2018, done and dusted. It’s time to look back at the Real Cider Reviews’ Best Ciders of 2018.
I’ve had a pretty amazing year from being asked to speak at the Australian Cider Conference in Baltow in May. July, I got to tick off a massive item off my bucket list when I packed up my bike and rode from Somerset to Herefordshire. More recently I moved out of the hustle and bustle of Sydney to the fresh air of Armidale in the north of the state. I bought a house with a big garden and within a month I had planted my first apple tree, more will follow. I don’t know where that project will end up but that is the exciting part.
I am in a privileged position. I have been to taste award winning ciders from all round this country, New Zealand even as far away as Norway. Again, the quality has improved from last year, the range has expanded. Unfortunately, I’m seeing craft beer pubs cider taps being turned over to something self-described as cider but is more likely to resemble bait in an insect trap. But this is the time of year for compliments not conspiracies, so I’ll leave that for another day. Onto the Best Ciders of 2018.
Best Ciders of 2018
Best International Cider
This year’s best international category was always going to go to a British cider. Spending 3 weeks over there in the summer I got to try the full spectrum from some paint stripper in a dodgy pub to superbly balanced drops in the cidermakers sheds.
An honourable mention goes to a little number in the Hallet’s shed. A small bottle conditioned cider aging for years. It had plenty of complexity and was so easy to drink. Alas it is not for sale so can’t be included on this list.
Perry’s Barn Owl Farm House Cider
Perry’s are doing everything right here. From the moment you see it on the shelf you see the delightful artwork. Once you pour it into your glass its’ nose is full of dry straw in the midday sun and sweet marshmallows. The taste is fruit forward but still has the hallmarks of a Somerset cider. This cider is the gateway to Somerset’s ciders.
Read the full Review Perry’s Barn Owl Farm House Cider here.
Best Australian Ciders
Number 5 The Cheeky Grog Co Kingston Heritage
I love a Kingston Black cider, but when you only have 1 apple in your cider, like riding a mechanical bull on a trampoline, balance is hard to find. Yet Cheeky Grog Co have got it. It’s approachable and a bit of a conversation starter.
Read the full review of the Cheeky Grog Cider Kingston Heritage here.
Number 4 3 Sons Pink Lady Cider
3 Sons have taken one of the best new world dry cider at this year’s Australian Cider Awards. It’s unlike any other pink lady-based cider out there. It’s dry and complicated. It will keep you thinking until the 7% booze kicks in.
Read the full review of the 3 Sons Pink Lady Cider here.
Number 3 Willie Smiths Whisky Aged
This is the first time a flavoured cider gets on the best of list. This reflects the trends in the market. If you going to flavour a cider Willie Smiths seem to be onto something here. Take a top shelf cider and age it in an award-winning Lark Distillery whisky barrel.
Read the full review of the Willie Smiths Whisky Aged here.
Number 2 Hillbilly Vintage Blackberry 2018
A late entry to this list and again it’s a flavoured cider made with real fruit. Now that “Generation Rekorderberg” are quitting sugar and the boys are branding Rosé as Bro-sé the timing could not be better for Hillbilly’s latest experiment. From garden parties to pudding, Hillbilly have you covered.
Read the full review of the Hillbilly Vintage Blackberry 2018 here.
Number 1 Spreyton Cider The Big Q 2017
Spreyton’s have created something special here. The scent is as warm an inviting as a cuddle from Nanna, while the taste is as fresh as an evening summer breeze. Bottle conditioned and well presented. It matches well with food, really is the full package. I cannot understand why this isn’t on the wine lists around the country at the most exclusive restaurants
Read the full review of the Spreyton Cider The Big Q 2017 here.
What was your favourite cider of the year? it it make the Best Ciders of 2018 list? Leave a comment below and I will see if I can give it a whirl in 2019.
What will 2019 bring? More proper cider apples are coming online every year. Now the cider makers are beginning to learn how to use these apples. Again, this will lift Aussie Cider to the next level… again. Cider Australia recently launched a Trust Mark, so if you see a cider with this logo you know you are getting a cider made from 100% Aussie Grown fruit. So, choose these ciders to help support Aussie cidermakers and fruit growers. This support is more important than ever. The drought has not ended despite recent media reports, rural industries need your business.
Thanks to all the cider makers who have helped me with samples, expertise and their time. A big thank you to all the readers out there. Without your support RealCiderReviews.com simply would not work. So, if you like what I’m doing share this with your friends.