Normally when I’m looking for a cider to review I go to a local interdependent bottle shop. I either see whats new in stock or ask the staff what they would recommend.  However, today, I was at the shopping center and dropped into the LiquorLand. I looked up and down the “cider” fridge: Kopperberg, Mangers, Bulmers, this isn’t looking good.That should have been my first clue . Then I saw one that I hadn’t seen before. The Streamrail Silky Spider Apple Spider.

The label says there are 20 apples per gallon. Thinking that seemed a bit low, I took to twitter to find the how many apples are in a gallon of real cider. The guys at Sitting Duck Cider said there are 10 apple per litre. So with some rough maths that’s about 37 apples per gallon – nearly double what the Silky Spider has. You can use your own imagination to work out what makes up the rest of the cider. My guess is concentrate, water and sugar. If you read it carefully it doesn’t actually say “apples” it’s just an apple icon so this could mean anything really.

The Label goes on about things like “Premium Cider”, “Hand Crafted” and “Pressed in New Zealand with Care”. I’ve said it before but Australia needs stronger labeling laws. My definition of a Premium Cider is very different to the what Steam Rail call a Premium Cider.sliky-spider2
While you are looking at the label on the bottle you might try and work out who Stream Rail Brewing Company is. Good luck finding that out. There is no website written on the bottle (or online for that matter). The only clue is there is a postal address for Australian Beer Connoiseurs. Which I found out after a fair bit of Googling is the home brand of LiquorLand. Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly the man who served me at the counter knew all most nothing about it only that it “has been selling well recently”. You would think the staff would have some knowledge about there own products. Maybe this is by design. If you knew what went into the drink (I’m not calling it a Cider) you probably wouldn’t be buying it.
Instead of putting contact info and a list of ingredients on the bottle they waste the space with a story about a spider and “kooky ciderer” and because they have spiders on the farm they don’t need to use pesticide. I don’t know where to start with this load marketing rubbish. But here goes.

  • One who makes cider is a cider maker or a ciderist not a ciderer
  • “Spiders keep pests from his apples, without the use of pesticides.” What are you trying to say, Stream Rail Brewing Company? Are you organic or not? Perhaps biodynamic? Seems like your not certified other wise you would have told us so.
  • Why do feel the need to tell me this story 3 times on one bottle? Once on the neck, once on the back of the bottle and again on the front, clearly running out of space as they printed it over a cartoon spider in a hat.

The Nose

Streamrail Silky Spider Apple Spider is a potent combination of sugar and granny’s perfume. I’m sure this smell must appeal to someone because grannies keep buying the perfume.

The Taste

This is possibly one of the sweetest ciders I’ve ever had. There is no freshness. Instead, the freshness seems to have been replaced by stickiness. There is an odd hit of bitterness that seems to have been stuck in there for show. The Silky Spider is trying to say me too, “look at me I’ve got a 2 types of flavours, I’ve got depth of flavour, really I do”.

I don’t want to finish the bottle.

Final Thoughts on Streamrail Silky Spider Apple Spider

I made the mistake so you don’t have to. I’m so glad I didn’t buy a six pack. I’m very sorry to say I’ve reviewed 2 ciders from across the ditch and I haven’t liked either. I’m not for a second saying that New Zealand doesn’t make good cider. I’m sure they produce great cider, and perhaps just keep it all for themselves.
All in all, the most tell thing about Stream Rail Silky Spider is the 3 little letters at the end of the LiquorLand product description. RTD. Ready. To. Drink. placing it firmly in a category along side premixed Vodka and soft drinks. Pretty much the opposite of a “Hand Crafted” “Premium Cider” and “Pressed in New Zealand with Care” and exactly want the companies behind the product are trying to do. Make a vaguely apple flavored drink that would appeal to the RTD drinkers while capitalizing on the hard work and market awareness created by the real craft cider makers.
If presented with same choice I had, just save your $3.80

Product Streamrail Silky Spider Apple Spider
Company Steam Rail owned by Australian Beer Connoisseurs own Wesfarmers under the Coles division
Sweetness Very sweet
Alc/Vol 5%
Website None Known
Country of Origin New Zealand
Region Marketing department

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