All posts in: Events

On a winter’s evening in January, usually Old Christmas Eve (January 5), Twelfth night (January 6) or Old Twelfth night (January 17), about 200 townsfolk gather to play witness to a wassail ceremony, which resembles something out of a medieval Shakespearean play from what I’ve seen on the Internet.

“Wassail ceremony is a wonderful assault on winter dulled senses”, explains Norman Stanier, Vice-Chairman of The Big Apple and owner of Dragon Orchard. “It has noise, music, drums, procession, torchlight, fires, cider, roasted pig, songs, acting, and loud noises often of shotguns being fired.”

A wassail King and Queen lead a torch-held procession in song, from orchard to orchard. The wassail was important in the past when part of a labourer’s wage on a farm was paid in cider. Today, farmers who are motivated by superstition and tradition carry on the pagan ceremony.

All gathered around the tree before the fires are lit

After much dancing and singing, noise making and merriment, the evening culminates in gunshots to scare the evil spirits away, and the wassailers head back to the local pub for dancing, cider, and entertainment.

Here’s our pick of the UK’s best Wassail events in 2011:

All will usually provide hot food and drink available and a well stocked cider bar.

Wassail!

Apple day at Stanmer Park, East Sussex

October is a very exciting month for cider fans, not only do you get to harvest this years apples, make cider and visit some fantastic pubs during cider month, there is also Apple day – a collection of nationwide events to celebrate the ultimate fruit of gods ;)

A great way to learn about what makes cider great, the different types of apples grown locally near you, and how to make cider..

Here is our choice of the best apple day events around the UK:

Apple Festival at Middle Farm, Firle, East Sussex, 16th & 17th October

A hearty celebration in music, dance and feasting of all things apple. A huge assortment of locally sourced apples and pears,a proper old time funfair, a huge puppet show, morris sides, scrumptious cosmopolitan hot and cold eats, cider bars, a mead bar and two music stages for your delectation and delight. Full details

Apple Day at The Stubbing Wharf, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, 23rd October

“There’s a bit of a dearth of Apple Day activity in the north, and it’s a great opportunity to get acquainted with a wide range of apple juices and ciders.” Apple Day has also become a welcome return to the Stubbing Wharf’s highly regarded Cider Festival. Whilst the Apple Day celebrates the eating and drinking delights of apples and their juices, it has also become soothing of a ‘Mini Cider Fest’. Full details

Apple day at Borough Market, London, 24th October

Bringing the taste of autumn into the heart of London, Apple Day at Borough Market is also set to be a day of autumnal festivity as live music and street performers entertain the crowds during the day. Full details

Community Cider Making at The Crown Inn, Woolhope, Herefordshire, 24th October

Turn up, have fun! Great for all ages and active participation (child labour) is encouraged. Full details

Cider making open day at Mill House Cider Museum, Owermoigne, Dorset, 28th October

Come to see a day of Traditional Cider Making taking place in October half term at the Cider Museum in Owermoigne, Dorset ! Apples will be crushed and pressed using the antique equipment – a chance for people to see the traditional way of making cider in the flesh. Full details

Don’t forget to visit our cider festival calendar

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

Watch this years cider being produced with a variety of activities and tastings at Hamptonne as part of the La Faîs’sie d’Cidre (Cider Festival).

Venue: Hamptonne
Date: Saturday 16th October 2010 – Sunday 17th October 2010

Enjoy a traditional event where Jersey’s rich heritage of apple growing and cider making is celebrated with lots to see, do, learn and enjoy.

In the 17th Century cider was made by farmers in Jersey to give to their staff, making up part of their wages.

See cider made the old fashioned way – a horse crushing the apples, then the juice extracted on the twin-screw press. Apple themed games, entertainment, quizzes, arts and crafts and, of course, cider to taste.

Hamptonne will be opening its doors this weekend for a celebration of cider making.  Join us to celebrate Jersey’s established apple and cider making history at this traditional Autumn event.  Smell the scent of tonnes of apples as they are crushed in the giant apple crusher that is pulled by a horse.  Learn which apples you can grow in your garden and kids can take part in lots of traditional arts and crafts. Taste some Jersey produce and the adults can enjoy the cider tasting. Join us from 10am to 4pm at Hamptonne.

Where is Jersey?

Jersey is located between the England and France. It is still part of the UK, and has many influences from France and the continent. Especially the cider style.

Britain’s biggest beer festival takes place this week from 3rd to 7th August 2010 at Earls Court, London. The Great British Beer Festival (often shortened to GBBF) is a yearly beer festival organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA

GBBF is styled as the “biggest pub in the world” and offers around 450 beers from British breweries, as well as around 200 foreign beers from countries including Belgium, Germany and the USA. Traditional British cider and perry is also available. The festival is completely staffed by unpaid volunteers, around 1000 of whom work at the festival.

Organisers are hoping for a bumper event as ticket sales this year are up by 32% on last year. Which means that the attendance will be well over the 64,000 thirsty people that turned up in 2009.

Louise Ashworth, head of marketing at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “Across the UK, CAMRA beer (and cider) festivals have continued to report record attendance figures and increases in sales. And with our own research showing that 50% of pub-goers have now tried real ale and cider, this August at Earls Court will be an exciting time for brewers to come together and champion our national drink.”

At Waitrose, sales of bottled ciders and ales have risen 30% year on year as customers are trying out new producers. We have a fantastically rich heritage of cider makers and people seem to want to reach out and try local and national ciders.

View all the listed ciders and perries available at this years GBBF.

Further links: