Monday, 20 February 2012

WM Watkins and Sons Oak Cider


I have already said that I have no intention of reviewing cider pubs or events on this blog. Its not the purpose of the blog. In the light of this, I have now encountered one of the newer 'cider experiences.

The 'Cider Tap', near Euston station, London, is worth mentioning as it is a positive and encouraging sign that real, artisan cider is gaining recognition. In a small bar opposite the 'Euston Tap' - a real ale alternative, I can only guess that the Taps are in old gatehouses for either the station or else some old estate. Measuring about 4m x 4m (although there are winding metal stairs up to a second level (not one for the drunk!), its a pocket sized gem in the middle of the capital - a place renowned for its lack of decent cider - with the exception perhaps New Forest Ciders stall at Borough Market:-)

This pub offers none of the usual suspects - although they have gone for the polypin - only ideal for cider if you plan on getting rid of it within a few days or want to store it for a long period (cider + air = bad cider). Bag in boxes may not look as traditional as a plastic tub (?!) but do the job far better. As if to prove this, one of the four ciders sold from polypins suffered from mouse (probably not due to the polypin itself) and a couple of the others were oxidised to degrees. Apart from the mouse (which the bar maid described as tasting like cheese!) none were undrinkable. Alternatively, there are perhaps half a dozen decent and interesting bottles to choose from (I bought a dry Orchard Pig to take home:-)

Enough about the place, this is meant to be about the cider.

WM Watkins are a welsh cider producer from near Abergavenny. Apart from knowing that they produce both cider and perry, and use whiskey barrels for some of it I cannot find much more than that. Well, you don't have to have a website, do you?!

The Oak Cider is cloudy, golden and still. Yum. It also smells of fruit, with a smokiness that suggests its well kept and matured. On tasting, it is a good fruity cider with plenty of untamed tannin within and little acid to counter it. Whilst it was pitched as a medium dry, I would think its more likely a dry from the taste (although this could just be the tannins). Its a nice, traditional drink with a long aftertaste that is light and fruity.

My money is that this cider is both unfiltered (obviously) and unpasteurised (it has been allowed to mature fully). However, its also a little oxidised too. I have to take it into account, although it's probably that it is sat in air in a polypin. Still, at least it doesn't taste of cheese:-) Talking of taste - I don't really get the oak too much. Sure, its a rounded flavour - maybe I just don't get it.

The score of 77/100 gives this a bronze apple. Its a good cider.


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