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Last weekend was the 20th Sussex CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival

A 4 day event held at Hove town hall. A sell out every session, even with 1000 person capacity. Tickets for the Friday evening session sold out with a week on going on sale!

Thirsty drinkers were queueing up eager to taste local ciders and perries, and ones further afield from Herefordshire, Wales and the West country.

I was fortunate enough to be volunteering on the cider and perry stall so it was a treat to get up and close with the ciders, as well as meet the drinkers who enjoyed the different varieties.

Most seemed to know what they wanted, and others we chose for them – there were some great ‘entry’ ciders, like Gwynt Y Ddraig’s Haymaker – a medium at 4.8%, extremely drinkable!

Jackie Johnson who has been the regional cider co-ordinator for Brighton & South Downs CAMRA for the last 6 years did a great job of sourcing a fine selection of perries and ciders from around the country for the festival.

There were 29 ciders and 12 perries on, compared to just 6 barrels of cider 6 years ago. Proof that demand and appreciation of traditional ciders have increased.

My top 3 ciders of the festival

  • Oakwood Cider, East Sussex – Medium 6.4%- Organic, culinary and desert apples. Extra, extra dry with a bit like a cold shower.
  • Montgomery ‘Old Monty’ Cider, Powys – Dry 4.8% – Cider apple varieties. Full of traditional character
  • Gwatkins Stoke Red Cider, Herefordshire – Sweet 7.5% – Single varietal, sumptuous, succulent, full bodied.

If you haven’t been to a cider festival or want to know when the next one is check out our events page.