The Gradbar Cider and Perry Festival was packed on Thursday, the first day. Gareth has done for real cider what his beer festivals did for real ale — introduce a new generation who might otherwise think that cider is something you drink with ice.
There were 14 ciders and 5 perries. One listed cider has not arrived on Thursday but it might have done later in the fest.
The tasting notes we made were not entirely legible but this is what I make of them:
- Biddenden Medium Cider (8.4%) Smooth, tangy, fruity and tasty. Good.
- Broadoak Perry (7.5%) Dangerous!!! Very nice indeed. Pears from start to finish but other flavours to draw you in.
- Gwatkin Norman Cider (7.5%) TCP Slides down easily!!
- Gwatkin Farmhouse Perry (7.5%) Grapefruit sherbet fizziness. Acidic — dissolves teeth.
- Heck’s Blakeney Red Perry (6.5%) Lots of flavour, rich with a dry aftertaste. Wonderful melange of fruit, a bit sweet.
- Heck’s Kingston Black (6.5%) Really dry! Long astringent finish.
- Minchews Stinking Bishop (7.5%) Dryish, waspish, flavoursome.
- Moles Black Rat (6.5%) Not dry. Touch of honey. Good depth. Green in a nice way.
- Rich’s Farmhouse Cider (6.0%) Complex, flowery hints don’t detract from appleyness.
- Ross-on-Wye Tremlett Bitter and Katy (sounds more like a film title than the name of a cider but that’s what it says on the sheet here) (6.5%) One for the purist. Astringent and truly dry. Good nose.
- Thatcher’s Cheddar Valley (6.0%) Very like the next one.
- Thatcher’s Traditional Cider (6.0%) Slight petillance, very appley but thin finish.
- Westons Country Perry (4.5%) Cheesy nose. Mild finish. Nice and sweet.
- Westcroft Janet’s’s Jungle Juice (6.5%) Pleasant. Dryish.
There was a marquee outside but it was too cold for many people to want to sit in it.
Mention should be made of the band (inside). Too loud as always, but competent covers of Cream, Hendrix, Free, ZZ Top, AC/DC and even one Beatles number. What the under-25s (the vast majority of the audience) made of it I don’t know.