Thatchers Katy – A Story of 3 Kats and a Liz

Bottle of Thatcher's Katy cider

At our recent Glasto weekend shindig in Somerset, it seemed only proper to drink a Somerset cider (when in Rome, etc.).  In our group we had a Kath, a Katy and a Katie (plus a Liz), so Thatchers Katy was the obviously appropriate choice.  Plus I reckoned that if I got Liz to drink enough of it she’d probably answer to Kath/Katy too…

Katy is perhaps percieved as a bit girly to win fans among  the hardcore beardy cider afficinados, but it’s a great choice for non-regular cider drinkers.  It’s easy, light and approachable (deceptive, given it weighs in at 7.4% – eep!), with a delicate fizz and a sweet fragrant apple taste.  However, unlike the ‘fruit’ so called ciders that try to appeal to non-cider fans, it has a real authenticity and character that comes from being a single variety cider, and from cider makers with their own orchards that have been making cider in Somerset for over 100 years (so they know their stuff).

In fact, on our way back from our Glasto weekend house, we made a detour to the Thatchers farm shop, and then stopped off for a brief wander through the orchards (via the evocatively titled Strawberry Line footpath) where we came across the very Katy apple trees from which I’d been enjoying the bounty of all weekend.  I thanked them for their efforts, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for many a fine crop to come.

 

Posted In: Cider House Rules, Food & Drink
Tagged with:
Comment

Share This

You Might Also Like

Have Cider Will Travel: Stowford Press in a Can

Can of Stowford Press Cider

The holy grail; a decent cider that comes in a can! Many a Glastonbury have I mourned the fact that none of my favourite brands offer their cidery goodness in can format (as glass isn’t allowed into the festival site), but in 2013 Westons came through like a champion and transitioned their ‘Stowford Press’ variety into can form.

Previously I’d tended to experience Stowford Press on draught in pubs, and occasionally in bottled format, until I stumbled across a 4-pack in a supermarket.  It’s canned variety doesn’t quite match the freshness as the draught, but it is still vastly superior to the other canned ciders out there (and I recommend decanting to minimise any ‘tinny’ taste).

It has a true, crisp appley flavour  and it’s a touch dry and with more of an edge than some of the sweeter and simpler big name ciders.   In the festival spirit I shared some cans with my fellow campers (Katie and Katy) and, though they are somewhat fairweather cider drinkers, they did give a big thumbs up and commented on the superiority of Stowford Press to the other well known brand we had brought.

Sadly this year we are ticketless for Glastonbury having not succeeded in the annual scrum, but we shall be pilgrimmaging down to Somerset anyway and watching the coverage from an amazing house we’ve rented for the weekend (soon to be featured).  Though there’ll be no restrictions on cider packaging, I’ll still be taking a four pack of Stowford to invoke the true festival spirit!  Cheers!

Posted In: Cider House Rules, Food & Drink
Tagged with:
Comment

Share This

You Might Also Like

Perry’s Redstreak: A Cider Of Two Halves

Perry's Red Streak Cider

Perry’s Redstreak Cider was another spontaneous Waitrose purchase by my husband, who was surprised to find it was a variety I hadn’t tried before.

It’s a small batch cider made in Somerset using wild yeasts and fresh local apples, and you can taste the quality and care that’s gone into producing it.

When you first take a sip of Redstreak, you think it might be venturing into overly sweet Appletize territory, but then a dry aftertaste cuts through which balances the sweetness and gives a clean, natural finish. The deep amber colour which gives this Perry’s blend its name is showcased in the clear bottle and enhanced by the red label (although I have to admit I’m not a fan of the name).

It has a light fizz, and at 6.1% it’s on the lower(ish) end of the cider spectrum strength-wise, but it’s not a ‘session’ cider – there’s a bit too much going on here for that. I’d say it’s more of a one off savour it with a meal cider – perhaps pair it with a curry for a double ‘ruby’ treat.

 

Posted In: Cider House Rules, Food & Drink
Tagged with:
Comment

Share This

You Might Also Like

Waitrose Herefordshire Cider: A Supermarket Gem

photo(6)

‘Vanilla notes’?! Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that us cider drinkers have come over all Jilly Goulden of late with sophisticated tasting notes being emblazened across the front of bottles.

Waitrose have produced an interesting cider though – and a still one to boot which is uncommon for an own brand. It was sourced for me by my other half, who on a trip to collect some John Lewis shoes in store, gave me a call to see if we needed any groceries picking up. Getting no answer, he played it safe by purchasing two bottles of cider and some crisps (you know, the essentials).

Waitrose have for a while been (in my mind) the most interesting supermarket in terms of their own brand cider offering, and this Herefordshire vintage definitely warrants a tasting. For a still cider it’s very light and it goes down easily, rather belying it’s 7% strength. That said, it’s not a simple cider by any means; though the tasting notes are a bit pretentious they nod to the fact that there’s something interesting going on. It’s crisp and appley on first sip but then deepens and becomes warmer and (dare I say it) vanilla-y. It’s probably not one for real novice cider drinkers though (my husband wasn’t a fan), but it’s a nice progression for those who are a bit nervous of still ciders and equate them with syrupy scrumpys.


Posted In: Cider House Rules, Food & Drink
Tagged with:
Comment

Share This

You Might Also Like

Savanna: South Africans Do Cider

Savannah Cider

You don’t tend to see many South African ciders in England (or anywhere other than South Africa I assume), so Savanna is a bit of a rarity.

I came across it in Tesco several years ago and was struck by the simple, unassuming bottle and striking label evoking the African bush which is a change from the Somerset countryside.  As ciders go, it seemed rather exotic, and I was curious as to its unusual providence.  Influencing my decision to buy was the fact that it was on offer at the time (Yorkshire thriftiness showing through), so I gave it a try and it’s been one of my staples ever since.

It’s a light (4.5%), easy drinking cider with a bright lemony colour. Though it’s maybe a touch on the sharper side than some, I like the fact that it’s not overly sweet. I’m not sure if you can still buy it in it’s original, 330ml size; following the trend these days it only seems to be available in it’s chunky 500ml guise (tricky to wrangle for those with small hands).

Encouragingly it’s widely on offer now – in most supermarkets and even some pubs, so not too hard to track down and recommended even for the fair-weather cider drinker.

Posted In: Cider House Rules, Food & Drink
Tagged with:
Comment

Share This

You Might Also Like

Beards & Beer Part 2: The Cider Selections

Bradford Beer Festival Programme

Following Liz’s review of the Bradford Beer Festival from a beer lover’s perspective, it seems only right to balance things out by providing a cider fan’s take on the proceedings.

Cider is, after all, often the forgotten sibling at these events – a token gesture of a couple of boxes of scrumpy perched on a dusty table in the corner somewhere.   In Saltaire Village Hall the cider stand is tucked away in the far left corner with the (rather dubious) fruit wines, but the selection is always extensive and impressive, and this year there were a number of new names on display to be tried and tested.

A welcome development in recent years at the beer festival has been the introduction of 1/3 pint measures, which is a headache saver for cider fans, whose tipples frequently veer into the 7%+ strength range. The friendly chaps at the stand are also happy to provide taster sips to help you make you mind up, so you can taste a good range of ciders without getting tipsy.

Wrist with age verified wrist bandOfficially verified to drink cider….

My standout favourite this year was Picker’s Passion by Hogan’s – a  still, golden straw coloured cider which was a very drinkable 5.3% and and  had a gentle appley taste with a slight sweetness and a hint of earthiness (which I think is what the tasting notes meant by ‘peaty undertones’).

A close second was the Tumbledown by Snailsbank ciders from Herefordshire – another light (5.2%) cider but this was slightly more amber and a little bit more tannin and acidity.

Neither are widely available (Hogan’s retails online and in some selected stores), but keep an eye out for them at your local real ale pubs.

Posted In: Cider House Rules, Food & Drink
Tagged with:
Comment

Share This

You Might Also Like

Wyld Wood: A Weston’s Classic

bottle of Wyld Wood cider

I first came across Wyld Wood cider in its previous (less-embarrassing-to-ask-for-at-a-bar) name of Westons Organic.

It has since become one of my favourite ciders, and though I’m a tad disappointed they felt they had to re-brand to keep up with the Bulmers set, they didn’t mess around too much with the stuff inside the bottle, so it’s still up there in my estimation

It’s a rich, golden cider, with a taste that I would almost describe as ‘hoppy’ were I a beer taster – by which I mean that it’s quite a layered, deep flavour. But it still has a lovely fizz – it’s not in the scrumpy league, so it doesn’t sit heavily.  However it is 7.2% so you’d be advised to take it steady, given that they only sell it in 500ml bottles (I’d love it if more ciders were sold at 330ml, but I guess it saves on trips to the bar / fridge…)

It’s very well balanced – not too dry or sweet, but has a lot more flavour and depth than most of the supermarket offerings, so it’s well worth seeking out. However for a complete cider virgin, it might not be a great one to start on – one for the more experienced palette.

Posted In: Cider House Rules, Food & Drink
Tagged with:
Comment

Share This

You Might Also Like

Laying Down The Cider House Rules

Cider-house-rules

You may have noticed that cider has rocketed in popularity in the last 10 years or so. When I was first initiated to the world of pub going, Strongbow and Woodpecker were usually the only ciders on offer, and if you disclosed that you were a cider drinker, people tended to think you were either an aspiring Wurzel, or had bit of a problem with White Lightening (bless its paint-stripping heart).

As with real ale, the surge in cider drinking has been positive for cider fans, such as myself, resulting in more variety and more success for small independent cider makers.

On the less positive side however the increase in the range of cider on offer also means an increase in the range of more dubious cider offerings some of it only having ever had a passing acquaintance (probably of the long distance pen-pal sort) with actual apples  .

Proper cider (that’s ‘hard cider’ for you Yankees) is lovely stuff, whether it be the glorious, lightly sparkling nectar from Brittany and Normandy, or the home-grown artisan scrumpy from the orchards of the West Country. The big commercial beer brands have muscled in on the action with Bulmers, Magners, Stella ‘Cidre’, and now Carling all clamouring for room on the bar. They’re orange, fizzy, and not unpleasant to drink occasionally over ice , but though they play up their ‘heritage’, they’re not cider as I know and love it. Even further removed are the various fruit ciders that are basically just alcopops in disguise.

I’ve therefore made it my mission to introduce people to the world of proper cider, and lovely places to drink it. Though it doesn’t have a lot to do with interior design, cider is a permanent feature in my house, and that’s enough of a (tenuous) link for Liz to let me evangelise about its merits on Hello Walls.

Posted In: Cider House Rules, Food & Drink
Tagged with:
1 Comment

Share This

You Might Also Like

Go to the top of the page