This week I’m reviewing two creations from Kentish Pip in Canterbury. Why two you may ask? Well firstly for the obvious reason that they’re from the same producer so it made sense, but also because they’re in 330 ml cans and one just wasn’t enough.
Now Canterbury is not typical cider-making country, but the Mount family have been growing apples at Woolton Farm for four generations, so they know a thing or two about fruit. It’s not all cider apples though, they also grow dessert and culinary varieties, all of which go into their ciders, making for quite an assortment. They use 100% juice, no concentrates, and traditional methods of pressing, fermenting over winter and then maturing all in their own single varieties. They then use some expert skill to blend and create their finished ciders. The blending means that they are able to account for and manage the differences they experience from year to year and create consistently high quality ciders.
Before I open either I have to mention the design of the cans. The vintage design, colours used and rough texture to the can wrap adds a sense of quality and craftsmanship before you’ve even tasted what’s inside. I especially like the Kingfisher diving for the apple on the ‘High Diver’.
First open is the High Diver which is described as a “refreshing, crisp sparkling cider”. It’s blended from Cox and Bramley apples, so dessert and culinary varieties. Initial scent is of crisp apple, like I’ve just taken a bite and can smell the juice, then you get a sweetness from it. The taste starts of as mildly acidic, then the light fizz starts to come through with a bit more acidity. Finally you’re left with the taste of sweet Bramley, which is almost juice-like. This is a very light cider, which almost doesn’t taste alcoholic. It has very light carbonation and when poured has an almost pinkish hue to its yellow golden colour.
Second is the Wild Summer sparkling elderflower cider which is described as “a zingy uplifting drink not too sweet and led by the subtle but unmistakable taste of real elderflower.” It’s infused with pollen and nectar from wild elderflowers picked on Woolton Farm and the surrounding countryside. Pouring into the glass I immediately notice there is more fizz, which takes quite a while to dissipate and it has a rose gold tinge to its colour. The smell is really sweet with a strong fruity elderflower scent. The initial taste is mainly crisp fizz, which is then followed by light acidity, finally finishing with those unmistakable sweet fruity and floral notes of elderflower.
I’ve tried many elderflower ciders before and in many cases the balance can be quite off and the flavour overpowering and really acidic. Not so with Kentish Pip, this is a crisp and well-balanced summer drink.
With these two, Crafty Nectar are really showing off the breadth of variety available under the ‘Real Cider’ banner. They are certainly making a good job of destroying the myth that ‘Real Cider’ is all +7% scrumpy. So far I’ve reviewed blends, single varieties, Perry’s, flavoured cider; the expanse available today is really staggering and there’s more to come. So what do you do if like me, one can of a certain cider in your monthly box is not enough?? Well fortunately you can ‘build your own’ mixed case of 6 or 12 of your favourites. So what are you waiting for….
James Finch @thecidercritic