This year Real Cider Reviews has reviewed nearly 50 Ciders and have tasted over 100 different ciders all in the name of research. So it’s that time of year again. When your favourite TV shows have basically given up for the year and the editors quickly throw together a half-baked collection of the “best bits of the year” instead of actually making something new. Well here at Real Cider Reviews we’re above that. So here is a list of my top 3 Best Ciders of 2014.
Many cider competitions are divided into style categories. For example old world, New world, Dry Cider, Sweet Cider, Perrys but my top 3 is about walking into an independent bottle shop and picking up something that you and your friends will enjoy. At the end of the day if you can’t have fun with a good bottle of cider and good friends what’s the point?
After seeing the quality that Australia’s best cider makers are producing at the moment I have had so much joy in tasting a huge range of styles and flavours this country is making. Over the ditch the Kiwis are also rising to challenge. While New Zealand’s massed produced cider, like many of the world’s mass market ciders, simple are not worth your dollars but their craft ciders in typical Kiwi style punch well above their weight.
So without further ado; here are Real Cider Reviews Top 3 Ciders of 2014
Best Ciders of 2014, Number 3
Custard & Co Vintage Dry Apple Cider
Custard & Co’s Ciders don’t get the wrap they deserve as Iain the cider making mad scientist behind the label won’t enter them into competitions. Thankfully, his ciders don’t need gongs to stand out from the crowd.
As far as I’m concerned Custard & Co’s Vintage Dry is the star of their range. The custard like texture couple this with the incredibly complex wild yeast and fruit flavours making this a cider I keep coming back to. The biggest problem with the Vintage Dry is that my local pub only ever has a few in the fridge. I’ve heard Custard & Co will be kegging this very soon so we could all be in luck.
Best Ciders of 2014, Number 2
Hillbilly 2014 Vintage Apple Cider
Often when people think of cider they think of something made in a shed. The type of cider where the term Scumpy is used in the derogatory sense. The name Hillbilly might make you think the 2014 vintage falls into that category. However thinking that would be a mistake. Hillbilly’s 2014 is a superb drink that could stand proud against many $60 bottles of champagne at a fraction of the price. I’m already looking forward to the 2015 Vintage. For a special occasion (with or without a banjo) reach for a Hillbilly’s 2014 Vintage.
Real Cider Reviews Number 1 Cider of 2014
Zeffer’s Slack ma Girdle
Well it pains me to say that, by a whisker, the Kiwis have beaten out Hillbilly to claim the number 1 spot. Zeffer’s Slack ma Girdle gets the number one spot for being the best of both worlds. It has the structure and composure of a bottle conditioned cider. While on the other hand complex fruit and tannins make you want to keep coming back for more, just so you can sit back and slowly dig though the wall of flavours. A contemporary cider with tradition cider apples. Slack ma Girdle is a really honest all round cider and that’s why it has taken out a swag of award at the Australian Cider Awards but more importantly the Number One spot in the Real Cider Reviews – Best Ciders of 2014.
I’d like to mention the guys down at Spreyton Cider Co. Their large range of ciders, each trying to innovate. From the sweet to the ultra-dry even a hopped cider. While they didn’t make the top 3 the quality throughout the range is very good. A label to look out for.
Finally, I’d like to thank Cider Australia and Sam Reid for all the help in the first year of Real Cider reviews.
So here’s to 2015. With apples ripening around the country as we speak it won’t be long until there will be another vintage of cider ready to wrap your lips around. We may even see a few more international ciders getting reviewed.