Scone, Apple Truck Cider is the mostly locally made cider to where I grew up. When reviewing ciders I’m always interested in how the local climate affects the flavours.
Scone is on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. The winters do get chilly which apples need to fruit. While the summers have plenty of sunshine. The Granny Smith and Red Delicious love conditions like this. These Granny Smiths make a very clear and pale cider.
Frank’s Summer Apple Cider is as straight forward as cider gets. “We don’t muck around.” That’s how Frank grew apples. Now his grandaughter has taken over the “Woodside” orchard. Some of the trees are over 80 years old which is a pretty rare thing on the Australian cider scene, but the Tasmanian Huon Valley provides the perfect conditions for growing apples as we’ve seen in the Willies Smiths and Pagan Ciders reviews.
I’ve been looking forward to reviewing Willie Smiths Organic Apple Cider. To understand this real cider you need to understand its heritage. Back in 1888 Willie Smith planted an apple orchard. Today these apples are hand-picked to make a cloudy French farmhouse style cider.
Willie Smiths orchard is nestled down in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. Where the air is said to be some of the purest air in the world and some of the freshest rain comes direct from the south pole. All this makes for great conditions growing apples. Willie Smiths are doing their best to maintain this environment by becoming fully organic certified. They claim this can improve the nutritional value of the cider. This is the truer to form, to Willie Smiths it is the traditional way. They don’t need anything artificial, in the soil or the cider. They care about their farm, their drinkers, and Tasmania. I love the fact that they’re not letting a multi-nation agribusiness prescribe their newest “Ultra Root Booster” or “Caterpillar Killer 1000” for a short-term gain. Knowing that long-term they will harm the ecosystem of the orchard long-term. Willie Smiths knows that the Huon Valley is a fundamental part of their cider. It is an asset worth preserving .
Pagan Apple Cider from The Huon Valley, a traditional apple growing region of Tasmania. Pagan Cider source the apples from Lucaston Park Orchards. These guys have been growing fruit in Tasmania for 4 generations. What Pagan cider don’t do to their cider is the interesting bit. The Cider isn’t pasteurised, as this dulls the flavour. There is no sugar added because this is an Australian “Real Cider” and that is (morally) not allowed. It does not have gluten or egg white. Odd things to put in a cider but they can be used as a clarifier, but this is a proper cider; its just full to the brim with Tassie apple juice.
A cider, by wine makers, Napoleone Apple Cider is a family operation that grows, presses and ferments the fruit themselves. This gives them total control over the end product, which has earnt them a silver medal in the 2013 Cider Australia Awards for medium ciders (specific gravity between 1005 and 1012).
The Napoleone family immigrated from Italy in the 1940’s settling in the Yarra Valley. They set about planting apples for the eating market. Today they have around 250 hectares of apple trees. In the late 1980 vines were planted and was later turned to wine sold under the Punt Road label.
Rocland Estate’s Sitting Ducks Peary is my bold introducktion into the Australian Perry scene. It’s a showcase for Adelaide Hills finest pears.
After the great cider boom (which is still booming) pears wanting in on the alcoholic action. On the back of cider branding came Pear Cider. Now I challenge anyone to give me a good definition of what a pear cider is. A cider is made from apples and maybe a little yeast and preservatives is you real must. Unless of course your from Sweden and then anything goes, but that’s a rant for another day. A Perry is a cider made from a special type of pears call Perry Pears. These have wonderful names like Arlingham Squash, Moorcroft, Blakeney Red, Winnal’s Longdon and Judge Amphlett. Pears are hard to grow. The fermentation is prone to infections. Perry can be hard to master but some say though that a good perry is better than a fine champagne. Now a Pear Cider, what is that? My best guess is: it’s a marketing idea to through another “flavour” out there and see if it works. Pears, once fermented are sweeter than fermented apples because of a sugar, sorbitol, can not be converted to alcohol. This might be an attempt to appeal to the alcopop crowd.
My opion is a Cider is made from apples, a Perry is made from perry pears and a Pear Cider is cheating at best and at worst a chemical filled fruit wine alcopop.If it only contains pear and apple juice what is the ratio?