Alex Greig of Fuggles coffee and bottle shop on Camden Road, Cherry picks his favorite ciders to taste now
Summer is the perfect time to get into cider (or cyder, depending on where you’re from!)
At Fuggles, we are fortunate to work with some of the best local cider producers, from Ascension with their fruity blends to Nightingale with their crisp, brilliantly crafted wild fermentation cider. We are also fortunate to be able to work with some of the best producers from the rest of the country’s top cider producing regions, including The Newt and Pilton in Somerset.
Just like beer, the styles and ranges available are endless and just like malt and hops, different varieties of apples will impart different flavors and different fermentation and caging processes will add to the individual flavor of any cider.
Locally, we have worked with Tenterden-based Nightingale for many years. Sam and Olly currently make one of the best ciders in the UK – with a particularly interesting and exciting range of Pet Nat ciders (of which we look forward to future vintages!). My pick of their group is their ‘Wild Disco’ cider – produced with Kentish Discovery apples is really fresh and clean, with that lovely juicy red apple flavor you get from Discovery apples, a hint of rose on the nose and a dry finish .
Etchingham is home to another local favorite of ours: Ascension Cider. Matt Billing loves to throw the rules of the art when it comes to producing his ciders – he produces a fantastic set of pure, apple-only ciders such as ‘Pilot’, but he also produces some very good ciders infused with fruit (and sometimes beetroot, which, trust me, really works!) “Shimmy” is a big favorite here, a juicy pineapple-infused cider. Matt is also a hot air balloon pilot in his spare time!
Further afield, The Newt, based in Somerset, produces exceptional cyder (as it is known in that part of the country). It has won numerous awards for its drinks produced on the estate – which also has a superb hotel and restaurant if you find yourself in the area. Somerset, like Kent, has the perfect soil and climate for growing apples. Newt’s approach is to apply winemaking techniques to their production on their state-of-the-art kit. One of my picks has to be their ‘Fine Rose Cyder’ – produced with Red Love apples giving the cyder its pale pink color and lovely light strawberry and cranberry flavor and well balanced finish. Finally, there is Pilton Cider. Another Somerset producer who focus on producing ciders using an artisanal method known as ‘Keeving’ – where the cider is naturally sweetened. By stopping the fermentation process before it’s completely finished, the yeast doesn’t finish drying out the cider, leaving it naturally sweeter.
‘Tamoshanta’ is my pick of the bunch – it’s finished in Scotch Whiskey casks which gives this wonderfully fruity cider a hint of vanilla and smoke – quite delicious!