Time for a list, everyone loves a list… right?
The amount of people I have met who say they don’t like cider is frankly mind-boggling. Whats worse is that most seem to have suffered the same bad experiences:
“Well… I went to a party in my teens armed with a bottle of *BLANK* and ended up being very sick and haven’t touched it since.” (Its like everyone went to this bloody party!)
“Cider? No thanks, I can’t stand *BIG BRAND NAME*.”
Well, I want to help you realise what you are missing out on!
Cider has gone through a huge revival in the last decade, as you have probably noticed. Supermarkets now stock a huge range of bottled and canned products of varying styles and flavours. So much so that it’s difficult to know where to start: that’s where I come in. With the help of some friends, we have tasted our way through the best on offer in supermarkets to create this list. I feel confident that it will help you to banish those demons and discover what cider has to offer.
A quick note. I have ordered the list from the tasty easy drinkers to more the adventurous and complex. I have specifically chosen ciders which I think won’t be too challenging, even for a cider virgin, due to this, some great ciders haven’t made it. But if this lot hooks you in; you have those to find for yourself!
1. Thatcher’s Old Rascal
Thatchers are one of the big boys of the cider industry with Gold now available in most pubs. Old Rascal packs a tastier punch. A lovely sweetness is balanced with a dry cider apple character. A great place to start. Our resident Thatchers Gold drinker was suitably impressed.
Also try from this producer: Thatcher’s Vintage, Katy.
2. M&S Devon Farmhouse Cider
Made for M&S by the award winning Sandford Orchards from Devon. This medium dry cider has nice soft tannin, a true bittersweet apple flavour and refreshing finish.
At 4.5% it’s an excellent session-able drink. This received actual OMG reviews from the group!
Also try from this producer: Shaky Bridge, Devon Mist.
3. Cornish Orchards Gold
Gold is a very well balanced and fruity cider. Made from a blend of cider and dessert varieties, it has a clean, fresh taste which is accentuated by its moussey bubbles. A firm favourite from our tasting. This was the first cider we tried and it stunned our Swedish alcopop drinker!
Also try from this producer: Vintage 2014.
4. Aspall Premier Cru
Aspall, from Suffolk, make cider in the more eastern county style using predominantly culinary and dessert apples. This makes for a more acidic and refreshing cider. Its quite likely that you’ll have seen Aspall on draught but the Premier Cru is a more refined drink. Much drier and acidic, a real thirst quencher at a more traditional alcohol strength.
Also try from this producer: Aspall Organic.
5. Caple Rd. Blend No. 3
Another crowd-pleaser from the tasting, Caple Rd. Blend No.3 from Westons. With a higher juice content than their standard range and oak matured, this is a full flavoured and rewarding cider, bursting with fruity notes and a fresh apple tang. In it’s attractive 330ml cans its great to fill the fridge for a party.
Also try from this producer: Caple Rd Blend No.5 Dry and Mortimers Orchards which is a draught cider also from Westons.
6. Sheppy’s Vintage Reserve 2016
Sheppy’s Vintage is made from the apples of a single year’s harvest. It is a more traditional west country cider and so is both drier and more tannic than the above. This cider will grow on you – “The more I drink, the more I like!” – and delight you with its delicate floral aroma and complex character.
Also try from this producer: Old Conky.
7. Dunkertons Black Fox
Dunkertons from Herefordshire are a cider maker high up on many a best of list. Black Fox is a remarkable cider, medium dry and full of true cider apple qualities. Very well balanced but robust, it’s a sensory experience. This is one to work up to but it won’t disappoint when you get there. I managed to convert a fence sitting mate with this one!
Also try from this producer: Premium Organic, Vintage.
So that’s my list, let me know how you get on with it! I am sure there will be at least one that will change your mind. Maybe it’ll even set you on the road to discover all the glorious styles of cider that are out there!