Wednesday, 7 March 2012


So on Thursday last week, I was invited to a tutored Cider tasting at the Euston Cider Tap, courtesy of Google Places. Having previously visited the Cider Tap's sister bar across the road several times, This was my first trip into the world of all things apples!

The night started with a glass of Kir Normand, a cocktail aperitif made with Normandy cider and cassis. As the other attendee's began to arrive the tasting got under-way. Starting off with an introduction to the evening an brief description of how cider is brewed from Charles Roberts the head brewer at Pickled Pig Cider.

The tasting was started with Calvados - Christian Drouin 3% ABV, a fruity and rich tasting unpasteurised French cider. Served along side an amazing Calvados Camembert cheese. After a the Camembert was devoured Charles talked us through his range of Ciders, starting with a traditional farmhouse cider; Pickled Pig - Old Spot - 6.5% ABV brewed naturally using three varieties of apple all grown locally to the Cambridgeshire farm. The naturally found yeast used in the fermentation gives this cider a tannic and acidic taste not dissimilar to those of a Lambic.

Next we were introduced to Pickled Pig - Rum Cask - 6.0% ABV. Slowly fermented and stored in an oak rum barrel imported from the Caribbean. This cider again had a sour tannic taste this time with a phenolic taste drawn from the rum that had previously been matured in the cask. Charles then went on to explain how the Cider would soon be changing its name to Saddle Back as a resort to meet the new laws imposed by customs and excise!

The tasting then moved to the several sparkling ciders on offer, Lilleys - Fire Dancer - 4.5% ABV described as "A traditional cloudy cider, with a rich rosy colour and full of flavour." I however thought it was heavily over carbonated and was all to similar to the more commonly found commercial ciders.

Sandford Orchards -Shaky Bridge - 6% This has a much stronger taste of apple and was much more palatable, but after several ciders my notes are somewhat lacking!

Aware that is was a school night we made plans to leave, but these where soon stifled, as we were offered a glass of Millwhites - Rioja Cask - 6.7%. With its pink hue drawn from its time in the red wine barrels, this was one of the most interesting ciders we had tasted with hints of oak tannin and warming overall sweetness. And with that the evening and my first foray into cider was over.

The Euston Cider Tap, is the only dedicated Cider bar that I'm aware of in London which is surprising since apparently we're now a nation of cider drinkers. Although I suspect this more than likely the type of cider served over ice!  If more pubs offered at least one craft or real cider, I for one would now be more inclined to move away from ales & beers every now and then. However there's still a long way for craft/real Cider to go before it can break the stereotype The Wurzels have set!