Somerset, in the heart of the green and lush West Country is at the very core of the English cider making scene, producing some of the finest and oldest ciders in the world. Steeped in history, heritage and magic, there is nothing like a full juice, tannic pint of cold Somerset cider.
This famous cider-making county is known for its bittersweet apples, creating traditional, bold and complex flavours. In Somerset you are really spoilt for choice with an amazing array of producers, many with famous recipes that have been passed down for generations, so you really can pick whatever your taste buds fancy.
Here are 12 of our favourite that are producing incredible Somerset ciders.
1. Perry's Cider
Located in Dowlish Wake, this award-winning cider farm in Somerset offers spectacular views that you can soak up while enjoying a bottle of any of their fresh ciders. Perry's Cider has been around for nearly a century and is now one of the UK's most iconic brands. Their ciders are unfiltered thanks to the highest quality bittersweet and bittersharp apples that are grown in their own orchards and in local Somerset farms. They have always focused on quality, something that can be experienced in any of their ten ciders on offer. From seasonals and apple juice to single varieties and their core ciders - they're all a great pick. Bonus: they also have a small museum in a 16th century thatched cider barn, similar to the one where the company started.
Top Cider Somerset Cider Pick: Puffin Cider.
This full bodied dry cider is one of their core ciders. It is naturally conditioned in the bottle and full of flavour. It's been one of the highest rated ciders on crafty nectar cider subscription for a long time!
2. Burrow Hill Cider
Started over 150 years ago and located in the beautiful Burrow Hill in Somerset, this cidery is one of the oldest ones in the UK. In fact, they were granted the UK's first ever cider distilling license. Their setup is spread over 180 acres of apple orchards. They use over forty varieties of cider apples to produce various beverages ranging from cider, cider brandy, aperitif, and more. They are also known for their unique way of producing cider. They freeze a secret blend of apple juice and remove the ice and then ferment the ice cider in small oak barrels. And at 11.5% abv, it packs quite a punch!
Top Somerset Cider Pick: Burrow Hill Cider Bus.
This is a medium dry cider and has been served at Glastonbury Festival for many years. Well rounded, full on apple and a dry tannic finish. Forget Brothers, this is the perfect festival cider.
3. Pilton Cider
Pilton are artisan producers making whole juice sparkling cider by the old English method of keeving. Apples are collected from traditional cider orchards in and around the parish of Pilton and slowly fermented for six months in their cool Victorian cellar before bottling.
Top Somerset Cider Pick: Pilton.
This is their original keeved cider, made since 2010. They use fresh bittersweet cider apples, which are partially fermented to produce a naturally medium cider without sweetening or pasteurisation. We find it really light and refreshing, and it tastes amazing cold.
4. Taunton Cider Co
Taunton Cider co have been producing cider for nearly a century, making them one of the oldest cider brands in the country. They specialise in Somerset cider and mix ancient cider-making traditions with modern techniques of the masterful Bob Chaplin. The apples are locally sourced Yarlington Mill, Dabinett, and Harry Master Jersey. While you can choose a bottle depending on how Dry or Sweet you like your cider, we feel that their ciders are generally on the sweeter side, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Top Somerset Cider Pick: Taunton Original
The ciderexplorer, a cider blogger, described the Taunton Original as "quite a decent cider, with a very pleasant nose and good palate". Many cider lovers will know that The Taunton Cider Company went under recently, but they set up shop again and have made quite a comeback since.
5. Heck's Cider
The Heck family has been making traditional cider since 1841 (that's six generations!) by using apples grown on the family's farm. Their cider is fermented in wooden barrels and sold draught from the wood. They are located in 9-11, Middle Leigh. Make sure to visit their farm shop while you're there - not only do they have a wide selection of their own produce, but they also sell home-made pickles, chutneys, marmalades, cheeses, etc.
Top Somerset Cider Pick: Kingston Black
Made from Kingston Black apples, which arose in Somerset in the late 19th century, this cider is classic in appearance, taste and strength. It is described by Heck as ‘copper coloured, rounded, almost velvety in texture and is full of flavour’, a really enjoyable still cider with fantastic history too!
6. Wilkins Cider
Land's End Farm, based in Mudgley, Wedmore, is the birthplace of Wilkins Cider. It was started in 1917 and is currently operated by Roger Wilkins. He and his family produce and sell traditional cider along with cheese (cheddar and stilton), and flagons. Visitors are free to drop by, or you can place an order via call - they deliver throughout Europe.
Top Somerset Cider Pick: Farmhouse.
Delicious traditional cider, and a perfect match with the delicious Somerset Stilton cheese also sold by Wilkins Cider.
7. Sheppy's Cider
The Sheppy's family has been producing award-winning cider for over 200 years. They combine traditional crafting skills with modern technology to make some of the best ciders that you will find in your local supermarket. Sheppy's House of Cider has a lot of activities for visitors, from tours and tasting sessions to orchard visits. They also host a Sheppyfest which has live music and other cider-related activities. You can also purchase their critically acclaimed Dry, Medium and Sweet ciders along with low-alcohol ciders depending on your preferences.
Top Cider Pick: 200 Special Edition Cider
This special edition bicentennial blend was created to mark the occasion of 200 years of Sheppy’s cider. And what a cider it is! Using home-grown traditional cider apple varieties, it embodies the family’s stewardship of their farm’s old orchards. It is full-flavoured, with some traditional tannin undertones.
8. Crossman's Cider
Located at Mayfield Farm in Hewish along the A370, Crossman's produces multi-award winning farmhouse cider. They are open on most days and also sell free range eggs, local produce, seasoned logs, and oak garden tubs. If you can't visit them, you can still order Dry, Medium & Sweet cider from their website (delivery throughout the U.K.)
Top Somerset Cider Pick: Crossmans Somerset Cider, Medium
This was Winner of the Fuelled By Cider – BS5 Cider Festival 2015 “Best Medium Cider People’s Choice Award”. This traditional cider is made with bitter sweet apples and it is very classic in taste.
9. Worley's Cider
This iconic brand was started when Neil Worley experimented with apple varieties and blends. He initially bought apple juice and now press their own from apples sourced from local orchards in Somerset. Unlike some other producers, Worley's prime focus has always been on the fruit - they do not use additional flavourings but instead, rely on their unique apple blends for flavour. Worley's has grown a lot over the years and also export their classic cider to countries such as Canada, USA, and even Hong Kong!
Top Cider Pick: Worleys Special Reserve
This medium keeved English cider is made from 100% pure cider apple juice on the Worleys cider farm in Somerset. It is naturally sparkling with fruity, sweet, rounded and caramel notes.
10. Harry's Cider
This cider brand is run by Harry, an award-winning cidermaker who produces single variety and farmhouse ciders. All ciders by Harry's Cider are made from 100% cider fruit (grown in their own family-owned orchard) and are available in a wide range of flavours. The cider brand produces dry, medium and sweet drinks using a variety of apples including Harry Masters Jersey, Dabinett and more.
Top Cider Pick: Harry's "Scrummage"
Srummage was recently crowned the best cider in Britain at CAMRA's Cider and Perry Championships. It was chosen for its taste, aroma, flavour, and overall appeal. It is fan-favourite thanks to fresh and fruity flavour and that beautiful golden colour - all of which makes this a great medium cider.
11. Ganley and Nash
Ganley and Naish started off as two friends making a drop of cider in their back garden and has now grown to a 7000 litre a year operation. Ganley & Naish Dabinett, is a single-variety cider, made in the village of Kenn, North Somerset. The Dabinett variety is a classic bitter-sweet cider apple, native to Somerset. It has deep amber in colour with a strong, rich and spicy apple aroma.
Top Cider Pick: Dabinett SV
Lightly sparkling, this is a medium cider, with a full and satisfying apple flavour. There's some butteryness and a raisin-like finish, it's like drinking liquid apple strudel!
12. Hewletts Mill - Somerset Artisan Cider
Hewletts Mill is a historic converted watermill set in 7 acres of beautiful secluded grounds in the lovely Somerset countryside near the small market town of Castle Cary. The Mill itself dates back to 1780’s - there is even a mention of it in the Doomsday book!
The cider is about as local as you can get. Guy the head cider maker blends and very slowly ferments the juice from three carefully selected varieties of traditional local Somerset bittersweet cider apples; Yarlington Mill, Harry Masters Jersey and Dabinett. The varieties are selected for the complexity of flavour and character they bring to the cider, but local provenance is also an important factor creating this truly artisan cider with a subtle and modern sophistication that far removes it from everyone’s idea of old fashioned farmyard scrumpy.
Top Cider Pick: Stone Broke
Stone Broke 2018 Cider is light bright and refreshing with a lovely burst of crisp apple flavour and a very pleasing balance of sweetness, acidity and gentle tannin. Lots of warmth and sunshine in the summer of 2018 has resulted in a wonderful vintage…. Try it you will love it!
There you have it, then. These are the finest cideries in Somerset.
Whether you want to buy Somerset Cider from Crafty Nectar or you want to visit - these cideries and ciders will offer you an unparalleled experience.