Celebrating the increase of Uk’s craft beer and cider industry, an annual event, Craft Beer Rising took place last weekend in London on the 26th and 27th of February 2016 held at the Old Truman Brewery. With an estimated 8,000 people in attendance, this event has grown enormously from the 2,500 who attend the 2013 event launch.
Larger than ever before there were 150 breweries offering hundreds of different beers,plus an entire room dedicated to cider named ‘Lost in Cyder Space’ The event showcased some great British and foreign brands, allowing the opportunity to sample, and excitingly, try new brands or brews, some of which launched at the event! The event offered more than just beer and cider however, offering an incredible music line up, and a variety of worldwide street food an event that we recommend not be missed in the future.
We extensively explored the ‘Lost in Cyder Space’, sampling all there was to offer, straight from the brewers, and getting the scoop on the new launches.
With the event increasing in size year by year, it is no wonder that several brewers decided to launch new products at the event, we saw;
Angioletti is a premium sparkling Italian craft cider made from selected apples exclusively grown in the picturesque Italian dolomites. Their cider is unique in that it is made in the same way as prosecco, by the Italian Charmat Method in which the secondary fermentation take place in pressurised stainless steel tanks.
They offer delicate craft ciders, that make a refreshing alternative to champagne, one that’s worth a try for any celebration (if you need an excuse) Their Angioletti ‘Rosé with Blueberry’ sparkling Italian craft cider has fine bubbles; aromas of ripe forest fruits, followed by fresh apple flavours balanced by the rounded, juicy character of blueberry fruit, another unique take that is not to be missed.
Caple Rd Cider launch their all new Caple Rd Dry – Blend No5, for those that don’t know, Caple Rd Cider pride themselves on creating The UK’s first canned cider, produced with genuine craft credentials, made from Slowly fermented fresh pressed English apple juice – no concentrate to be found here! Produced in small batches and matured for up to 18 months in both oak and stainless steel vats, this new brew is really making an impact, with the great Pete Brown describing them as ‘the best of the mainstream ciders’ at the International Cider Challenge Awards.
Next up were staples of the cider world, Sheppys Cider, unveiling their 200th birthday treat for us all, an all new medium-sweet cider aptly named Old Conky, the nose-inspired nickname of the 19th-century prime minister and general, the first Duke of Wellington, who won the battle of waterloo 200 years ago not long before Sheppys was founded and whose title is taken from the Somerset town close to where Sheppy’s is made.
We also saw leading distributor Instill Drinks Co unveil a new range of ciders from different countries around the world. Presenting El Gaitero and Maeloc from Spain, Zeffer from New Zealand. Cidre Le Brun from France, and The Hills Cider Company from Australia.
El Gaitero is one of the most popular brands in Spain and we understand why.The El Gaitero Red Grape Sidra offers something different to the market, using a blend of apples with tempranillo grapes, often used in wine production, the result is a fresh acidic cider with a dry but fruity finish, comparable to a sweet wine.
The Zeffer Cider Co, is a brand from New Zealand, their Crisp Apple cider is crisp and refreshing with a light sparkle and a dry finish.
It is clear Instill’s have carefully selected their new range to reflect quality, originality and regional diversity, presenting a range of unique ciders that we thoroughly recommend to be sampled, giving you the opportunity to try ciders from around the world with ease.
It wasn’t just the new launches that caught our eye, here are just a few of the cider brands we got to sample.
Hogan’s Cider is one of a new breed of artisan cider maker that has placed itself firmly on the cider map with a fresh and distinctive approach to the age-old tradition of cider making. Their Elderflower cider is completely natural, with a delicate and fragrant aroma it features a subtle taste of elderflower, a nice twist on the their entirely apple ciders.
We also loved their Keeved cider, for those not in the know keeving is a traditional process with the aim to produce a naturally sweet conditioned sparkling cider by halting the fermentation before dryness, this process is often forgotten with today’s modern methods, but it well worth the effort as the end product should certainly be on the list of ones to try.
Hoxton Cidersmiths are a small, independent team of cider aficionados on a mission across land, sea and space in relentless pursuit to find the most unique, most inspiring and most interesting cider.
They handpick the finest cider-makers to blend the highest quality juices possible for a discerning audience with a thirst for life, they’re driven to make the world as enthusiastic about cider as they are. To create their benchmark range they’ve worked closely with renown Somerset cider maker David Sheppy to create three top notch craft-produced gems that are easy to drink and create a sort of standard or a level of expectation for our ciders.
One of their main three is a Cider that’s sure to blow your socks off, Sixpointsix (so called due to it 6.6%Vol), Using only the best apple to add even more depth of flavour and to emphasise the character these apples are first blended and then stored in massive oak vats, like an enormous cask. As with oak-aged wines, the cider takes on the creamy, vanilla tones of the cask it has been stored in. A cider to try as soon as you can as it was a winner for us at Craft Beer Rising 2016!
Thistly Cross cider presented a fine selection of their ciders on handpull and draught at Craft Beer Rising. Thistly cross is a Scottish producer, making delicious small-batch, long-matured ciders. Their Whisky Cask is one to try, matured in ex-Glen Moray (previously Glenglassaugh Distillery) whisky casks this is a dry & subtle cider, Infused with the mellow, vanilla oak of the cask.
Their Strawberry cider is also notable, with a smell that brings thoughts of Tiptree strawberry jam, you can instantly tell this is real fruit cider unlike commercial, artificial fruit ciders, it offers a hearty taste of strawberry and sweetness that isn’t overwhelming, a nice refreshing option.
Sea cider, A Cider producing duo from sussex creating the most amazing Eastern County style cider. Using apples have been rejected from the supermarket chains for being undercoloured, the wrong size, the wrong shape or “Weather Damaged”, Damage that does no harm to the fruit itself, but blemishes the skin. They are very proud to use apples that would otherwise go to waste, and it shows, their Medium cider comes in at 4.6% Vol, with the smell of apple crumble and the taste of a good crisp apple juice, not too sweet, not too dry, just right. If you can find it, try it, not one to miss!
Farmer Fear Cider is considered the original Nottinghamshire Cider and continues to be enjoyed by an ever growing number of people. They recently launched a range of herb infused ciders, offering a unique take on cider, not seen before. Presenting Rosemary, Basil, Tyme and Mint infused ciders, these are sure to be something you’ve not tried before, a great choice for those adventurous cider lovers. Their Mint infused cider offers a refreshing option, that we can’t wait to enjoy on a summer’s day.
The Craft Beer Rising event is certainly more than just sampling or drinking beer and ciders. Offering an incredible music line up on both days. Rob da Bank headlined Saturday evening, known as the man behind the massively successful ‘Bestival’, label owner of the Sunday Best Records and globetrotting DJ in his own right. As well as a long Island Records Takeover, Ross Allen, Don Letts, Showhawk, Pete Paphides, Prince Fatty & Mc Horseman, Boca 45 Presents 45 Live Ft Andy Smith & Coldcut playing across the weekend. The Vintage Mobile Disco also provided entertainment for the ‘Lost in Cyder Space’ room.
The event also featured a massive range of street food stalls, with food from across the world available from the USA, the Caribbean, India, Italy, Austria and Britain, all under one roof. The food selection almost matched the drinks, with the variety and amazing quality on offer.
The event was jampacked with live music, and impressive range of street food combined with the fantastic range of craft beer and cider it made for one truly fantastic event! One not to miss when it returns next year.