Ahh, Springtime in Sussex – can only mean one thing – the largest cider and beer event on the South Coast – The Sussex Cider and Beer Festival.

It was my pleasure this year to be on the judging panel for the regional ciders that were submitted by 16 cider makers across the counties of Surrey, and East and West Sussex.

5 ciders were sampled between 3 groups, including the organisers of the Brighton Food Festival and Chris from Hallet’s Cider.

It was a mouth watering task, and great to have a team to bounce ideas off. However, it the ciders were graded on our personal tastes. On the following criteria – Aroma, Initial taste, finish / aftertaste, and personal enjoyment.

I would recommend you keep a note of ciders that you are trying, and mark out of 10 using this system. It’s really beneficial and will make you assess and understand the qualities of ciders and perries that are right for you. After all..

Don’t forget what may be one persons dry cider, may be someones elses medium!

My personal favourite ciders from this area are Oakwood ciders from Robertsbridge (who won last at years festival), and Wild Thing from Portslade. Both full of flavour, and very memorable, and they really stand apart from the crowd, which was the case for this tasting. They are also generally the first to sell out at the Sussex and South downs festivals respectively.

The overall winners of the 2015 cider competition at Sussex Beer Festival were:

1st – Village Green Cider ‘Medium Cider’
2nd – Portslade ‘Medium Wild Thing Cider’
3rd – Black Pig Orchard ‘Medium Dry Cider’

You will be able to taste these ciders at the next county Cider festival at Lewes in June. Otherwise get down to Middle Farm, where you’ll find them at the National collection of cider and perry.

It is great that others are enjoying the time and enthusiasm that goes into making Village Green Cider

Looking forward to showing some of CAMRAs cider drinkers around the cider house and the additional publicly and new drinkers the Village Green Cider will now have.

Ben Fairall, owner of Village Green Cider

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