Archive for the ‘Cider’ Category

February Welsh Drink of the Month – Blaengawney Cider: Hallets Real Cider (6.0%abv)

02/02/2014

Blaengawney Cider is based on the farm of the same name and is run by husband and wife team Andy and Annie Hallet. For a while draft cider and perry was the mainstay of the business but, relatively recently, they ventured into the bottled market.

Hallets brown hero_1080b

Rather than use the Blaengawney name they developed a new brand based on the family name. Hallets Real Cider was the name for the bottled cider and a stunning brand was developed.

It’s made using 100% Welsh apples and cider from the current harvest is blended with a Dabinett cider that has been matured for a year. The conditioning is natural and they employ the keeving method more common to French cider.

As usual, you can leave your comments here on the blog and/or …

Join in the live tweetasting on Wednesday 12 February between 9-10pm using #drinkswales

Welsh Drink of the Month – Gwynt y Ddraig: Gold Medal Cider (7.0%abv)

01/08/2013

Time for cider to get its turn in the Welsh Drink of the Month spotlight.

GwyntGoldMedalBottle

Gwynt y Ddraig is Wales’ biggest cidermaker and is at the forefront of the revival in Welsh cidermaking.

They are based in Llantwit Fardre and got going in 2001. They use apples mainly from Welsh orchards supplementing them with imports from Herefordshire and Somerset.

Gold Medal won the CAMRA Champion Cider award back in 2004 and is a blend of ‘bittersweet varieties with some of the true sharp varieties of cider apple. The cider is oak conditioned and is a medium cider.

Well, what do you make of the cider, leave your comments here on the blog and/or …

Join in the live tweetasting on Thursday 15 August between 9-10pm using #drinkswales

WELSH CIDER – BACK FROM THE DEAD

28/02/2013

In a few short years Wales has become renowned for the quality of its cider and perry. A truly remarkable achievement and is testimony to the passion and skill of Welsh cider and perry makers today.

Wales has a strong tradition of cider and perry making. This is especially true in Monmouthshire and Glamorgan. This would be expected as the former borders on one of England’s cider and perry powerhouses – the three counties region. (In case you are wondering, the three counties are Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire).

Before the Second World War cider-making in Wales was, in common with England, made on a small scale by farmers as part of their agricultural year. It was usually made for home consumption given to farm hands at harvest time. For an interesting insight see the Welsh Perry and Cider Society (WPCS) Heritage pages.

Changes in agriculture following the Second World War led to less diversification and small-scale farm cider-making went into serious decline. Unlike in neighbouring England, where a few small producers kept on going, it completely died out in Wales.

This makes the revival all the more amazing. It started in the 1980s with a couple of producers but really gathered pace in the late 1990s.

There are now over 30 cider and perry makers in Wales and, although the south naturally dominates, it has now spread all over Wales, though mainly cider as opposed to the rarer perry. Our best known producer is Gwynt y Ddraig which is quite easy to find across Wales and beyond. Some of the others are small-scale and will probably remain so but others have more ambition and one rising star is Blaengawney Cider especially their more recent bottled product Hallets Real Cider.

As Welsh perry and cider is broadly similar to that of the Three Counties, there has been a push to rediscover and use Welsh varieties of cider apple and perry pear to increase the distinctiveness of Welsh cider and perry. A lot of work has been done to identify these and some of the results can be seen here in the form of a Welsh Pomona.

What is also key to the growth of perry and cider making in Wales is the WPCS. It is the most effective producers’ body in the Welsh drinks industry and has the makings of a fully-fledged trade organisation if development were to continue. It organises the Welsh Perry and Cider Festival as well as training in orcharding and cider-making. It has a number of other exciting projects ongoing and has secured Welsh Government funding to take these forward. I hope to be able to report more on these in the future as they develop.

Wales is now a fully-fledged cider and perry making region and the home of some fantastic products. It really is amazing what has happened in such a short space of time. Welsh perry and cider is back and with a bang.