Wednesday 15 August 2012
Naish's Dry Cider
Staying in London, my colleague from work and I moved on from the Bree Louise (may I recommend this pub one last time - it really is fantastic!). Just up the road nearer to Euston Station you will find the tiny Euston Cider Tap. And I have to say the choice was somewhat more limited than my previous visit. There was one cider that I wanted to try though - another first for me... and I managed to persuade my colleague to join me in a glass of Naish's. I don't know - nearly 200 ciders down and there are still some very significant cidermakers not yet tried!!!)
Frank Naish is known as the UK's oldest cider maker and some report him to be the worlds oldest cidermaker. Still producing cider in his 80's, he does have some help these days - although he made cider with his late brother, Harold, up to 2005. This isn't the most interesting fact about Naish though (you can easily Google Frank Naish to read up on him) - I find the most interesting fact simply that he never saw the need to move away from traditional methods of producing cider. OK, you won't find his cider in Tesco's or Asda... in fact, it can be a bit tricky to get hold of. Its that you can resist the temptation to cut corners or compromise on producing a decent, honest cider.
So, whilst I will not indulge in the weirdness it is to try another well known cider for the first time in London, I will mention that whilst in the 'Tap' I met another cider maker - this one from Wales! So the capitals cider pubs do get a varied clientele!
OK. On to the cider. Its (guess what) golden but a little clearer than I had expected. I will give it the benefit of thinking that it isnt filtered and just dropped clear but you could be forgiven for thinking it had touched a filter on its way to the bag in box. For a flat cider, its aroma is fruity and strong.
Now, it you have one of Naish's dry ciders in front of you for the first time, brace yourself. This cider is dead dry. The fruit in it is incredible though - rounded and full in a kind of 'smack you in the face' kind of way. The tannins are harsh and full - like a cold cup of tea, and the acid is sharp behind it.If I am not very much mistaken, I reckon there is a stack of Kingston Black in here. Its only KB that has given me this experience before now - full on tannin with an acidic kick.
Don't read any of this as a negative. It has character by the bucket and a long aftertaste that is fruity and tannic. Its by no means a session cider (well, not least due to its strength) but if you sit back and take your time with it its well worth it. My drinking buddy for the evening used the words 'bloody hell' - not words I often hear from him to be honest! I very much doubt if this is a cider I would have appreciated even five years ago, but its one that is complex and layered beneath its harsh and aggressive appearance.
So, a score of 84/100 grants Naish a silver apple. Nice.