While Milton Keynes might not seem the obvious place for great tasting cider there is nothing “virtual” about the taste delivered. The “virtual” part comes from the fact that the fruit in the ciders, meads and cider brandy comes from as many as 90 local orchards which together have gone on to create award winning cider. If you grow apples local you can even contribute to the fruit crop and be rewarded, although in our opinion the greatest reward is in the fantastic flavours produced in every batch.
New Forest Cider
New Forest Cider really is tucked away in the heart of the New Forest and if you’ve never been then this fantastic cider maker should be the excuse you need because in their shop you can actually try fresh unpasteurised cider straight from the barrel, that’s about as pure as cider gets. They create sharp, crisp, traditional scrumpy cider as well as a really interesting Champagne method cider. But if you can’t make the trip fear not, you can buy direct from their online shop.
Big Tree Cider
Voted best Kentish Cider in 2012, Big Tree continue to make superb ciders and perrys for those that like a fuller flavour. As well as more traditional tipples, they’ve created some really interesting fruit ciders perfect for a summer gathering, a fiery ginger cider and our personal favourite “Lisping Cowboy” which is sharp-shooting cider for those that want the real deal without fizz or fuss.
Dudda’s Tun Cider
It’s no surprise that Kent, the garden of England, is the perfect place for growing great fruit. Take great fruit and mix it with the best traditions of British cider making and you’re bound to get quality cider. It sounds so simple but it takes the artistry of brewers like Dudda’s Tun to produce such fantastic flavour in every pint. We tried three just to be sure. And they were gooooood.
Matured in oak whisky casks Biddenden’s Special Reserve cider packs a 13.5 volume punch and doesn’t hold back on flavour either. There is also a sparkling cider on offer from this award winning vineyard who were awarded CAMRA Cider of the Year to add to their mantle. We came, we saw, we drank… we went home and ordered some more online.
After 30 years of perfecting their apples in 2009 the Sussex based father and son duo behind Wobblegate started pressing the fruit of their labour to produce top quality cider. Without adding sugars or preservatives (“if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”) they took inspiration from time spent in the West Country and brought home the finest cider making traditions and practices to create fine Sussex cider well worth a trip to the South coast for. We’ll raise a glass to that.
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