Wednesday 11 April 2012

Lyne Down Kingston Black Cider

Moving back on to ciders that I bought from the excellent Bristol Cider Shop - and I am happy to report that barring one other 'medium' cider, the rest are labelled dry so I should have a few now to look forward to.

This one was a bit of a 'find'. I have tried Lyne Down cider before now when I stayed up near to Much Marcle. For those who are unfamiliar with that area, Much Marcle is the home to Westons cider - as well as a few other really good cider makers like Lyne Down and Greggs Pitt. Well worth the effort! (n.b. some really good driving roads round that neck of the wood too:-) Herefordshire is truly one of the homes of heritage English cider!

Whilst I am geographically digressing, near to Much Marcle is Putley, home to wonderful spring and autumn festival weekends where you can walk around orchards, listen to poetry and even sample some cider. Take a look at the Big Apple Association [] website for more information about that. I have been to the Springtime (they may actually call it 'Blossomtime', which makes it nicely relevant to apples and such) and there is plenty of cider and perry to go around!

Back to Lyne Down. This is a cidermaker with a big barn and a campsite out the back. And they have a funny story about 'the Lyne Down lady' who got passers by drunk and then had her wicked way with them... hence the lady on the front of the bottle. Its very modernly traditional:-)

The cider itself is a respectable 6.2%, and appears a dark golden colour through the bottle. Its also pretty bright, so I am guessing some of the harsher Kingston Black flavours are moderated... but I don't want to guess - I want to try it.

So, its quite sparkling. Moderately I would say. Shoving the glass up my nose, I have to say I get the deep bittersharp smell of Kingston Black well - although almost in a clinical way. I know I always mention smell; I suspect it becomes a bit of a bore to some degree, but it can be telling about a drink. OK, I don't do it generally if I am just drinking a cider (although I do much more these days). However, from the look and smell of this cider I would suggest that it has been bottled by a third party company - micro filtered, pasteurised and carbonated before bottling in a clean environment. Impressed? Well, hold judgement just yet as I have been wrong before!

OK, be impressed. I am fairly convinced I am right. But wait, this is not a bad thing. I would rather professionals bottle my cider than do it badly myself! The flavour, whilst cleaner than I would expect from KB, is still delicious. It has retained the deep but mild  bittersharp texture and flavour. I am enjoying it so much that I doubt anyone else is going to see much of this 750ml bottle:-) Kingston Black certainly does hold its own as a single variety for a cider - and this cider shows it off well.

I think it could have retained a fuller body and some of the rough edges that can make Kingston Black distinctive by easing off the filtering and processes. Mind you, this makes it a distinctive drink in its own right. A little more vineous - and the aftertaste is also a bit like that too. It has plenty of flavour to it though and the aftertaste lingers nicely.

A silver award for Lyne Down with a score of 82


  1. Hi there Cider pages,

    i am a young writer researching an article on Sussex brewed cider and perry and have come across your wonderful blog very early in my research. i would say that i have a knowledge of cider (IE i don't drink strongbow, magners or bulmers if I can help it) but am a rank amateur in comparison to you and your blog. i was wondering if you knew anything about the history of cider in sussex or any other kind of useful information I could use? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Keep up the good work!

    My email address is

    Kind regards and hope to hear from you soon

    Sam Coles-Rogers

    1. Sam,

      I think you may find Ted Brunings new book 'Golden Fire' useful in terms of history (although I have not read it yet). Its meant to be quite authoritative. There are some other resources available online. Andrew Lea's '' has a history section that may be of use to you.

      The prime company in Sussex of course is Merrydown (albeit that it is now a part of a conclomerate and sadly a commodity product). My first call would be to Gospel Green though - an excellent producer found in Sussex. If they don't know the history of cider in Sussex then no-one will!

      One thing - a request mostly - when you write up your article please don't say 'brewing' cider... you make cider, you don't brew it. So many articles say 'brewing' and its really frustrating and confusing... remember: make/produce cider, brew beer!!

      All the best with the article