Friday, 5 June 2009

Ciderhouse News - Welland Valley Beer Fest #2

Leicestershire apple enthusiast Melanie Wilson paid us a visit today. Mel is the brains behind the terrific UK Fruit Scion Wood Exchange, an online forum for 'people with fruit tree wood, you'd like to get to know better'. Actually, it's a place for the discussion of fruit tree grafting and propagation, and perhaps more crucially, for the free exchange of scion wood to help achieve this purpose. Mel's interest in our little cidermaking enterprise stems from the fact that she'll soon have more apples than she knows what to do with. All this grafting has a purpose you see, and apple pies alone can't deal with the glut of fruit she's expecting from her orchard in the near future.

Mel's visit was as good an excuse as any to crack open a few vats of Cider, and most excitingly (for me at least!) the chance to sample our first attempt at a traditional Perry. I must admit, I've been avoiding this for quite some time now. More than a little luck, magic and superstition surrounds the making of perry, and I've been working on the premise that the less I even think about 'the vat with no name', the less there is that can go wrong with it. However, there comes a time when denial is simply not an option, and the procrastination has to end. In this particular case, the fact that we're supposed to be selling it in less than a week's time has certainly forced my hand.

So, the verdict. Well, it's all good news in the ciderhouse today. The perry is in fine-fettle, rich, fruity, aromatic, a little tannin remains on the side of the tongue, but all in all, a very nice perry indeed and certainly ready to drink. What a relief! Only seven sleepless nights to go...

The jury is out on the Rockingham Forest Cider, I'll need to sample a bit more before I decide which vat to go for, but the other good-news story from the ciderhouse is the Sulgrave Orchard Slider which we had a sneaky sip of. I'll be bottling this up over the weekend, with full tasting notes, and on-the-spot reaction from the Red Lion staff and regulars. Stay tuned.

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