One of the real highlights of starting my Twitter account has been being able to communicate with cider makers up and down the country and all over the world. It’s an incredibly useful social tool. So, it’s quite funny to think that given its huge scale and ability to reach producers in say the USA or New Zealand, I happened to discover and meet a cider maker from my own home town!
Steve Town and Jason Andrews founded BEARDspoon Beer & Cider Works in 2011 and have been making real cider ever since. From their humble beginnings of a Bramley tree, a few donated apples and a small screw press, they have gone from strength to strength.
As Kentish cider makers, they use a blend of eating and cooking varieties such as Bramley, Howgate Wonder, Egremont Russet and Discovery. With some crab apples for good measure! Using wild yeast fermentation, patience and skillful blending, they make cider of exceptional quality. The addition of crab apples to the blend adds a tannic edge which creates more body and character than would be expected from a typical Kentish cider. This has helped the duo to winning several awards for their ciders.
Steve’s passion for cider started in much a similar way to mine, discovering what real cider has to offer. “My interest was sparked by a local pub which had New Forest Cider, Double Vision and Janet’s Jungle Juice amongst others, this lead me down the path of opportunity into the orchard of realism about what cider should really be like”.
As I write this blog I am enjoying a special blend of their ‘Undecider’d’ which has been sweetened with fresh Discovery apple juice. It just has such a wonderful aroma and really ‘appley’ character, almost like Eastern and Western ciders have been blended together. It’s a wonderful experience.
2016 is looking like a good year for BEARDspoon cider. With higher natural sugar levels than last year and 1350 litres of juice pressed, you must try some while it lasts! So, young cider makers, brimming with enthusiasm, what’s next for this award-winning duo? A new range of ciders? Huge increase in volume? Nope. “Our hobby has out grown the classic garden shed arrangement but we will be sticking to our current production levels to keep things fun, sociable and manageable with our day jobs.” I’ll drink a cider to that!