Toasting Christmas in with beer, cider, mead and more

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

If you’ve got a beer lover to shop for, or a cider lover, or just someone who likes a drink or two, then here’s some choices from me for the Christmas season:

 

Christmas drinking time: beer, cider, porter or mead

Working from left to right:

Perry’s Farm Pressed Medium Cider – ok, complete hands up moment. I bought this purely because I loved the label. What can I say? I have a thing for barn owls. But this is made using small batch techniques and wild yeast, and traditional apple types. And there are two other types with very nice labels in this range.

 

Hatherwood Craft Beer Company Winter Warmer – shows that craft beer has really arrived/gone mainstream when Lidl have worked with good people to create their own. This is a spiced dark beer, apparently has a smooth, dark, chocolate character. I am resisting opening this until Christmas, but at £1.49 a go then maybe I could.

 

Meantime Brewing Company London Porter (somewhat hidden) – this is a very large bottle by comparison, definitely pushing it into the great gift for a beer lover territory. There’s also a similar size bottle of the India Pale Ale, so the two together could be a really fantastic gift.

 

The Beer Kitchen Orange Peel Beer – this is an offshoot within Wadworth’s operations, so again a craft type operation within a much bigger brewer. I like it for being a little different but not just for the sake of it. Will work really well at this time of year, with its orange and citrus notes, not to mention some caramel sweetness. Sounds great to me. If you don’t want a whole case direct from the brewery, then I bought mine from Ocado.

 

Gosnells London Mead – something a bit different, I love the idea of this. Obviously this is an old school drink, but now brought bang up to date by the team at Gosnells. This is crisp and fresh, with the sweetness from the honey. Apparently it goes well with a cheeseboard, would make a nice, light change from port.

 

Aspall Premier Cru Cyder – love the description of this: full dry with a sophisticated and elegant floral aroma that captures the essence of an orchard. Hmm. But I am sure it’s fantastic, and I love their very precise food matching suggestions. Not just roast pork but roast pork, garlic and sage. It does say it goes well with rogan josh which might be a good thing to make with turkey leftovers.

If you’ve got a serious beer lover to buy for, then check out my review of Beer 52, as the offer code is still live so a bit of a bargain as a great gift for Christmas. We really enjoyed the selection they sent us, and it set us up well for a few weeks.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Homebrewing cider – a great starting point for beginners

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Get your homebrew cider off to a great start

 

Last year we went to a communal apple pressing at one of the local farms, which was a great village event. It also led to BFF’s fella going on to brew his own cider. With kind of mixed results.

There was an unfortunate clash of events, but we all thought it would have been a great idea for him to head off to the School of Artisan Food for the day, to experience their Introduction to Artisan Cider Making. If you’ve got someone with an equal taste for cider, the good news is that there are 3 different dates coming up, all with spaces on them currently.

I love that you get a combination of history and hands on stuff, and you can even take apples and pears for identifying, and possible pressing. Everything you need is there, and there’s an informal lunch provided too. Plus the course finishes in time for you to head into the farm shop to stock up on some great meat or cheese to go alongside your cider!

And should you not want to do cider making, then you could always get crafty with material at Hope and Elvis, also on the Welbeck Estate. Although not a great sewer and stitcher, I’ve had some very happy hours messing around with fabric in Louise’s studio, and highly recommend it!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

I am a cider drinker, I drinks it all…

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest

Time for cider drinking!

 

Actually, I’m really not a big cider drinker, associate it with too many hangovers in my misspent youth! But it does seem to be one of those things having a bit of a renaissance, perhaps a reaction to the Magners phenomenen. Which I’m told is not really cider at all.

So much of a renaissance going on that BFF’s fella is attempting to brew his own cider from windfall apples. I’ve suggested that she might like to book him onto the new Introduction to Artisan Cider Making day course at The School of Artisan Food up at Welbeck. Taught by Simon Reed, this is geared towards beginners and gives you a great start in making cider and perry. You get refreshments and a light lunch, plus all the knowledge, for just £95 for the day, which would seem money well spent to me for a new skill.

If you want to try some cider from small farmhouse producers, then try Cider Punk, who offer a variety of brews from small producers in Somerset and Herefordshire. There’s farmhouse cider, oak barrel aged cider, and even something called Janet’s Jungle Juice! Bristol Cider brings in producers from much further afield around the UK, including South Wales, Kent and Shropshire.

I didn’t know until I began looking into it that there’s a pretty local supplier to me, with Torkard Cider based at Hucknall in Nottinghamshire. Sounds like they have a great product, winning a number of CAMRA awards. and some great names, such as Floppy Tabs, 2 Bees and Sheep Wash. Or if you want to try the current “Champion Cider of Great Britain” then you need to be getting your hands on proper cider from Sandford Orchards with their Devon Scrumpy.

I thought that The Naked Guide to Cider looked like a great book to buy for a cider lover too. Not only does it give you instructions for making your own but also a guide to the top cider pubs around the UK. If you can wait a couple of months, there’s also a new book coming out called Making Craft Cider – A Ciderist’s Guide.

And just stay away from “cider” with ice in it! They won’t thank you for that.

Cider shot by mik_p on Flickr.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Facebooktwitterpinterest