Monday 8 August 2011

Dunkertons Cider (GBBF)

I had some other reviews planned for this week, though I have moved them to make space for 'reviews frm the Great British Beer Festival'. I would have let them go in turn, but as I am a little ahead of myself with reviews at the moment it makes sense to make them as timely as possible.

Reviewing draught cider from craft/artisan cider makers has a few complications that don't tend to crop up so much with the stock supermarket offerings. These are often standardised, stable products that rarely change from year to year. Well, when I say change, I expect some (Henney's etc.) do change, but not that significantly.

On the other hand, draught cider can vary from batch to batch, let alone year to year. It can also be badly kept (though keeping cider in good condition is still easier than cask beer). Add to this the tendency of large festivals to insist on using plastic polypins, which allow air in as soon as the first glass is poured, and you have a whole lot of things out of the cider makers control.

I think that diversity and change are a strength for craft cider. Ciders mature and age, taste different in different conditions. The flip side is that any review is a sapshot in time. I tasted some good cider and some fairly iffy cider at the GBBF... and if I am to review the cider I have to comment on it. But that is a little unfair, especially as how the cider is kept and how long its allowed to oxidise in a polipin is way out of the control of the cider maker.

Helpfully, none of the ciders I tried had any faults like this. So credit to GBBF. The iffy ones were either sweetened within an inch of their life, made from what seemed like Bramley apples or else just plain odd. Still, variety is the spice of life, so they say!

My first candidate for review from GBBF is the Dunkerton's Cider. I am not sure if this is Black Fox or (more likely) their Old Fashioned Still Cider. It was rated as a Medium Dry cider and cameout nicely hazy - even cloudy.

The sweetness in this cider was definitely present but not exactly intrusive by any measure. It is a cider that is packed with fruit and had a great mild tannin that ran through from the smell to the aftertaste. There wasn't a whole heap of acid either, which did make the cider a little biased to the tannin. Saying that, all this did was to give the cider a deep Herefordshire character (well, Dunkertons are from Herefordshire eh!).

A good, mellow cider which is very drinkable - unfortunately there is far too much here to try so I won't be buying another. Recommended.

As an afterthought, I would say that Dunkerton's really are masters of cider making, and this is a bit of a safe, reliable starting point... no, the cider itself isn't 'safe' - its just that every time I have ever had a Dunkertons it has never once disappointed me.

A score of 84/100. A silver apple. A great start!

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