The Cider Critic Reveals His First Cider Love

This is my first blog post for Crafty Nectar and in the spirit of beginnings it felt only right that I should talk about where it all started for me, where my love affair with ‘Real Cider’ began. It was a holiday in sunny Somerset back in 2012, where a friend took me to Perry’s in a lovely little village called Dowlish Wake.


Unassuming from the outside, but round the corner to the right opens up into a courtyard of real cider paradise.

Perry’s have been making cider since 1920, so they know a thing or two about it. I believe they are on their fourth generation of cider makers. That being said, in the 6 years I’ve been visiting and drinking their ciders there have been changes: new cider additions and new fantastic labels (in collaboration with Tom Frost) to name a couple. Some change is inevitable, no harvest is the same and one year’s cider will taste different to the others, even if it is a single variety from the same orchard, there are so many factors that influence the final product. If anything though for Perry’s the taste of their cider has improved, which is a hard thing to do, given how wonderful it tasted on my first sample 6 years ago.

Their current range is quite extensive from several single varieties, to bottle conditioned blends and a vintage and I’d encourage everyone to try them all and find a favourite. There really is something for everyone, sweet, medium, dry and everything in-between. Check out their website for an informative look into their ciders and how they make them (www.perryscider.co.uk).  But for this blog I wanted to focus on one of their Single Variety Ciders; the Redstreak.  


An impressive range and look at those labels…Redstreak (Stag Beetle) on the far right.

Now this cider has won many awards, including: Great Taste Award Golds in 2009 and 2016 as well as Taste of the West awards; Gold in 2009, Silver in 2010 and Gold in 2017. Perry’s describe it as a “wonderfully refreshing and crisp medium cider, with a full apple taste and a lingering finish” and I cannot disagree. As I sit sipping a bottle at the first sign of sunshine in spring 2018, I feel transported back to Dowlish Wake on a sunny day sat on the outdoor seating of their café with a fantastic cream tea. At 6.1% abv it is pushing on the door into slightly dry territory but it’s a very subtle dryness that only comes through in the finish and adds to the complexity of it. The overwhelming crispness of fresh apples dominates the taste and I have to admit I could happily drink nothing else but this cider any day.

Lovely amber colour and slightly cloudy with very light carbonation…thirsty yet?

Perry’s say that their Redstreak apples are grown exclusively in their Knowle St Giles Orchard, but I have heard that Burrow Hill (Somerset Cider brandy) also supply some Redstreak apples to them. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing if it’s true, more apples means more cider and if you know your producers, Burrow Hill is another big hitter when it comes to history, skill and fantastic ciders. Either way the result is magnificent and shows what small batch techniques, wild yeast and 100% juice can create.

I’ll finish with the news that Perry’s Redstreak is in this month’s Somerset Subscription Box from Crafty Nectar, so if you haven’t already, get your order in so you can taste one of the finest ciders Somerset has to offer.

 

James Finch

Twitter: @TheCiderCritic

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