Cider is pressed and fermented apple juice. The apples are crushed, and then pressed to extract the juice, which is then stored in barrels for several months to ferment. In the Eastern counties eating and cooking apples are normally used; in the West, it’s more common to use special cider apples, which have more tannin. Try a Kentish or Norfolk cider, then one from the West Country or 3 Shires, and taste the difference.
The traditional cider counties of Devon, Somerset and Herefordshire continue to produce top quality traditional ciders but over the last 20 years, new producers have started up across the country with traditional cider & perry now produced from Scotland to Kent and most areas in between.
Often a cider consists of a mixture of different apple varieties, pressed together; but some producers are able to obtain sufficient quantities of one particular apple to make a “single variety” cider: for example “Foxwhelp” is an apple variety, not a producer’s trade mark!
Cider’s sister-drink, perry, is made in exactly the same way, but from pears rather than apples.
How to choose
All the ciders and perries are different, with their own unique flavour and style. They range from fairly sweet, to very very dry; and may be naturally cloudy, or clear. But don’t worry if you are not sure what to have – our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you decide what to have – and even to provide a couple of “tasters” to help you make up your mind.
Cider and perry are much stronger than most beers, and can be deceptively easy drinking: take care!
To see the list of ciders & perries ordered for MBCF 2016, click here.
If you enjoy Cider and Perry you can also attend the Greater Manchester Cider & Perry Festival held annually in June – see www.manchesterciderfestival.co.uk for details.