Friday 30 December 2011
I like small cider producers. They are not tied to the strings of efficiency or wrestle with the problems of economies of scale like so many of the larger producers. On the other side, they don't often have access to the kind of kit and skill set that many larger producers do. This so often comes through in the individual and sometimes variable tastes and textures of the cider.
Craft cider producers (as I think they should be called - lets save 'artisan' for the professional and larger producers) are a neat bunch of folk who have many opinions and practices; from pressing through straw to even washing apples in bleach for fear of bugs (hmmm - I doubt many do either of these things). Not all craft ciders are for sale - I suspect only a fraction actually make enough, but you can measure their production in the hundreds and thousands of litres rather than hundreds of thousands! Often these are hobby makers who are turning to commercial production to fund the passion or even are starting out to bigger things.
Browsing through such resources as the Cider Workshop - a forum for small producers (mainly), these makers have as many questions as the larger producers but without the network or experienced personnel to obtain answers. The Workshop is like a window into the cider makers world - and probably of interest to hardcore drinkers as well. Well worth a visit!
So, drawing myself back off the tangent I have written myself into, Severn Cider from... well... Severn Cider kind of fits into the craft cider ethos. Its full juice and dry. Looking at their website my guess is that the company is perhaps into the tens of thousands, but by no means a Thatchers of Sheppy's.
I ought to mention the bottle, as it has been drawn especially for them - a striking depiction of where abouts they are and what they are about. It even has May Hill in the background. Reminds me of a Levellers album cover.
When it is poured the aroma is very tangy - there is clearly a lot of bittersweet going on in here. A nice low fizz lingers too, although it is really a very bright and clear cider.
As expected, the taste is very fruity with some unusual bittersweets going on in there... Actually, thinking about it, it's probably the bittersharp flavours and it has a nice acid background which lifts the drink. Saying that, its not particularly dry in the mouth - the tannins are mild and the acid mellow. I would say it tastes more medium dry in fact. I doubt its been sweetened though, its probably the battle between the tannin and acid (and the bubbles).
I don't think this a particularly balanced cider - well, not balanced in the commercial sense of cider. It all works really well though and, quite frankly, I don't care if its not balanced - its delicious!
The aftertaste is moderate (along with the rest of the drink). Not too long but very nice whilst it lasts.
Considering my friend spreading their wings into traditional ciders (which I haven't for a while), I would think this cider is a bit of a challenge for them. Not because its too dry, but because it really does taste like a crafted product that doesn't strive to be like all the others. Maybe I'd keep this one for myself:-)
A score of 84/100 and a silver apple. Happy New Year everyone!