Thursday, 29 December 2011

Weighing-Up the Year

As 2011 draws to a damp and windy conclusion, it's traditional amongst bloggers to look back, take stock, and write a festive space filler in leiu of something more interesting. Well we're bucking the blogging trend, looking firmly forward, and writing a festive space-filler....

To be honest, there's little to report from the ciderhouse. Fermentation continues to bubble away without the interuptions for cold weather we experienced last year. Just as soon as we can get to Tewkesbury for a couple of new tubs, we'll be racking the ciders and perries, and getting a first taster of the 2011 vintage. Needless to say, you'll be able to read all about it right here.

In the mean time, our thoughts turn to forthcoming events where we hope to sell a bit of what we've made. Pre-orders from earlier this year merely need confirming closer to the date, and I'm pleased to say that there are a few new events that we're hoping to be at next year. As ever, the first festival of the year will be the Leicester CAMRA Beer Festival in March, where we'll be sending the very last barrels of our 2010 cider and perry. The theme this year appears to be the Charles Dickens bi-centenary, which is a little worrying to be honest! I do hope nobody rises to the challenge of a Dickens Cider re-badge...

The first opportunity to try our new-season cider and perry is likely to be at the innaugral South Notts Real Ale Festival in May, subject to confirmation.

Enough of the future, let's turn our attention to the presents. Christmas Presents to be precise. It's was a good year for gifts in the Rockingham Forest Cider household. Everyone seemed to get what they wanted, even Karen, but I can honestly say that no-one got what they wanted more than I did.

I swear someone must have been actually listening when I dropped all those unsubtle hints in the run-up to Christmas. How else would a deluxe Jelly Straining Bag have found its way under the tree! The same can be said of the beautiful Acacia wood Pizza Paddle I found stuffed into my Christmas Stocking (even if I did buy that one myself). A Christmas dream come true I hear you say, but hold on, I've saved the best till last...

It's a well-worn tradition in this household that underneath the Christmas Tree, in amongst the little packages of sweet smelling Girly Things, mini-bags of Reindeer Poo Chocolate, and carefully wrapped Hen Treats, there'll always be found the two things I most crave at this time of year. Two neatly wrapped, cool-blue, 120 litre Open-Top Kegs (cider for the fermenting of). These bulky beauties are truly the way to a cidermakers heart at Christmas, which made it all the more perplexing when the tell-tale tub-shaped pressies failed to appear under the tree. What was she thinking!

Well fear not patient readers, I got something even more exciting than 4.5 kilos of food-grade plastic, and a cute-as-a-squirrels-nut Boy Toy no less. Witness the goosebumpingly thrilling MYCO MZ-600 Digital Pocket Scale. Mmm!

This gorgeous brushed aluminium gadget, beloved of small-time drug dealers the world over, is more than capable of (reasonably) acurate measurment down to a (quite) impressive 0.1g. The ideal instrument for measuring out the tiny quantities of Sulphite required to keep our ciders and perries fresh and clean. Backlit for comfortable work in the gloom of the ciderhouse, wipe cleanable, and with a lid for putting 'things' into. The best Christmas EVER!