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This autumnal event at Killerton Estate near Exeter, this year the National Trust are running a weekend long event to celebrate apple day over the 20th and 21st of October.

The event runs from 11am – 4pm both days and is free to National Trust members, otherwise Adult £2, Child £1 and Family £5. Please get in touch if you require any further details.

On Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 October, they are hosting a two day National Apple Day celebration in the orchards.

Join us to celebrate the coming of autumn

There is a long history of cider-making on the Killerton estate and they are passionate about conserving the orchards and keeping this heritage alive. Orchards and old English apple varieties are in decline and our National Apple Day event will highlight the importance of protecting them for both wildlife and the Devon landscape.

Over 50 acres of traditional orchards

Nearly 100 varieties of old English apple are grown at Killerton, including the Killerton Sweet and the Killerton Sharp which are unique and originate from a 2,400 acre farming estate.

Peek behind the scenes

You can follow the orchard discovery trail to witness the 200 year old giant cider press in action, see where the beehives are kept, try the traditional craft of barrel-making with one of the UKs last remaining Coopers and have a go at woodturning using Killerton’s apple wood.

Taste the fruits of our labour

Both the estate cider and new apple juice won a 2012 silver Taste of the West award this year. The cider continues to win the National Trust Fine Farm Food Award which recognises the very best produce from National Trust farms and estates. Throughout our apple weekend, adults are invited to taste award-winners at the Killerton Cider Bar.

Bring your own apples

Take along a bag of your own garden apples to the event to mill and press into a bottle of juice to take home and on Sunday meet an apple ID expert who will help identify varieties of visitor’s home-grown cider apples. Stalls will be selling English apple trees, cider making equipment and books.

Children will be buzzing

For our younger visitors there will be village fete games to play, apple face painting and a Bumble Bee March through the orchard.

Wet your appetite

The Killerton Kitchen food tent will serving up hog roast with home made apple sauce, autumnal mulled cider and apple juice and vegetarian options. Sit back and enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the apple trees with live music, apple-juggling, apple folklore talks and a medieval Mummers Play to bless the orchard.

The Westbury Festival is now in its second year.

If you are looking for a new, fun and memorable music and cider weekend this summer then look no further than the Westbury Festival in Gloucestershire.

After the great success of last year and to keep things fresh they have decided to extend the Festival to 2 days over the August Bank Holiday weekend, 25-27th August.

Set in a lovely rural setting the organisers provide a fantastic mix of great music, great cider (or beer etc), great company and catering for all ages.

They have handpicked a fantastic selection of local and award winning regional ‘3 counties’ ciders, as well as festival favourites from the West Country. Notably Hartlands and Severn Cider.

>> View the full cider list here (PDF).

Get involved!

You can get involved by leaving your comments below to suggest to the organisers what other ciders and perries you would like to see at the bar. They want to make sure all levels of cider tastes are catered for.

Make sure you get into training for the Tug of War, as their is a keg of Cider to the winners. Also for the retro fans EMF are doing a set on the Saturday night. Sweet!

It’s busy all year with the cider maker – for a chance to get out and mingle with other like minded cider makers, and drinkers you’d be hard pushed to find a better line up of events than these. Don’t forget to check out our full events listings.

  • International Cider Challenge – judging – 9 March, by drinksint.com
  • National Association of Cider Makers Seminar – Hereford Cider Museum – 26 April, by NACM
  • Cider apple trees in blossom – (starts) end of April – various locations
  • International Cider Challenge – results announced – May
  • The Royal Bath & West Show – 30 May – 2 June
  • Three Counties Show – 15 – 17 June 2012
  • Cider Apple Harvest – (starts) early September
  • National Apple Day October – Sunday 21 October

January is of course the traditional time to go wassailing.

Here are some very special events that we recommend in Somerset.

Know of other events? Leave the details of the event in the comments below.

Walters Farm, Tintinhull Wassail – 7 January 2012 at 7pm

Wassail ceremony for the orchard’s old apple trees followed by music, giant hot dogs, danish pastry and cider punch. Parking at the village hall. Tickets £5 adults, children free. Please contact Anette Lorch to book before 2 Jan 2012. 01935 824868

Mid Somerset Show Wassail Evening – 12 January 2012 at 7pm

At the village green orchard at North Wootton. There will be music, noise, singing, toasting the apple trees, shooting the evil spirits plus bonfire, cider, soft drink bar and pig roast. There is no charge or booking needed for the outdoor part of the evening. Afterwards there will be entertainment in the Village Hall for members of the Society at £5 per head. This will include a ploughmans supper, apple muffins and entertainment. Members should book tickets with Bill Bartlett 01749 343091

Rich’s Cider Farm Charity Wassail – 14 January 2012 at 7.30pm

At Mill Farm, Watchfield, Highbridge, Somerset, TA9 4RD. Come and join the Scrumpy & Western band the Mangledwurzels to serenade the orchards of Rich’s Cider Farm with hot mulled cider and a pig roast. Run in association with the Burnham-on-Sea Rotary Club. All profits go to charity. Tickets £9.50 available from Rich’s Cider Shop. 01278 783651 [email protected]

Somerset Rural Life Museum Wassail – 14 January 2012 at 7.30pm

At Abbey Farm, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury BA6 8DB. There will be music from Rapscallion, barn dance, family activities and seasonal refreshments. Tickets £8 for adults, £5 for children. Pre-booking is necessary. 01458 831197 [email protected]

Kilmersdon Wassail – 21 January 2012 at 12.00 noon

At Kilmersdon Village Hall, Radstock, Bath BA3 5TD. Ploughman’s lunches will be available and the 2012 Wassail Queen will be crowned at approximately 1.15pm. The Village Band will be in attendance and the Cam Valley Morrismen. This will be followed by a procession to the Community Orchard where the ceremony will take place and then on to the Old School House for tea and apple cake. The event is FREE apart form buying a ploughman’s lunch if you want to..

For further information contact Martin Horler 01761 437372

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

Introduction

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!

A brand new festival is being held at Brogdale this year; the Great British Cider, Beer and Food Festival will take place on 24 and 25 September and producers will showcase food and drink from around Kent and the UK.

Brogdale Collections is a charity with the principle aim of creating awareness and interest in The National Fruit Collections and to enhance the long term sustainable future for the living collections at Brogdale.

The National Fruit Collections are the largest fruit collection in the world growing on one site, and comprise around 2,200 apples, 550 pears, 320 cherries, 350 plums, 50 hazelnuts, 150 gooseberries, 200 currants (black, red, white and pink), as well as small collections of vines, quinces, medlars and apricots.

Sally Roger marketing manager at Brogdale, home of the National Fruit Collections comments:

“Our traditional cider festival is very popular in September and also has a number of food producers attending so we have decided this year to broaden the festival to give equal prominence to cider, beer and food and to give local producers the chance to showcase the great food and drink which is on offer here in Kent.”

“The cider bar will be much larger than in previous years and we are hoping to have over 100 different ciders to taste or take home. Cider apples will still be very prominent both in a display and also as part of the orchard tours.”

“Many people don’t just come to taste cider at this time of year but we are increasingly getting a number of enquiries from people who want to make their own cider so choosing the right variety of tree is important and what better way than to see the many varieties of cider apple grown at Brogdale and to select one that best suits your tastes.”

There will be plenty to entertain at the festival for all ages so if you want a break from sampling all the food and drink on offer then there will be guided and self guided orchard tours, tractor trailer rides, miniature railway rides, cookery demonstrations and gardening talks, fruit variety identification and much more.

There will also be music to entertain throughout the afternoon and evening including on Saturday local bands The Fecks, Engine and Clutch & Gearbox and on Sunday Adrian Ben and the Chillbillies. There is also the marketplace shops, Grow plant centre, Courtyard Cafe and new Lottery funded children’s play area.

Anyone interested in having a stall at the festival should contact Brogdale at [email protected] or call 01795 536250.  Stalls will cost £55 for a marquee space 10% discount if you bring your own gazebo.

Further information on visiting Brogdale can be found at www.brogdalecollections.co.uk