The appeal of two of the UK’s traditional drinks is set to swell attendance at the biggest beer and cider festival in the North this month.
Cider and its pear-based cousin, perry, has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in recent years. It has suffered from an negative image driven by cheap industrial namesakes, but real cider and perry have always been traditional products made naturally from selected varieties of apples and pears.
The natural yeasts from freshly-pressed apples or pears ferments the juices, producing alcohol and CO2 and are matured in barrels before being released to enjoy. Real cider and perry are never carbonated or pasteurised, a status they share with real ale. But unlike their beer counterpart, cider and perry production is dependent on the seasons, with October the busiest month.
Now one of the largest selections of cider and perry ever assembled will be available for drinkers to savour at Manchester Beer and Cider Festival, held in the cavernous hall of Manchester Central.
The festival has grown consistently and for 2017 will offer 30% more floorspace – and more seating – than ever before. It is organised by the combined expertise of the eight Greater Manchester CAMRA branches. Offering nineteen separate bars, it has become an essential entry in most beer and cider lovers’ calendars.
Among the treats in store are the current national silver medal Dunkerton’s cider from Herefordshire at 7% ABV. Many ciders are considerably stronger than ales, with Green Valley’s Rum Tiddly Tum from Devon eclipsing this at 7.5%. But there are also less alcoholic fruit ciders available, including Celtic Marches’ Raspberry from Bishops Frome and Hogan’s Elderflower from Warwickshire (both 4%) . Making a welcome return to the festival is the national gold medalist Two Trees Perry from Gwynt Y Ddraig in Pontypridd, Glamorgan.
Cider bar manager Mike Robinson said: “The traditional cider counties of Devon, Somerset and Herefordshire have been joined by enthusiastic producers across England and Wales. We’ll have ciders from across Great Britain including seven ciders made right here in Greater Manchester, together with the greatest selection of northern ciders on sale anywhere.
“Our perrys are a world away from the dubiously-named ‘pear ciders’ you may see on supermarket shelves. I’d encourage all festivalgoers to sample the excellent examples and maybe we’ll convert a few ale aficionados to apples and pears!”
Manchester Beer and Cider Festival runs from Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st January 2017. General entry tickets are available from www.mancbeerfest.uk
The full list of cider and perries ordered is here: mancbeerfest.uk/beers-ciders/cider-perry-2017/