Friday, 12 June 2009

Ciderhouse News - Welland Valley Beer Fest #8

Less than five hours until the Welland Valley Beer Festival kicks off, and everything is just about ready to go. Unfortunately, these things don't come together without a huge amount of last-minute sampling, and that, you'll be pleased to know, has been my burden today.

First off, in the ciderhouse, where the Broome Farm Blakeney Red Perry (5.5%) is tasting absolutely delicious. Our Perry is good, but Mike Johnson's Perry is one of the best examples you're likely to find. Rich, fragrant, perhaps even a little pungent, it's very moreish and should sell very well.

Our own Rockingham Forest Perry (6.4%) is a much more subtle drink. It has a similar fresh, fragrant taste, but is lighter in style. If anything it's probably a little more drinkable than the Broome Farm, though certainly not as complex. We're very pleased with this, our first attempt at a perry, and it should go very well, particularly if the weather stays as warm as it is today.

The Rockingham Forest Cider (6.4%) is my favourite. Pleasantly dry rather than being austere, with a gentle bittersweet character, not too rich and cloying. I'm very pleased with how well balanced this cider has turned out, and this makes it very easy-drinking despite the depth of flavour.

The Welland Valley Special has been sweetened a little to give a rich, medium cider, full of apple and juicy-fruit flavours, all enhanced by a smack of refreshing sharpness. All these ciders and perrys are available at the Red Lion, Middleton, with the Welland Valley Special available at the Talbot Inn, Gretton too.

The sampling continued at the Red Lion, with Kevin & Fiona keen to show off the excellent range of ales they have for the weekend. I'm under strict instructions to not reveal the names of any of the beers, but what I can say is that there is a very good range at the Red Lion, from Light, hoppy refreshers, through to Mild, Porter and even a delicious Stout.

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