All posts in: Reviews of Past Events

As you’d expect this review only includes thoughts and information about cider and perry at this years event.


Demand for real cider and perry continues to increase with new cider makers starting up throughout the UK every year – this was evident at GBBF last week with a fantastic selection of traditional west country and eastern counties ciders available at Earls Court, London.

Showcasing Britain’s most exciting cider makers

CAMRA‘s annual early-August event celebrates British drinking. With over 110 ciders and perries at the Great British Beer Festival this week, CAMRA showcased the largest selection of real cider and perry ever seen at the event.

The range included award winning ciders and perries from national gold medallists at the National Cider and Perry Championships, judged at the Reading Beer Festival earlier in May, including Virtual Orchard cider.

Gwynt y Draig, Two Trees perry and Black Dragon cider were among the three fastest selling drinks in the first three days of the Festival. Great news for Welsh cider makers. Catch them at this weekends International Cider Festival.

John Lewis, Cider Bar Manager (great job) has been delighted with the increased interest in ciders and perries:

‘All our ciders are selling very well, appealing across all tastes from dry to sweet with a broad range of people of all ages enjoying the large selection.’

What you said about the cider on Twitter

We also had a good response of ‘cider heads’ live tweeting their responses back to us on Twitter.

Cider bar training

As an added bonus this year, I had the pleasure of doing cider bar training with CAMRA’s Mick Lewis (chief cider head).

Mick guided us through what he defines as real cider and perry, following CAMRA’s guidelines. The group was made up of 10 people who were either starting to make their own cider, sell it at a cider event, or learn more about what makes a good cider.

The interesting aspect for me was the cider tasting, of course! where Mick explained you didn’t have to like them all, just appreciate the difference in the tastes by there location in the UK, and style of fermentation. We tasted around 12 ciders from all corners of cider land.

One aspect where the cider and perry selection should be applauded is supporting first time ciders at events. A great way of enjoying British apples all under one roof!

Photos from the event

Finally, here are some personal images of the event.

Hope you enjoy. If you did make it this year let us know what you thought by leaving your comments below. If you didn’t – hope to see you at the cider bar next year!

It’s always a pleasure driving up from South Wales to The Big Apple (Putley Cider Trials) because of the many orchards in full bloom on the way. This year was nodisappointment as the blossom was stunning.

On arrival we saw the usual faces andhad a quick chat before booking our entries in. While doing that we were accosted by a Japanese film crew – a man who didn’t speak any English, and a woman who now livesin London, so her English was excellent. I suspect they were attracted by the fact that we had brought our very attractive 25 year old daughter with us this year and no doubtthey thought she would look good on the tele! Those queing behind to book their cider infound all this very amusing.

We then set off to Ledbury where we always spend quite a while in the great kitchen shop there which also has a brilliant deli. We spent too much money as usua,l but discovered a lovely Chinese restaurant next door where we had an all you can eat buffet for £7.50. That filled us up nicely for the judging that was to follow.

On arrival back at the village Hall in Putley there were a number of people standing outside the locked door. The look on Mike Penney’s (Troggi) face when he realised thejudges for the bottle conditioned perry were inside and judging when he was a judgewas priceless. He had to bang on the window and shout, asking to be let in. Once themain judging started everyone piled in and the array of ciders and perries were amazing. The different colours and hues were highlighted by the sun shining in the window. Andy got started on the Dry and Medium ciders, while Mairi and I jointly did the Sweetciders and perries. Mairi was a Putley virgin and she couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing….or doing. She had been given some ‘training’ by Andy on what to look for so was reasonably competent and by the end of the afternoon was extremely flushedand ‘happy’. That Japanese film crew kept following her round!

The standard of entries was generally high and there were only a handful which were undrinkable. However, we didn’t find it hard to select the top three in each of thecategories. We were pleased with the day, especially getting a 1st for our Medium/Sweet Perry and a 3rd for our Medium Cider and if we don’t make the big time in the UK, Mairiwill be a cider-star in Japan!

By Annie Hallett, Blaengawney Cider

We had a great visit to Middle Farm in the middle of January, where we went a Wassailing!

A Wassail is a winter celebration, traditionally held on Old Twelfth Night, to ensure that the orchard is fruitful in the coming months. It was a fantastic clear crisp night, perfect for blessing the fruit trees.

There was of course a great selection of best selling and local ciders and perries. A great programme of indoor and outdoor events, including a Celidh, bonfire, and lots and lots of drumming organised by the Hunter’s Moon Morris men.

Check out a selection of the photos we took of the evening:

Middle Farm Wassail 2010

Watch a video of the the Wassail group heading to the orchards to light the ceremonial bonfire:

Written by Dave, from Old Time Cider

It certainly doesn’t need to be said that “all cider” events are pretty rare here in the US.

However consider an event where the overwhelming percentage of bottles poured and kegs tapped are from craft cider makers. Well it finally happened in Seattle last Saturday!

Cider Summit N.W. was also the inaugural event for the Northwest Cider Association of which many of the names above are members or on their way to becoming members.

The Cider Summit N.W. boasted some 40+ craft ciders and they delivered. In attendance from the NW craft cider ranks were Blue Mountain Cider Company, Carlton Cyderworks, Eaglemount Cider, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Red Barn Cider, Snowdrift Cider Co., Tieton Cider Works Vashon Winery/Irvines Vintage cider, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks, Westcott Bay Cider, and Wildfire Cider. We even had an extra special visit from my favorite BC cider maker Sea Cider. Visitors from abroad included Dupont & Drouin from France, and from England Aspall and Samuel Smith. I’d really love to see true English cider representation increased on the market and at the event.

The highlights? Where to begin and too many to list. I’ve had the pleasure of drinking most of the ciders there and if I were to only name the highlights it might misrepresent the amount and quality of the craft ciders present. My favorite cluster of booths just happen to house my favorite regularly available cider selections. Snowdrift Cider Co.Tieton Cider WorksWandering AengusWestcott Bay Cider, and Wildfire Cider.

More great NW Cider events on the way. Check out Vashon Island’s Cider Fest October 9th, Portland Nursery’s Artisan Cider Festival October 9th-10th and 16-17th, and Ivar’s Salmon House 3rd Annual Fall Cider Celebration coming in November.

Other reviews of the NW cider summit from American cider bloggers:

  • NW Beer Guide
  • Old Time Cider