Monday 8 April 2013

Allen Old Style Dry Cider

My first beer and cider festival of the year, Winchester is always a chance to meet up with friends and hopefully get some ciders sampled in a lovely setting. Last year, we went on Saturday which was a mistake - they had sold all the good stuff and had been restocked with Mr Whiteheads lesser ciders (such as blackberry rubbish and strawberry cocktail). So, this year we opted for the Friday - and the next 6 reviews are the result of that!

I do hope to do a few more festivals this year. This is not least because its not a bad place to get to grips with some of the more obscure ciders that are not always found in bottles. I think its more of an 'event' trying draught ciders anyway. Each barrel is going to be slightly different (more/less matured, better/worse condition) - in bottle it is so much easier to control. Having said that, for reviewing purposes this can cause a challenge in that what I try at a festival may be at odds to when others try it at a different festival. NOT that I am complaining. This is to be celebrated: it is unique and individual - the craft at its most traditional!

My first cider of the session was chosen simply because the bar man said it was his favourite. Having just heard a justification as to why yet another CAMRA festival was selling Strawberry cider (and why this was OK and the CAMRA definition was wrong) I figured I would take the risk and have a go.

The photograph above doesn't really do justice to this cider, which came out almost green in colour. I have no idea why this should be so... it cannot be copper or brass, as I would expect the cider to be black - and it didn't taste metallic in any case. However, it was a little odd! Just a cheeky thought - perhaps it was made from green apples... just one for all those PR fools out there:-)

All I can find out about Allen Cider is that it is made in Gloucestershire... which is pretty much what is on the bag in box in the photo. It is somewhat encouraging that even now not all cider makers see the internet as a useful marketing tool:-)

It has quite a light smell, as is common with ciders that are still and also draught. However, what I get off it is fruity and pleasant.The tastebacks this fruitiness up. It has a full bodied tannin which is lovely, though not that drying. It is a dry cider - well, off dry I reckon, with a balanced acid and a slight earthiness going on. Its well done - albeit for the green hue it has in the glass (still have no idea why!)

The aftertaste is moderate in length and yummy. As a dry cider, its aftertaste is slightly drying the tongue, but no fear... I soon had the next sip!  I like this cider, and wish I had spent more time writing things about it to describe it properly. It is well worth a try if you see it and, with a score of 75/100 earns Allen a bronze award

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