Saturday, 12 April 2014

May I Draw Your Attention To... May!

The joyous season of spring is finally with us here at Rockingham Forest Cider. Dark and chilly winter nights are giving way to the longer warmer days of spring, and with it pubs and clubs everywhere are breaking Beer & Cider Festival bud, with bibulous blossom time predicted any day now. A joyous time indeed.

Of course all cidermakers know that the fruits of their Autumn labour won't be ready to drink until the first Cuckoo has been heard a-calling. Old cider-wives law to be sure, but it's been quite an accurate gauge for us here in the Welland Valley. Perhaps not surprising given that the kind of winter we've had, and the progress of more spring-like weather has a direct influence on both our fermentations and feathery migration patterns. It's cidery science really.

Anyway, the fact is that whilst there's been plenty of 'cooking' in the household, and the Pigeons are forever 'cooing', the two combined have yet to be heard in the valley. We have had reports of Cuckoo calls elsewhere though, and are that Cuckoos everywhere will be doing what they do best before the month is out. Karen has a wooden Cuckoo clock primed and ready just in case though...

Beer & Cider Festivals we're supplying in the near future can be found listed on the right hand side of this blog, but here's some more information to get you in the spring festival mood.

The Walcote Beer Festival is being held at the Misterton & Walcote Memorial Hall over the bank holiday weekend. Walcote village has lost both of its pubs in recent years, the fondly remembered Black Horse, famed for authentic Thai food and local ales, as well as the Tavern Inn, home to the local skittles game. So this event will act as a kind of pop-up pub for villagers, and a well though out community event it appears to be.

We'll be supplying our own cider and perry, as well as a couple of ciders from our friends at Hogans Cider in Warwickshire.

The South Notts Real Ale Festival takes place at the Nottingham Moderns Rugby Club over the bank holiday weekend. I visited this festival last year and found it a very well run event, full to bursting with good local ales selected with help from the local CAMRA branch. Our friends in the north at Torkard Cider have sourced the ciders for this festival, and a box of our Green Horse Perry will be travelling to Nottingham c/o our friends at the Bottle Kicking Cider Co who are both also supplying cider and perry.

The Malt Shovel have held a beer festival over the May bank holiday weekend for several years now. Located a stones throw from the massive Carlsberg lager factory, the Malt Shovel has been reminding folk what beer should taste like since the early days of the real ale revival. It's also a great place to go to see what beer and brewing used to look like, the bar crammed with vintage breweriana, including items from the recently resurrected, and nearby Phipps Brewery.

We'll be supplying cider and perry to the festival, and I don't doubt there will be other local ciders available too.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Green Horse Perry - Orchard to Glass

Leicester CAMRA Beer Festival, 12th - 15th March. Other perries, ciders and beers also available.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Ciderhouse News - March 2014

March is traditionally the month when cidermakers get all twitchy and restless ahead of the new cider-selling season. Signs of Spring in the garden signal the return of migratory cider drinkers, heralded by the cheep and chirp of e-mail requests for our new-season ciders and perries. Cider twitchers need wait only a few days more for the official start of the Spring cider season. March 12th to be precise, because that's the opening afternoon of the 2014 Leicester CAMRA Beer Festival, a festival renowned for it's ciders and perries. And beers.

News just in of a few micro-changes to the cider bar listing, so here they are:

In: Ross Perry, Wilcox Cider

Out: Barbourne Perry, Swallowfield Cider

Shaken All About: Green Valley Rum Cask is now Farmhouse Medium, the Gwatkin cider is a single variety Stoke Red, and the Once Upon a Tree cider is their Tumpy Ground.

In other news, our 2012 Rockingham Forest Sloe Gin was awarded 'Null Points' in the Great Easton Sloe Gin (& others) competition. The competition, a revival of long-standing village event, was held at the recently revived and re-opened Sun Inn. The judges had a tough job, with something like 30 entries to sip their way through, including the 'other' class which was won by a very moreish Marmalade concoction which we're definitely going to try ourselves. A bottle of our new season Rockingham Forest Slider was also available for tasting, which if we're honest was a good deal better than our Sloe Gin! Must try harder next year.

...and finally. Here's a recipe that's as easy to make as opening a Dairylea Cheese Triangle and spreading it on a piece of white-sliced.

Take 1 Juicy fridge-ripened Camembert, make a few gouges on the surface and insert thin slivers of garlic. Pour on some cider, we used some delicious Dunkertons Breakwell's Seedling, or if feeling particularly indulgent, Cider Brandy. Pop the lid on and bake until gooey and dippable. Crusty bread for dipping is all that's required.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Leicester Beer Festival 2014 - The Cider & Perry List

East Midlands/Local Producers:

Bottle Kicking Hallaton leicestershire
Scrummage 6.5%
Scrambler    7%
Charnwood Cider Bradgate Leicestershire 
vintage dry 6%
medium    6.6%
Farmer Fear Mountsorrel Leicestershire
Thirsty Farmer dry 5.5%
Thirsty Farmer medium 5.5%
Rockingham Forest Middleton Northamptonshire
Green horse perry 4.5%
Red Kite Cider 7.9%
Torkard Hucknall Nottinghamshire
Floppy Tabs cider  7%   

...and The Rest:

Abrahall Bishop’s Frome Herefordshire
dry cider 6.5%
Barbourne  Worcester,Worcestershire
cider 6.3%
perry 6.5%
Barkers Hallow, Worcestershire
cider tbc
Brimblecombe Dunsford Devon
cider  6%
Cadogan Awre Gloucestershire
Green Valley Clyst St George Devon
rum cask cider 8.4%
Gwatkin Abbey Dore Herefordshire
cider 7.5%
perry 7.5%
Gwynt y Ddraig Pontypridd Glamorgan
Black Dragon medium cider 7.2%
Dog Dancer medium dry cider  6.5%
Pyder 6%
Two Trees perry 4.5 %
Hecks Street Somerset
cider tbc
SV cider tbc
perry tbc
Old Monty Montgomery Powys
cider tbc
Oliver’s Ocle Pychard Herefordshire
medium cider 6.5%
perry 6.5%
Once Upon a Tree Ledbury Herefordshire
cider 6%
Orchard’s Brockweir Gloucestershire
cider 6.5%
Ostlers  Barnstaple Devon
cider 6%
Sarah’s Ledbury Herefordshire
cider 6%
Swallowfield Ross on Wye herefordshire
Wonky Donky cider 6%
Tricky Taunton Somerset
cider 6.5%
Westcroft Burnham on sea Somerset
Janet’s Jungle juice 6%
Wilkins Wedmore Somerset
cider 6%
Yarde Stoke Gabriel Devon
cider 6%

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cider in Leicester - A Pub Guide (Revised 2014 Edition)

Even though no license fee is required for viewing this blog (as if we could actually charge for this rubbish!), we still feel duty bound to deliver the occasional public service broadcast. It's been a while since we fulfilled this weighty obligation, March 2010 to be precise.

So with literally thousands of thirsty customers flocking into the city for the annual Leicester CAMRA Beer Festival (half a dozen of which are known to occasionally read this blog), I felt it was high time I revisited my magnum opus, the reasonably well-received Cider in Leicester - A Pub Guide. So here it is.

This list is probably best used in conjunction with a few halves at the superb Leicester Beer Festival Cider Bar, and is best viewed using the 'entirely-free-to-download' Leicester Real Ale Trail glossy leaflet add-on-with-map doohickey.

Please note:  This is not a campaigning blog and I therefore make no judgement on the quality of any of the ciders mentioned, some of which will inevitably not meet everyones criteria with regard to being 'real' or 'traditional'. Also note that this list represents my own knowledge of the current cider scene in Leicester, broadly encompassing an easily walkable area from the beer festival site up to the rail station. If I've inadvertently omitted any pubs, or the information has in any way become inaccurate or obsolete subsequently, I apologise in advance. I'd had a bit to drink you see...

  • Ale Wagon, Rutland St/Charles St, LE1 1RE - Traditional corner local close to the rail station. Wide range of ales, and a house cider from a large Somerset producer
  • Barley Mow, Granby St, LE1 6FB - Recent Everards Brewery refurbishment close to the rail station. Guest cider(s) from Everards range*
  • Black Horse, Foxon St/Braunstone Gt, LE3 5LT - Lovely interior to this two room Everards Brewery pub, which received a sensitive refurbishment quite recently. Guest cider from Everards range*, though usually this is Westons Old Rosie
  • Criterion Freehouse, 44 Millstone Lane, LE1 5JN (0116 2625418) - Pioneering Leicester ale and cider house, with the added bonus of regular live music, beer and cider festivals, fabulous pizza, and all-round city-centre grooviness. Occasional outlet for our own cider or perry (hopefully the case during the festival weekend), but always something interesting on the dedicated guest cider handpump, plus usually another draught cider or perry from the cellar.
  • The Globe, Silver St, LE1 5EU - Everards Brewery ale house in the very centre of town, now featuring a couple of guest ciders from the brewery range*
  • High Cross, High St, LE1 4JB - The only Wetherspoon in the city centre which regularly features real cider. Usually two available, often GwyntY-Ddraig or Westons, but occasionally something more unusual
  • King Richard III, Highcross St, LE1 4NN - One of Leicesters great unspoilt locals, close to the Highcross shopping disaster. Everards ales, and a guest cider from the brewery range*
  • Kings Head, King St, LE1 6RL - A proper local in the town, and a rare outlet for Black Country Ales in addition to numerous guest beers. Guest ciders from larger regional producers such as Gwynt-Y-Ddraig or Sandford Orchards
  • Polar Bear, Oxford St, LE1 5XW - Recently improved beer range at this 'Scream' pub included a Westons Cider on a recent visit
  • Rutland & Derby, Millstone La, LE1 5JN - Smartly refurbished with a strong emphasis on food. Guest cider from the Everards Brewery range*
  • Salmon, Butt La, LE1 4QA - Smart but traditional ale house near the main bus station.Popular with both beer enthusiasts and rugby fans. Usually two guest ciders from the cellar, often from regionals such as Gwynt-Y-Ddraig, or occasionally smaller local producers including Charnwood
  • Sir Robert Peel, Jarrom St, LE2 7DD - Recently refurbished Everards ale house, close to the rugby and football grounds. Two guest ciders, often from smaller producers, including those from the brewery range*
  • Swan & Rushes, Oxford St/Infirmary Sq, LE1 5WR - Home of Leicesters original Cider & Cheese Festival, the Swan is a noted beer enthusiasts venue close to the rugby and football grounds. The guest cider was from Orchard Pig when I visited recently, bottled Thirsty Farmer Cider also available
  • The Tudor, Tudor Rd, LE3 5HT - Another recent Everards Brewery refurbishment, sensitively done and retaining the two-room traditional layout of this backstreet local. A guest cider from the brewery range is usually available*
  • The Western, Western Rd, LE3 0GA - Steamin' Billy pub which usually features a couple of draught ciders. Bottles of local Thirsty Farmer Cider are also available
* = Everards supply a range of ciders to their estate, including regional and national brands from Hogan's and Westons for example, as well as some local Leicestershire producers such as Bottle Kicking and Thirsty Farmer.