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Enjoy the finest real cider at East Sussex’s best pubs!

This post is based on the 2009 Ale Trail and Cider Rider passport that is given to people who want to participate in the South Downs beer and cider festival every June in Lewes, Sussex.

This information is available so tourists, visitors and even people who live in Sussex can use for their pub outings any time of the year!

The  people who would have used this information would have navigated their way around a series of pubs with character in towns and villages of Sussex. The tour comes with a book that gets stamped like a passport to prove they drank at them all, and the reward? A t-shirt or mug, oh and rosy cheeks! Cheers.


  • Evening Star, 55-56 Surrey Street
  • Greys, 105 Southover Street – Closed October 2012
  • Lord Nelson Inn, 26 Trafalgar Street
  • Sir Charles Napier, 50 Southover Street
  • The Station, 1 Hampstead Road
  • Waggon and Horses, 10 Church Street


  • Ram Inn, The street


  • Brewers Arms, 91 High Street
  • Dorset, 22 Malling Street
  • Elephant and Castle, White Hill
  • Gardeners Arms, 46 Cliffe High Street


  • Stand up inn, 47 high street


  • Jolly Boatman, 133-5 Lewes Road


  • Stanley Arms, 47 Wolseley Road


  • Cock Inn


  • Buckingham Arms, 35-7 Brunswick Road
  • Duke of Wellington, 368 Brighton Road
  • Red Lion, Old Shoreham Road

It’s nice to see that the pub industry was finally recognised earlier this year when in the Summer, Visit England awarded “the great English pub” the award for outstanding contribution to tourism.

The accolade was given to pubs for:

the integral part they play in the fabric of the English way of life and the opputunity they provide for domestic and international visitors to meet local people and enjoy local foods and drink, including real cider.

Research carried out by Visit England revealed that many visitors from overseas put visiting a pub very high on their list of things to do when holidaying in England. It is estimated that over 40% of overseas visitors, around 13  million people popped into a pub in 2007.

As a result of this Visit England formed a partnership with the pub trade magazine, The Publican to create a research web site which lists pubs around the country.

Axe the Beer Tax Logo

Axe the Beer Tax Logo

It’s a shame not everyone is as supportive. Mr Darling’s continuing actions seem to indicate that he does not agree with the pub being an integral part of English life, due to the very heavy taxes he continues to add to pub products, including cider.

Cider making goes back centuries, to 1204 AD to be precise (more in Cider History).

From Roman, to Victorian times when many orchards were planted in and around farm estates. Many cider makers look for ways to supplement the income from their tennanted farming. This was the case for Henry Weston in the village of Much Marcle, Herefordshire in 1878. Henry started using his own farm orchards fruit to make cider and perry, quickly gaining customers and building a reputation for quality, which ensure modest yet steady growth.

The efforts and teachings are invaluable to all they passed their skills and knowledge on to. Ensuring that cider quality and the essence of the core principles and heritage remain. For example, the skill of creating ciders using blends of bittersweet and bittersharp cider apples (more in cider apple varieties), rather than a single variety. Believing that it’s the blend of apples that gives a cider its distinctive taste when compared to others made in different parts of the UK.

Nothing much has changed in the way in which real cider is made today: you take the apples, press them, extract the juice, ferment it, then let it settle to allow it to run clear (more in how is cider made?).

So much of the flavour depends on the distinctive taste of cider products through blending apple varieties, much in the same way chefs will blend their ingredients.

It’s also a craft which can’t be rushed, and the careful fermentation and conditioning is what makes ciders so unique in the current drinks market. The apple juices once pressed are blended and allowed to develop a deep flavour where they can ferment together in oak casks which not only impart flavour, but also their full character:

  • the balance of sugars – dryness, sweetness
  • tannin levels – the colour, golden, light, dark
  • acidities levels

This approach helps to explain the popularity of cider from old to recent times. The Real Cider web site is proud to be  supporting real cider and championing the founders of cider making who have successfully passed on their skills to their grandchildren, like Westons.

Take a sip of cider and close your eyes. Surely there is no taste that is more evocative of the English countryside on a clear, crisp, golden autumn day.

If you’re looking to warm your insides after a brisk walk in the great outdoors, or to concoct a punch for your friends, these recipes are sure to warm you up. They’ll all taste best with fresh farmhouse cider:

And of course our very own mulled cider recipe.


Mike Johnson, owner of the Ross-on-Wye Cider and Perry Company at Broome Farm, Peterstow, Herefordshire, is this year’s winner of CAMRA’s prestigious award after a series of glowing nominations from CAMRA members and people within the cider and perry industry. Johnson was singled out particularly for his work in nurturing new talent in the cider world.

One individual who nominated Mike Johnson for the Pomona Award 2009, said:

Mike (Johnson) is a very good cider-maker but the reason why he deserves to win this award is nothing to do with his skill in this respect. In short, the cider and perry community owes Mike a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless dedication to helping encourage new producers to enter the market, even though they are in direct competition with him. This attitude, combined with his interests in ecology and benefitting the local community through holding an annual Cider Festival is reason enough to give Mike this award.’

The Pomona Award is named after the Roman Goddess of apples and is presented by CAMRA to the person, place or thing who has done the most to promote real cider or perry primarily over the previous twelve months and secondarily, where there is no outstanding contender in the last twelve months, for ongoing work.

National Cider and Perry Month takes place in October each year to celebrate the craft industry of real cider and perry production. For more information on the Month, or to find an event near you, please visit

Below is a list of the most common ciders that we do not recognise as being real:

Most of these ‘ciders’ have nothing to do with real cider except in name and the fact that a minor portion may have see some kind of apple product at some stage in the production process.

We want you to get involved with real cider, so we have listed the ones here to avoid.

Here they are (Source: CAMRA).

  • Amber Harvest (Aston Manor)
  • Ashton Press
  • Aspall (except Temple Moon,
  • Bounders (Bath Cider)
  • Briska
  • Brothers
  • Bulmers
  • Chaplin and Cork
  • Chardolini Perry (Aston Manor)
  • Copper Press (St Austell)
  • Crofter’s (Aston Manor)
  • Crumpton (Aston Manor)
  • Diamond White
  • Druids Celtic Cider (Aston Manor)
  • Dry Blackthorn
  • Duchy Originals (Aston Manor)
  • Friels
  • Frome Valley
  • Frosty Jack’s
  • Gaymer’s
  • Golden Valley (Aston Manor)
  • Harry Sparrow (Aspall)
  • Hereford Orchard (Aston Manor)
  • Jacques
  • K Cider
  • Knights (Aston Manor)
  • Kopparberg
  • Lazy Jacks
  • Magners
  • Malvern Gold (Aston Manor)
  • Merrydown
  • Natch
  • Oakleys
  • Old Moors (Devon Cider Co.)
  • Old Mout
  • Pomagne
  • Red C
  • Rekorderlig
  • Robinsons
  • Samuel Smith’s
  • Scrumpy Dog
  • Scrumpy Jack
  • Sharp’s Orchard Cornish
  • Somersby (Carlsberg)
  • St Helier
  • Stella Cidre
  • Strongbow
  • Strongbow Sirrus
  • Symonds
  • Taunton
  • Three Hammers
  • WKD Core
  • White Lightning
  • White Star
  • Woodpecker

Why are they not real cider?

  • As it is not craft cider produced using traditional methods.
  • Not only does it fill a marketing gap that wasn’t a gap in the first place, but it tastes just like it is – poor commercial cider with added ‘flavour’ and fizz. I’ve tasted some commercial ‘ciders’ that taste like a chemically enhanced fizzy cross between apple juice and cordial.
  • Real cider has always been a traditional drink which is produced naturally from apples and is neither carbonated nor pasteurised. Cider is only made from pressed, and fermented apples. Nothing else.

The ingredients listed on a can of Strongbow are:

Fermented apple juice & glucose syrup, water, sugar, carbon dioxide,
acid: E270, E330, antioxidant: E224 (sulphites).

These cider imposters have had most of the alcohol derived rom fermenting corn starch syrup which is then diluted with water. Malic acid is then added in order to get a bit of taste back into it.

Doesn’t sound very appetising does it?

It doesn’t mean that the drinks aren’t refreshing on a hot summers day, however with real cider you will find the majority are organic, free of artificial colours, acids and antioxidants.

The drinks don’t last as long in the bottle, but because they taste of real apples it means the cider doesn’t normally stay in the bottle long before it is enjoyed!