Our craft cider of the week featured in last month’s subscription box, with two of their ciders making an appearance (medium and russet single variety). Hand-selected by our experts, Turners is a brand we are keen for all of you to discover further.
Turners Cider is a family run business based in the Kent village of Marden. Producing a range of craft ciders in the ‘Eastern Counties’ style familiar to the area, i.e. ciders which are simply made using only dessert and cooking apples.
From humble beginnings, they first started making cider using the windfall from family and friends’ apple trees, along with picking from the wildlings around the woods and fields, using any varieties they were able to get ahold of. Nowadays, they use stainless steel vats to ferment the apples, which they now buy in by the tonne. However they have stuck to their roots by only using local apples and by relying upon help from friends and family during the pressing and bottling process.
They pride themselves on utilizing only local Kentish apples for all of their ciders. Selecting each type of apple for its flavor results in a range of clean, light, and refreshing ciders with a balance of sweetness and acidity. A more structured and deliberate approach than that of their early days.
All apples used are grown in the orchards around Marden, selected for their different characteristics. All handpicked in the autumn ready to be fermented over the winter months before blending in the spring.
Their unique offering of ‘Eastern counties’ style (only using eating and cooking apples and no bittersweet apples) was chosen due to the varieties of apples grown in Marden, as they wanted to create a truly local product. This decision is sometimes deemed controversial, with some claiming it is not a true cider as it doesn’t contain traditional cider apples. This does however mean it is light and refreshing, and at its best comparable to a good white wine. Allowing for a lighter alternative than West Country ciders.
Turners currently has six styles in production, giving them a range that will appeal to all cider drinkers. They select each type of apple for its flavour, using many traditional varieties like Cox, Worcester Pearmain, Bramley and Egremont Russet, along with more modern ones like Early Windsor and Gala. The result is a range of clean, light and refreshing ciders with a balance of sweetness and acidity.
Their dry cider comes in at 7% and is a blend of six varieties of Kentish dessert apples. Unpasteurised, unfiltered, uncarbonated, and unsweetened, this cider was Very Highly Commended at the British Cider Championships Royal Bath & West Show in 2015, so it’s not one to miss out on.
Next in line is their medium- dry cider again at 7%, a blend of six Kentish dessert apples, sugar- sweetened, sterile filtered and lightly carbonated, a nice compromise between the dry cider and the sweeter fullness of the medium cider.
Their medium cider at 6% is a blend of four Kentish dessert and culinary apples; back sweetened with their own fresh-pressed apple juice, pasteurised to preserve freshness but unfiltered allowing for fuller flavour. Sweetening it with fresh-pressed apple juice, rather than sugar or an artificial sweetener, adds a new dimension to this family brewed cider.
A twist on their more traditional ciders is their elderflower cider at 5.5%. Made from a Kentish apple and sweetened with a hand made elderflower syrup this cider offers something different. Pasteurised to preserve the quintessential taste of an English summer, this cider is light and refreshing, perfect chilled for those long summer evenings.
Their pear cider at 6.5% is a blend of dessert pears and a little Bramley apple juice to add acidity. This cider is naturally sweeter, offering an alternative to those not as fond of dry ciders, or just starting their cider adventure!
Their final offering is their Russet-Single variety cider at 8%. Made only from Kentish Russet apples — unsweetened, uncarbonated, unfiltered, and unpasteurised. This cider brings out the unique nutty flavour that the russet apples are renowned for, making it one for the seasoned cider drinker.
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One unique aspect of the Turners brand is their willingness to try new things. In 2015 they joined forces with Lee College of Sandstorm Records to hold their first music festival; Harvest, held on the 3rd of October. The Pearl Harts headlined, and the festival featured seven live bands and DJs, while offering a range of entertainments for kids.
Held at a supplier’s farm in Loddington the day-long music festival offered cider, beer, gin and sparkling wine, all made within a couple of miles of the festival site, highlighting their desire to keep things local. Due to its success the event is set to return in 2016, and it’s an event not to be missed.
Turners is a cider we’ve thoroughly enjoyed being able to offer, giving us a great start to a cider-filled year. Turners is definitely a brand to keep an eye on!